Day 9 Los Arcos to Viana 19 kms 6hrs 19mins – And then there were six!

My legs were on fire! But it was my knees that were going to feel it today. More of that later.

We were coming closer to the day we would lose our Irish yoga guru because study and work back in Ireland were calling. We were all in high spirits though after having such a great impromptu pilgrim meal last night in Los arcos. There were pilgrims from Germany France the US Scotland Sweden Cuba Ireland England Brazil (just to mention a few) = it was a great laugh and some may have drank a little too much wine along with eating too much good food – all for 11 euro!

Nevertheless we planned a shortish day after another early start. This getting going early was actually quite fun. No-one else was up and it was dark as dark could be!

Luckily we again bumped into our Irish choir master at the dinner last night and we were able to secure a commitment from her to meet us in the square before dawn to join us on our early walk (and potentially conduct our choir!)

We were all in different albergues – ours provided breakfast (toast and boiled egg – yum. But the others didn’t; it was thus quite a thrill to find a bar was opened in the square and everyone could buy coffee and croissants. On the down side it meant we had a late start but at least we had a nice easy walk on the flat for the first five or so kilometres. The way turned into a hilly section and I was warding off blisters so our three amigas went on ahead with the extra young lady from Australia.

We later found them at a caravan in the shade accompanied by the medicine woman from the US. She was an accomplished banker, with a secret desire to distribute liquid ibuprofen to the masses and this meant she became a welcome friend to many on the camino.

We bid farewell as a few of them scampered off after having already recovered their composure from the first few hills.

Whilst seated sipping a Spanish equivalent to Powerade I found myself the target of a couple of evil looking wasps. The camarera assured us the wasps would not sting however I took it upon myself to pull out the big guns and offer assistance to our guru.

Bushmans is without question the Australian answer to preventing any bite sting or rash imposed by the insect world. While encouraging our guru to spray her body i informed her that this stuff melts plastic! I once sprayed the 80% version on my shoes accidentally and it ate away the plastic trim! Luckily for her I was only carrying the 20% version this time!

The day warmed up for sure and I slowed down. I wasn’t looking disabled but the last couple of downhills were felt in both knees.

I’d been fiddling with the feet for a few stops as I couldn’t seem to get all the goodies stuffed in my socks into the right place. We eventually made it into town just as I was feeling severe pain in both knees. I was starting to get a little desperate for a knee brace (or two) but was sadly disappointed at both the pilgrim shop and the farmacia. We were happy to spend the night in the municipal albergue in bunk beds for 8 euro and thankfully some ice gel and an afternoon rest saw me recover well.

During the afternoon a number of friends appeared including the Italians from orisson. There was also the Mexican girl with her harmonica playing friend and Russian Olga appeared again at a bar at the end of the street and was madly scrubbing her back pack as a bird had shat on it. She was thinking she had had bad luck but we informed her this was meant to be good luck. Not sure where that story came from but it likely had Irish roots! Anyway i think it must have been a giant bird because it was all over her backpack and took sometime to clean! I later saw Olga speeding past with two young men heading off to Logrono.

Our two Irish friends found many a reason to laugh as we wandered around Viana – even cathedral door handles were not out of limits.

Before dinner we sat on the stone wall behind our albergue and watched the sunset drinking toasts to our gurus final night on the camino. I played a musical piece written by one of our sons at college and a soundcloud upload of “Fool Happy” a duet featuring our eldest.

We then indulged in a pilgrim meal one street back from the Calle mayor which wasn’t too bad. We had the pleasure of also eating with another lady from canada.’

As the night came to an end our 10pm curfew saw us take a mad dash up the street to buy a bottle of wine. We also needed to confirm how early we could dump a few kilos to forward on in the morning to prevent too much knee and foot stress (-only 5 euros). The bag had to be dropped at the hotel and we were worried about our early start. the bar lady assured me “no te preocupa” Don’t you worry – the reception is open all night!.

My beloved was still complaining of flu symptoms but I was well on the road to recovery. We slept soundly ready for an early start into Logroño to farewell one of our own and move on to Navarette!

hasta manana

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