Today I got started right after sunrise. That’s not as ambitious as it sounds, since the sun doesn’t rise until almost 8:00am. But it was really quite pretty.
I’d had a coffee and was carrying a “picnic meal” provided by the hostel for €3. After about a mile I came upon a lovely “GardZen” rest stop where I sat to eat my food. Well, my juice box, and a tiny roll with one slice of cheese. I saved the apple for later.
I figured that when I got to Lorca, the first village, I’d get a proper meal. The road was a little hilly and bordered the highway. Some nice scenery.
I was so happy to see Lorca in the distance. I was hungry and two of my toenails were bothering me. I wanted to sit, eat and possibly take my shoes off. And a bathroom would be nice.
Nothing was open in Lorca. Nothing. Not even a place to sit. The next town, Villatuerta, was almost 5 km away. About a half mile out of Lorca, I found a convenient rock to sit on, ate the apple and put my foot up for a few minutes. Then I continued to walk. Luckily the path was level and finally I came to Villatuerta. This looked more promising.
Many more pilgrims were coming along the road. I sat on a bench in the town square and who should I see but Astrid and Christoph! They encouraged me on my progress and said they might see me in Estella.
Meanwhile, I needed to do something about my toes. Google maps showed me an open pharmacy right on the Way. I found a little cafe right before it and got myself an energy drink – strangely I wasn’t feeling hungry. I bought nail clippers (small ones, they were out of proper toenail clippers) and sat down on a bench to view the damage.
I will spare you any actual pictures. Two toenails on my left foot were NOT happy. I clipped them back as much as possible and slathered them with antiseptic gel. (I suspect I might lose one entirely.) Then I tied my sneakers to the back of my pack and put my Tevas on over my socks. This immediately alleviated the pain and I continued the last 3 miles.
Finally, I saw Estella in the distance. I had booked a bed at Hostería de Curtidores, which means “Hostel of the Tanners.” It was the first hostel in the town and is in a beautiful old building that used to be a tanner’s shop right on the river.
The place was immaculate and the owner greeted me by name. My room had one single bed (reserved for me) and a bunk bed (with two other women Pilgrims) and a private bath with a spacious shower. Pure bliss.
There was also a washer and dryer, so I threw my clothes in and headed into town for some supper. It felt good to walk without the pack on. Many places were closed (5pm is like no-man’s land in Spain) but I found a bar that had a decent menu. I realized I hadn’t really eaten all day, so I devoured the lamb chops, potatoes, pimentos and deep-fried cheese. Oh, and a beer.
Now I’m tucked into bed and trying to decide what to do tomorrow. The original plan was to walk to Los Arcos, but that is 13 miles and I’m not sure I’m ready for that, especially with my stupid toenails. So maybe a taxi or bus part way? Maybe send my pack on ahead? I may adjust my itinerary to reflect the reality that walking 13+ miles a day isn’t realistic for me; at least this early on my Camino. Poco a poco.