Thursday, May 17th. Sunny, actually was a bit hot. 24 kms … 15 miles
“When you make the Divine your source, you move through life with an ease and lightness, with an open hand. You allow whatever wishes to come, come. And whatever wishes to go, go. Every gain, and loss, has an odd kind of Providence.” ~ Tosha Silver, “Outrageous Openness”
Today was our first day of walking as a group. The evening before, I had purchased a yogurt and bananas at the grocery store so that in the morning, I was able to have a quick bite before hitting the trail. One nice thing about the Albergues is that you have a refrigerator to keep food in overnight.
Our day looked good. We originally planned to walk to Estella which was a short day only 22 kms … 14miles but as we were walking our plans changed. We decided to make our way to Ayegui which was only a mile further on the outskirts of Estella. That’s one nice thing about not having a reservation; you can make changes when needed.
I can’t really remember why we made this change but I liked the decision because we would be next to the Vino Fountain! Yes, you heard me right, a Vino Fountain. We are in the Navarra region, an area renowned for its local wine.
“The small Navarra town of Ayegui is home to the Monasterio de Irache and its attached winery, the Bodegas de Irache, which was established in 1891. The wine fountain was created in order to provide motivation for fatigued followers of St. James”. ~ source: https://www.atlasobscura.com/foods/camino-de-santiago-wine-fountain
The big joke in the group was that I told everybody that I didn’t want to be in charge of the group. I have led groups but, on this trip, I just wanted to be a pilgrim. Just a pilgrim…so we always made decisions together and Luca became our father and leader along the Camino. They would ask me questions and advice which of course I would answer, but in my heart, I was simply walking the Camino!
The steps begin …
We finally made a routine of getting up and leaving early. After days of walking, you realize the morning part is so much easier than the afternoon walk. And waking up early is not a problem, because you are excited about the day!
Excited for the experience!
When we left the Albergue, the sun had just started to peak over the horizon. What a view as we crossed a Romanesque bridge out of town.
History: Puente la Reina- meaning the “bridge of the Queen” is a town located in the community of Navarre, in northern Spain. Queen Muniadona, wife of King Sancho III was the queen who gave her name to the town and the bridge, also known as the Puente Románico. She built the six-arched Romanesque bridge over the Arga for the use of pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela along the Camino de Santiago. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puente_la_Reina,_Navarre
Spirits were high walking with our new friends. We were all excited to be together. Most of the day was mostly on gravel tracks, with a surplus of dry and barren fields around. Only a small part of the walk was on pavement. We walked next to a highway, as well as underneath large concrete structures.
And today was our first hot day! We made our way, enjoying each other’s company, getting to know each other better. The path took us to the town of Cirauqui; this was our first break. A nice breakfast and you guessed it, Tortilla and Café con leche! Delish! The simple things!
Leaving Cirauqui, the route took us along the stretch of a Roman road flanked by cypress trees and over a restored Roman bridge.
Another thing I always think about and which ties me so closely to the history of the Camino, is when I imagine that Roman solders and traders walked this very same path. Little did they know, we would follow their footsteps.
Just before you reach Lorca you pass over the River Salado by way of a small double arched medieval bridge.
These are Aymeric Picauds words in his Pilgrims Guide regarding this river: “Take care not to drink the water here, neither yourself nor your horse, for it is a deadly river! On the way to Santiago we came across two Navarrese sitting by the bank, sharping the knives they used to flay pilgrims’ horses which had drunk the water and died. We asked them if the water was fit to drink and they lyingly replied that it was, whereupon we gave it to our horses to drink. Two of them dropped dead at once and the Navarrese flayed them there and then”
We continued walking and it was getting hot. Of course, it was then that I realized I had forgotten something important in the last town. I forgot to fill my water bottle. I looked at the map and I was a little concerned. Not another town for 6 kms and the sun was beating down on us. it was now 9:30AM.
I knew someone would give me some if I needed, but I thought I could wait. As we kept going, we came through a little town, but no store, café or water! Again, I checked the map. Only a few miles. You got this I thought!
Just as I was about to ask someone for water, I saw the most beautiful thing in the world! Camino Trail Magic! Olive Garden Oasis!
What is Camino trail magic? A Donativo! They supply snacks, drinks and chairs and they only receive donations. Pay what you can. Was this divine assistance? Yes!!
The rest of the afternoon was hot! We walked, we enjoyed each other’s company, rested when we could and took in another lesson along the Camino. Enjoy the beauty of nature that surrounds us.
As the sun was getting hotter, we decided we had better stop for a bite. A bite of what? Not sure. Another lesson along the Camino, listen to your body and enjoy whatever you would like. No need to worry about calories. In fact, I don’t know one person who lost weight on the Camino.
