Day 5 and a new chapter of my Camino de Santiago was ahead.
The day before I was reluctant to stay in Estella or continue on, luckily, I didn't leave and had the chance to see the beauty of this town, have an awesome burger for dinner, the best ever alioli sauce and chips (check Restaurante Aljama), a really big beer and I even experienced the first rain drops of my Camino.
But best of all, one my longest and strongest Camino friendships was about to start.
While I was checking the nearby albergues at the tourism office and was almost about to leave, I met there 3 more bike pilgrims, they had just arrived from Ordizia (a little town in the Basque Country) and they were looking for an albergue too. After a quick chat, Maitane, Carla, Marta and I ended up looking for a place together. That's how easy one Basque, two Catalans and one Galician ended up heading together to Santiago de Compostela.
After a good night's sleep, we, the "Ondiñas" team (stay tuned to future posts to discover where this name comes from) left the magnificent Estella in search of some breakfast. Considering we were in Navarra, what better choice for breakfast than some...Wine! Yes, you've read it right, wine!
Keep reading, keep reading!
The Designation of Origin (D.O.) Navarra may be overshadowed by the more popular Bordeaux and Rioja ones, but this region's red wines have nothing to envy them and is actually one of the hidden gems of the Spanish wine growing tradition (more info here). Therefore, there's no better way to show it with... a wine fountain! Yes, you've read it right again, there's a wine fountain for pilgrims and visitors on the Camino, it's hosted by the Irache winery and there's no better start of a day when you're invited like this: "Pilgrim, if you wish to arrive at Santiago full of strength and vitality, have a drink of this great wine and make a toast to happiness" (click here for more info of this wine fountain).
Sixth recommendation for the Camino: open up your eyes and spirit, and the Camino will reward you with plenty of surprises!
Following our "toast to happiness" we headed out to Arcos where we stopped for some credential stamps and some refreshment. It was also the moment where I did another photo interview with Carla and where we remembered the moving story of Cliff and his wife and Carla's own one. Keep fighting guys!
Arcos was also the first attempt to meet a friend of mine who lives nearby, but we had to keep going, so we went on to Viana, where to our surprise, the town was in celebration! Actually, one street path of the Camino was a bit occupied by... bull running! Yes, you're reading right again, bulls instead of pilgrims and bikes. We accidentally barged into the town's annual festivities with the typical white clothing and red scarf dressing, a great party mood where everyone was joyfully dancing, singing and drinking water (see below).
Destiny somehow made it that my friend Mireia called me that instant too and she was heading to Viana to meet me! I couldn't wish for a better place and moment to reunite with an old friend, she even brought me a gift, local homegrown asparagus, mmmm!
"Muchas gracias Mire y espero volver a verte prontico!"
Having to go on, I bitterly had to leave this nice reunion and continue on my own to Logroño (the bike girls headed out while I stayed in Viana). There, I just did a quick ice cream stop and continued to Navarrete, where Maitane, Carla and Marta had already arrived. I specially enjoyed the ride from Logroño to Navarrete because it was a natural path along the Grajera reservoir and river, ending up through beautiful wine yards that produce, in this case, Rioja's excellent wines (more info on the DOCa Rioja wines here).
After some strolling around in this marvelous scenery, at some point I had to hurry a bit because some angry clouds started to show up... some people don't like them, specially the grey ones, but I just love 'em, I couldn't do some of my best landscape photos without, check it yourself on the pic below!
Since I wasn't looking to get wet, destiny struck again and made me arrive to the town's Albergue in perfect timing, it started dripping just when I got there. I caught up with the girls, we went to a casual wine and ham tasting held in Navarrete's town square and we went for dinner, just in time to watch on TV the amazing entry of the Spanish Vuelta into our own final destination: Santiago de Compostela! (watch it here and click here for more info of this cycling competition).
Do you remember the angry clouds? Well, they finally decided to join the show! And boy did they do it through the big door: thunder, storm, pouring cats and dogs and wind took the scene, thank God we were covered and enjoying our meal!
Unfortunately, once we went back to the albergue, a few surprises awaited for me...
Curious? Then watch out for my next post to check them out.