I really appreciate the beauty of this trail. Sometimes the beauty, itself, makes tears fall down my cheeks. I learned about many styles of cathedrals in art history class my first year in college, and I try to point out to myself when I see the difference between romantic and Byzantine architecture. It is all beautiful.
On Wednesday, I arrived in Puenta La Reina. It had been a very hard day for me emotionally, and the first person I met in the hostel was Gaiel, from France. He was one of the happiest people I have ever met, and spoke English wonderfully. He has already travelled 500 km, starting from a point I cannot remember. He talked to me a while, got me to open up, and then congratulated me when he got me to cry, saying that it was what will help me heal. Mantas, from Lithuania hikes with meditation beads on his wrist and in his hand. We talked about yoga and meditation, and I think I will try to do more meditative hiking. I have never been good at shutting my mind down, so it might take me a month to get it right.
Yesterday, I arrived in Estella. It was a small town with loads of architecture! My feet were already sore from the days hike, but I spent several hours walking the town anyway. We had a late start yesterday, because Paul and I decided to ship some items ahead to Santiago to lighten our packs. Since it is easy, cheap, and convenient to stay in a hostel every night, I shipped my tent and sleeping pad ahead, along with some other small items I don't need. My pack is now closer to a "pillow", as Aoife calls hers.
Today, early on in the day, we came across the Fuentes del Vino (wine fountain), where pilgrims can fortify themselves for the journey ahead at the generosity of the Bodegas. This definitely never happened on the AT! Haha
We arrived to town by noon. We took a wrong turn somewhere, got a little lost, ran into a shepherd herding his sheep down the road, then followed some road signs to get back on track. It must have been a short cut, because we beat many others to town.
As we arrived in town, we noticed a parade going on. For the last few days, we have seen festivities going on and everyone seems to be wearing white and red, especially red scarves. I asked the Albergue host about it and he said it is festival, and today was the most important day. Apparently, the bulls run through the streets of this town too, and it will happen tonight! He told us that he will be closing the hostel for two hours this evening, and to be careful. Thanks, dude! (No really, he did show us where to stand, and that there will be a protection fence in place. Whew!)
I guess you will have to wait for the next blog to see what happens during the running of the bulls in Los Arcos!