Breakfast was great in our pension – They had fried eggs and gluten-free bread awaiting my taste buds. Turns out the super market in Estella has tons of GF options (see photo). Our goal for the AM was to eat, stop by the pharmacy for steroids and supportive braces and exchange some dinero at the bank. The first pharmacy we went to was not at all helpful, but we did buy a box Predisona (no prescription needed — €2.50). We decided to head to a different pharmacy (see photo) that was super helpful and found us a proper knee and ankle brace (€20 each), as well as electrolytes (€2.50 per packet). Electrolytes seem impossible to find here, so my recommendation is to bring a box if you ever do this. Ok, so the bank will only exchange $150.00 a day. We have decided the exchange rate isn’t too terrible at ATMs, that withdrawing money turns out to be a lot more convenient and less of a risk than carrying a wad of moola on you. But of course, it’s always important to carry cash on you, just in case. Another thing, the bank won’t exchange change, only dollar, dollar bills, y'all… Meh.
We finally began on the road at around 11 AM, arriving in Los Arcos at around 7 PM. We completed a total of almost 17 miles. There seemed to be water fountains almost every km the first half of the trail. However, the most important fountain was at Bodegas Irache, where 100 Liters of wine are dispensed per day for all of those who walk by (check out their live webcam!). We came prepared with the wine glass from yesterday’s festival. Perhaps it wasn’t noon yet, but it was happy hour somewhere. The wine was delicioso, and we left the wine glass for the next lucky lush who stopped by. About 10k in, we put our feet up at a cafe in a pueblo called Azqueta to grab some caffeine and pinxtos. It was perfect and we had the best view of this castle on top of a volcanic looking mountain, that neither of us had the energy to walk up to and explore. The knee brace didn’t seem to help all of that much, but the steroid med + Tylenol did. For some reason, I have no problem and sickly almost look forward to walking up hills. It’s going downhill that’s the issue.
After Azqueta, we didn’t see any bathrooms for the rest of the way. Luckily, I was able to hold it. We ran into Klaus about half way in, which is always a treat. We’ve noticed although we haven’t walked too far, that the climate is becoming significantly warmer. We found a pop-up bar in the middle of no where 3/4s of the way in. The views were amazing and the owner was rad. He told us that he completes the Camino each April and November, because he loves it that much. In between then, he runs this very random pop up bar. It was definitely an oasis for us. We were happy to finally limp into Los Arcos and meet up with our friends. Thomas is luckily alive, as he didn’t show up to the pension last night. We got to eat an ‘ok’ meal off the pilgrim menu (€11) and drink some well-deserved sangria. It appears that most of the pilgrims are hurting somewhere. Lots of DIY ice packs have been seen around. And another thing, none of the pilgrims seem to have a huge appetite considering how much we are all walking everyday… No se, perhaps our bodies are just in shock? Another observation-Most of the pilgrims have left already. A lot of folks complete the Camino in segments. Either 5 days at a time, one week at a time, one big city at a time or in half. I suppose this is due to how long and strenuous the entire walk is. Our original group has shrunk down to nearly half of what it was, and it will only get smaller. Anyway, I digress… The church in the center is gorgeous and worth peeking in. To our dismay, our hotel (Hotel Villa de Los Arcos - €55) was not near the center (3k away!). In addition, has non- working air conditioning, nor in room wifi, a non-working remote controller, no shampoo/conditioner … Might as well have stayed at an albergue and saved a fortune. Luckily, it will be quiet sleep... Hopefully. Only 29 (Spanish) km to Logroño, mañana.
P.S. Although I’m enjoying blogging about my experience, finding the time, energy and wifi to do so has been a pain. Regardless, thanks for reading :>