28th March 2013

Trip Start Mar 23, 2013
Trip End May 05, 2013

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Where I stayed
A Church hostel, basic but a wonderful welcome.

Flag of Spain  , Navarra,
Thursday, March 28, 2013

Another bad nights sleep!  The dinner in the hotel part of the Hostel was a buffet, loads of fruit, veg, salad, choice of meals and unlimited wine or beer.  As the drink was free many people over refreshed, therefore the bloody snoring was just epic!  Foolishly I was very sensible, it was the one night that I really should not have been under refreshed.  Anyway I was kept up much of the night, even with ear plugs.
This morning we started off in the rain, again!  The rivers are all flooding and pathways muddy or washed away in places.  Jan was brilliant, telling us rude jokes to keep up our spirits.  Laura, the German daughter was struggling hard, even though they sent their rucksacks on by taxi. There is a service for 7 Euros per bag, per day, that ships them to the next hostel for you.  I can tell you by the end of the day on those tired tired legs you really start to think you should have done it! 
Eventually Jan could not keep stopping for Laura as he was in pain now so walked on alone.  Well, as alone as you can be with well over a hundred pilgrims a day on the same route.  The walking is not so bad if you can keep a steady rhythm, the stopping and starting is crippling to stiff legs and sore feet but Laura asked that I did not leave her behind.  Eventually we found a bar, we were all shattered by now after only 15 km in the rain and mud.  We were enjoying the refreshment when the Korean tiger and a new Korean girl turned up.  I really do not know where these Koreans are coming from, there are only 3 of us Brits and most of South Korea on this walk.  I suggest that North Korea invades Southern Korea very soon, as I bloody well doubt there are more than 3 of them left to defend the place!  Anyway, the Spanish bar owner starts to speak to my Korean friend in Korean, to his amazement.  The bar owner had spent much time in Korea and even had a bottle of the Korean rice spirit that Sun Ho kept talking about.  Sun Ho was over the moon and insisted we tried it.  This rice spirit is mixed with beer and is pretty potent, maybe not the best of refreshments at lunchtime but it really would have been rude to be under refreshed.....  Thank goodness I called my Mum to wish her happy birthday before my refreshments.
Crawling on through the mud I found the sun had come out, the following few kilometers are a bit hazy after that bloody rice stuff.  I will look at the photos later....  Much of the walk was besides a river that was overflowing.  It was not till we got to Estella that we realized it was several meters over its bank and the pathways flooded alongside it.  
Estella is a beautiful old town of thirty thousand people built around the river.  We found a lovely hostel run by volunteers from the church.  You give a few Euros donation, they give you a bed, tea, coffee, or beer and basic food.  The old lady that checks us in is wonderful, she smiles and gives us a coffee or a beer and says anything for the pilgrims in Spanish.  Sometimes its the little things in life that touch you, like an old ladies kindness to complete strangers.
I am now all cleaned up and in the Internet cafe, off to dinner now and just hoping I can dodge that Korean.......
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