We found a little café in the town of Villatuerta. Break time! A break much needed. It was now 1:00pm.
Some of us had ice cream, some had a cerveza (beer) while others had a Snickers and a Coke. Our bodies weren’t craving meals, just energy! So, we indulged and let me tell you all of it was delicious! After a nice rest, restroom break and filling up with water, (and I will never make that mistake again) we were off.
We finally made it to Estella! It was now 2:30. We had made an executive decision. Since we were walking a little further into Ayegui, which was a small suburb of Estella, we decided we better get groceries here in Estella and carry them the rest of the way. Not sure what we would find in Ayegui.
Also, due to Minh having blisters, we decided that most of us would take a break at this nice shady area and the rest would go to the store and get what we needed for dinner. Since Luca and Natalie were cooking tonight, off they went. The rest of us relaxed in the grass and I even took my shoes off!
Oh, to sit down in the shade.
The final steps
Once Luca and Natalie returned, we made our final few kms into Ayegui. I actually walked in my sandals because my feet were enjoying the fresh air.
Albergue Municipal San Cipriano de Ayegui, 26 beds, 10 Euros
A smaller Albergue, very clean and very nice. Again, we all had one room together. It was nice. We followed our normal routine of shower, laundry, siesta. There was a nice sporting goods store just down the road called Decathalon! Some of us walked over to see if there were any supplies we might need. It is an amazing store, one of our favorites. Fun to look around. We then headed back to the Albergue to relax before Luca and Natalie started cooking dinner.
Minh had some blisters so Anni and Merci helped him doctor them up. Anni is a nurse, which was great. Thank God they were there because I can’t handle that kind of stuff. Talking about feet, which is an important subject along the Camino, take good care of them! My big toes were still going numb at night, I continued my ritual of praising them, massaging them and loving them. My feet needed all the loving attention I could give them. And I wasn’t going to take their good health for granted. During the day they were fine! In all my walking and all my Caminos, Cale and I have never had a blister. I will give tips in another blog entry. Stay tuned!
Once dinner was finished, which ended up being a little later due to the kitchen not having the appropriate oven for Luca and Natalies meal, it was amazing! They had to get creative.
They were making us Argentinian Empanadas and they needed an oven.
Our hostel didn’t have an oven but downstairs there was a little café, and again the kindness you find along the Camino, they actually allowed Natalie and Luca to cook their empanadas in the oven of the Café!! Imagine that!
As we ate and enjoyed our meal, we teased Natalie that the gentleman liked her and that is why he said, yes! Either way it was kind and we deeply appreciated it.
But for now, off to bed! Buen Camino and Good Night!
Thursday, May 17th Puente la Reina to Ayegui, 24 kms 15 miles
Sunny, it was finally sunny! It actually got hot on us, but we never complained and enjoyed every minute of it.
As we left one town, I had forgotten to fill my water bottle but just at the right time we came upon a little oasis. We were all so happy, it is such a nice surprise to come across a donativo. A little olive grove with snacks, chairs, games and books.
At night we had an Argentinian Meal. Natalie and Luca cooked it for us. Empanadas! They were so good! We are going to take turns cooking; tomorrow night Minh and Sue are going to cook a Korean meal and then Cale and I will cook. Still trying to decide on a meal? Maybe, our creole cabbage? We have to make sure we can find what we need here in the grocery store. We want to make something good, not just hamburgers and hotdogs.
Loving every moment of this Camino, taking it day by day. Legs are tired but good. As Jesus asked of me,
“stop asking and just walk. Be with me. Be in the moment, walk these days with me”
This message I will take home with me and remember to “just walk and be with Him”
Today’s quote from my journal, really spoke to me today! “When you make the Divine your source, you move through life with an ease and lightness, with an open hand. You allow whatever wishes to come, come. And whatever wishes to go, go. Every gain, and loss, has an odd kind of Providence.” ~ Tosha Silver, “Outrageous Openness”
As I walked today. I let go. I let go emotionally. I am carrying a stone in my bag. A stone to lay at the Iron Cross. This stone represents my “cross” my burdens. I will carry it to the Iron Cross and when I arrive there, I will lay my burdens down, I will lay my cross down and walk away. That is not my story, that is not who I am. I am Mary a child of God! I am love! I am compassion! I am peace! I am forgiveness! I am a soul on this journey of life! I am love!
The Iron Cross: It is traditional for pilgrims to bring a stone from home or from the beginning of the path and carry it with them to the Iron Cross, and to toss that rock into the massive pile that resides there in order to release a burden, energy or emotion. Lay it here and leave it here.
A few videos …