We woke up earlier than normal this morning. The pension we stayed in had a breakfast “buffet”, so we wanted to get down there early and partake and still hit the road around our normal time or earlier.
The alarm went off at 5am. Again, I woke up about 2 minutes before it. Pretty wild. It doesn’t seem to matter what time I set it for, I wake up a minute or two before. My subconscious must has a really good clock!
This morning I wasn’t thrilled to be getting up that early. I was up an hour later than I had desired. I’m running a sleep deficit because of the mileage we are walking each day. I plan to turn in early tonight. I may even contemplate a nap this afternoon.
Our mileage today was only 12 miles. We were on the road by 6am. Up until this morning, we had not experienced many mosquitos. One here or there, but nothing even notable. Today, we found the swarms. I noticed them almost immediately outside of Los Arcos, as one landed on my hand. I started looking around, and that’s when I noticed the swarms around me, numbering in the dozens. I let T&M know, as mosquitos seem to love Molli. We start walking faster. The mosquitos are keeping pace. On two different occasions, I swatted my leg with my hat and killed 3 at a time in the process of feeding. I am not sure how many total bites I received. It will become obvious when the bite sites become inflamed.
We walked for roughly 4 miles swatting away the mosquitos with every step. We walked faster, and faster. 30 minutes after the sun broke the horizon the swarms died down. A welcome relief.
Without going into a tremendous amount detail, as I am not ready to, I was highly emotional today. I know a lack of sleep has something to do with it, but I’m also working through some issues. I walked fast today and alone. I was purposely trying to stay ahead of my walking companions. On several occasions, I had tears streaming down my face. Not quite to the point of sobbing, but on the verge. I liken it to a purge, or a cleansing.
I kept my pace up. I had told T&M this morning that I wanted to stop and rest around 8. We have a tendency to push through and not stop much, if we had breakfast first thing. Around 8:15 we came across a lunch truck. Tony, who was about 20 yards behind me, called out to me. Tears from a brief crying session were just stopping. I turned about a quarter of the way around, Tony motioned to the mobile cafe. I said, “You two can stop, I’m going to keep walking,” and turned around. I didn’t speak to them again until arriving at the outskirts of Viana.
I was abusing my feet and I didn’t care. I seemed to find another gear, and moved down the trail at an even faster pace. I kept about a 100 yards distance from them most of the morning. There was no conflict between the 3 of us, I just needed my time. Fortunately the abuse I piled on I my feet didn’t result in anything more than a couple of really sore spots, and a tiny blister. My first blister on the Camino.
As I walked I thought a lot about my relationships, past and present. People move in and out of your life. The sun sets on one relationship which may bring sadness, but dawn often breaks on a new one simultaneously, as if to keep balance.
Today, I realized I have spent a lot of time the last several years being angry for no apparent reason. I’m tired of being angry. I’m tired of feeling volatile. It’s not a good way of being. Neither of these things serve me. They only hinder me. It’s time to let them go.
Bugs and emotions considered, the hiking was easy today. We put down a little over 12 miles in 4 hours. Our best clip yet.
The farm land is slowly transitioning from wheat and oat fields, to mainly vineyards. The fields look immaculate, which is hard to believe, because you so rarely see anyone working them. It’s as if at night the farm fairies come down from above and wave their magic wand. Poof, perfect fields.
I also passed several stone buildings in various states of repair. Several are used I assume for emergency shelters for pilgrims. Or, as a shelter at night for the intrepid pilgrim.
We decided to stay in Viana today and avoid staying in Logroño. Logroño is a town of about 110,000 people. Not really what we were looking for. We arrived in Viana just before 10 am. I wanted to find the post office before 11, to avoid the same fate encountered in Los Arcos. We passed a couple of small businesses, and contemplated stopping and asking directions. Something in my mind said, “There’s no need, it’s just around the corner.”
Sure enough, we made the next left to continue to follow the Camino, and there was the post office. Magic. I went in and arranged to ship items home for T&M and I. Between the 3 of us, we dropped just under 11 pounds from our packs. All of which consisted of items we didn’t need or haven’t been using. It was a little spendy, but considering the cost of my sleeping bag alone, well worth it.
From there we walked into downtown. We seemed to run into pilgrim haven. There were pilgrims everywhere. I guess Viana is a good place to take a break. We are starting to recognize more and more people from the trail. It’s neat to come into a town you have never been to and say hello to a dozen people.
There is a magnificent church in the middle of the city. It’s huge, and quite beautiful. We walked through the church for a few minutes had our piligrims passport stamped by a very verbose woman. My spanish is starting to come back to me. I am starting to be able to speak slightly more of it. The neural pathways in my brain to my spanish language centers just needed a little dusting off. Of course, I’m butchering the hell out of the grammatical structure and tense of my words, but I can mostly get my point across.
She went on to say the Navarra state in Spain is very pretty and very important to the history of Spain. She said the next region we come to will not be as beautiful, but the wine is much better.
I would say I understood her pretty well for a gringo that hasn’t spoken or regularly listened to Spanish in the last 16 years. I wonder how long it would take to become reasonably fluent. Im contemplating learning more spanish when I return home from the Camino.
After the church we made our way around town. Its a larger town with many ammenities. We are going to stop by a gear store. I’m in desperate need of an additional shirt and some new insoles for my hiking shoes. I also need to stop by a pharmacy to pick up some toothpaste and insect repellant, and probably some anti itch cream.
We picked a hotel for tonight. The hostels here weren’t to our liking. We found a hotel that is about 30 euro each. The most expensive place we have stayed thus far, but its an old palace that has been converted to a hotel. Who can say they have stayed in an old palace before? It’s a unique experience.
We are just shy of 100 miles. Tomorrow within 90 minutes of hitting the trail, we will cross this milestone. I cant believe we have been hiking for 7 days!