Monday, April 4, 2005

Irache and Estella—Day 5

A perfect day. Took rests so my knees were better. Was walking with 7 men—4 Spaniards and three Czech's, so I didn't know how I was going to use the bathroom which I needed desperately. They stopped for sandwiches, so I went "exploring" and the problem was thus settled satisfactorily. At Irache—a monastery—we stopped to fill up our water bottles, and what should come out of the fountain but wine! A lovely treat! This afternoon the sun came out. Hurrah!!!! I've been practicing my Spanish a lot—I love the language so much.

So far it has rained one day, which was actually quite fun, because all the pilgrims ended up staying for lunch at one bar. So we all crowded in, steaming and wet, and ordered hot chocolate and coffee. A pile of sticks and wet rain-jackets by the door—all sorts of pack-sacks lying about. Great fun.

There is an old Italian pilgrim with a pipe and fat journal. I like walking with him because he goes at such a compfortable pace, yet we can't really communicate. Thus, there is no need to be chatty and yet I can enjoy the smell of tobacco!

(JPPII died. I just found out at mass.)

Trick to the trail: Eat heavy. Drink heavier. Walk hard. Sleep long and deep.

(I have a water bottle filled with wine now.)

We have been passing Medieval ruins, olive orchards, and luscious green fields. Birds chirp. I wave at horses (and Spaniards) and chat with the other pilgrims. We stayed in the funniest hostel last night—the chica there played Abba music and almost every pilgrim I have met on the trail converged there. We all ate breakfast together—hot chocolate and biscuits. She kept burning incense which is pretty reasonable seeing as the place was perpetually inundated with smelly pilgrims!

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