Homer's Travels: Camino de Santiago - Estella To Torres Del Rio

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Camino de Santiago - Estella To Torres Del Rio

I'm not sure but I think this is when I started dosing myself with pilgrim's candy - i.e. Ibuprofen.  I started with 800 mg in the morning before I started walking and progressed to another 400 mg after lunch and another 400 mg before bed (along with 1000 mg of acetaminophen).  The ibuprofen worked as I could walk well once the stuff had kicked in. The ankle still hurt but not enough to stop me and I could walk with minimal limping.

My goal for the day was the town of Torres del Rio though I had a backup destination of Los Arcos in case my ankle bothered me too much.  Pushing on to Torres del Rio would make it the longest walking day so far on my Camino.

I left the town in the early morning.  It was still a little dark and the sun was just rising.  About an hour and a half out of town I passed by Irache famous for two things - a monastery and a fountain.  Actually the fountain is more famous as it's attached to the Irache Winery.  It has two spigots - one for water and one for wine.  I found DO here enjoying a cup of the free wine, as were other pilgrims.  Not being a drinker of alcohol I passed, though it was tempting.  Later HT would tell me a funny story about Irache.  On his first Camino he reached Irache just after a bus had pulled up and disgorged German tourists.  When he saw the crowd. he figured he would never get to have a cup of wine but when the tourists saw him they got all excited, the crowd parted, and a cup of wine was handed to him.  As this was happening the tourists were dutifully taking HT's picture - an authentic Pilgrim of Saint James in his natural habitat. HA!

The Camino passed though a few towns on it's way up a hill.  It then went down in a leisurely way as it passed through farm fields.  I passed an Asian girl who was barely shuffling her feet.  You could tell she wan't in a good place.  It would turn out that her insoles were not trimmed properly and her feet were in bad shape.  HT, would help her, treating her blisters and trimming her insoles further down the Camino.

I ran into HT later that day resting on a picnic table in a small park outside of Los Arcos.  As usual he was reading his bible.  We chatted a bit as I ate an apple and drank some water before parting ways.

Note:  This post is turning into an HT love-fest but he really is a nice guy. 

I reached Los Arcos and wandered around.  I passed a few albergues but I realized it was too early to stop.  I also realized that I'd wandered off the Camino so I did what everyone would do when they were lost in a strange town, I bought an ice cream bar and a Coke.  (I also decided there that I would try different ice cream bars until I found one that would fix my tendonitis.  The search continues to this day.)

I found my way back to the Camino and left town.  The Camino became a flat, straight dirt road through farm fields.  It was also getting hot as the day went on.  There was very little shade along this stretch and where there was, a crowd of pilgrims would gather in the shade to rest.

Along the way I'd been passing a Japanese man (I'd seen him in Estella and along the Camino before).  We kept passing each other while the other rested.  After passing me another time he introduced himself to me.  KN was a painter who was walking the Camino taking pictures of things to paint.  He said that he thought that Torres del Rio was at least another five kilometers away.  I checked my GPS and said that it was less than two.  We turn a corner and went up a hill and saw the town of Sansol and we knew the GPS was right as Sansol is less than a kilometer away from Torres del Rio.  We walked together the last two kilometers (another one of the exceptional times).

We entered the town and found the municipal albergue.  KN saw a girl sitting in front and said "Hi" to her and introduced me to her.  What she said next surprised me: "You must be the famous Bruce."  It turned out that KV and MC not only told me about the California girl but they also told the California girl about me and my travel travails. The California girl's name was SZ, a yoga instructor and herbalist from northern California.

There wasn't much in Torres del Rio but it was a charming town with a couple restaurants, a store, and a church that charged you to going inside.  There were a  couple other albergues and a hotel was being built.  We started to notice that the owners of everything were all related.  One girl working at the albergue was also a waitress at her husband's restaurant.  I got the distinct impression that one extended family owned all the pilgrim related businesses in town.

I decided that I really couldn't afford to skip a meal like I'd done in Estella so I joined GV in search for dinner.  In a bar/restaurant we ran into the blond haired girl I'd seen in Pamplona.  I'd thought she was from Australia based on her accent.  Boy, I couldn't be wronger.  Turns out JM was from Alabama which was confirmed when she said "y'all".  I had to laugh at that.  Her friend, RF, was from Germany.  We sat down and enjoyed a good meal of pasta, chicken, and conversation with them.

That night, after most of us had gone to bed, some older lady pilgrims kept coming in and out of our room.  They kept leaving the door open.  KN would jump off  his top bunk and would run over and close the door behind them.  This happen several times.  It took a while for them to get the message and learn how to close the door behind themselves.  I was both irritated and entertained.

That't how day number six went for me.  It was a good day, I was well, and the adventure would continue ...

Total Distance: 18.27 Miles (29.40 km)
Total Time: 6 hours 49 minutes
Total Elevation Up: 2,887 ft (879.96 m)
Total Elevation Down: 2,789 ft (850.09 m)
[Click on map for a larger version]


  1. I'm starting to think that the Geekhiker should give it a shot. At the rate with which you were making friends, he would already have felt better. Especially about california girls... And one probably working in a gym to boot! :)

  2. Gany: I've recommended the Camino to GH several times. I think he would fit in really well and come home with a whole new outlook. But who listens to me.

  3. Gany: Sometimes ... but only when she feels like it ;-)

  4. Gany makes a good point. :)

    I love how you describe each day and really introduce us to the people you meet in your telling of your pilgrimage!

  5. Miss McC: It's the people that make the Camino special.