Days 5 & 6: Puente La Reina to Estella to Torres del Río (aka “Don’t Drink Excessive Vino Tinto Then Walk 18.2 Miles The Next Day”)

So apparently I took everyone’s advice and decided to slack on my “homework” yesterday of writing upon my arrival, and instead went out with my pilgrim buddies to explore the beautiful old town of Estella. We explored, we found a shop that sold wine, we conquered. Too much fun yesterday meant no blogging. I justified it with the fact that I took off early on my own from Puente La Reina and managed to do some writing just off the side of the trail in a gorgeous olive grove with benches.

The Day 5 hike was absolutely lovely. Starting off in the dark was a fun thing actually. I had the headlamp on with the red light glowing to light the way, but mostly relying on the moonlight. I had a gorgeous sunrise to enjoy, and found that I was walking really fast. It seems my body is adapting to this trail walking life really well. I have those couple of blisters still, but they are hardening up and becoming just part of my foot. Other than the usual sore muscles, I am feeling quite great! So apparently I’m a fast hiker now. As I mentioned, I found this marvelous olive grove on the side of the trail yesterday – it was just beckoning for me to take a load off and write. So I sat on a bench amongst the trees, admiring the care that someone had put into creating a lovely oasis for pilgrims. Scallop shells hung by fishing line in the olive trees, there were five or six comfy benches to relax on, and even a library (shelf with books) where one could read. It was such a gift. As we have been saying everyday, “The Trail provides.” I arrived to the town of Estella on the early side – I couldn’t believe I had walked faster than my pilgrim buddies even with my olive grove writing session, but eventually we all met up at the municipal hostel I had checked into. Laundry, showering and getting settled rapidly morphed into the aforementioned drinking session. Guys, the wine here is unbelievably good. And cheap. But you know that when your server at dinner tells you that you should stop drinking because “you have to walk tomorrow,” you might be in trouble.

Though the morning was rough (and I mean rough), we managed to pull ourselves together and hit the trail around 8am. I stopped off at a gas station bought a baguette, some jamon and some queso, making a gigantic trail breakfast slash lunch. It was so yummy. One of our first stops on the trail today was something we had been looking forward to since the beginning: the Fuente de Vino! Unfortunately, our state wasn’t the most appreciative of morning wine, but we managed to all have a taste of the delicious wine flowing freely from the tap into our scallop shells.

The first half of the day was a lovely hike, but the pain set in later as we walked totally exposed under the midday sun and praying we would get there without too much pain. We had opted to go farther today that I originally planned, so the total hike was 29.3km or 18.2 miles. Ouch. We finally arrived to our albergue around 4:30 – I’ve showered and put my feet up, had a Coke and trying to just rest. Tomorrow will be an easy day since we already got a head start with an extra 7.8km today. There is so much more to write about but I’m saving a lot of it for my other writing (the book idea!). Rest assured that I am having a great time, am making amazing new friends, am seeing the most incredible places and enjoying great food (sometimes) and drink (that Vino Tinto, yo!).

Thank you so much to everyone at Kalyx for sponsoring Day 5 and for their support of this project in general (and my leaving work for 6-8 weeks!)

And thank you to both Dory S. And Laura G. for sponsoring Day 6 today. They are both from Alamo and I thought the scenery today was very reminiscent of Alamo! Lots of rolling hills with vineyards, some oak trees, lavender by the side of the road. Magnificent.

Looking forward to Day 7 tomorrow!

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