Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that this summer, I spent 9 days walking around 180km along the Camino de Santiago, from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France to Logroño in Spain. I wrote a Q&A post in response to some of the questions people had asked me along the way already but had so many people ask me if I was going to blog about the entire experience that I’ve decided to make this a nine part series over the next 3 months or so. Noone wants to read a recap featuring 100s of photos and 1000s of words and I feel like this might be more helpful for people who are looking for information about the specific stages. This is Part 6 (Parts 1-5 linked at the end of this post).
Camino Frances Day 6: Puente la Reina to Estella (approx 24km)
This day. Oh my. I can still remember how LONG it felt, despite it not actually being that difficult in terms of terrain. A few lessons learned here, for sure…
We started out bright and early in Puente la Reina where some people were continuing the previous night’s fiesta..
Early on in the day, as Cirauqui came into view, my feet started hurting. Not blisters, no rubbing, but more the bones felt like they were aching. Um… with around 15km to go that was not a good feeling…
Most of this day’s paths were natural tracks and apart from a little bit of a climb in the morning to reach Cirauqui and Lorca, it was pretty plain sailing as far as the terrain…
In Cirauqui, a small, medieval hilltop village, we sat and rested awhile and admired the gorgeous buildings…
But it was onwards and upwards after that and despite the fact that my feet literally hurt with every single step (it felt like my bones were bruised), there was no choice but to keep going…
We reached Lorca at a reasonable hour for lunch (usually we found ourselves in towns smack bang in the middle of siesta when everything was closed) and broke our unspoken rule of not sitting down for a “meal”. I think that even if Yvonne had continued, I’d have had to stop for a little bit. I believe I Instagrammed this picture with something about my feet being in “a world of pain”. And we still had over 8km to go at that point. Yikes! Still, a good tortilla and a fizzy Kas will always make you feel better, even if just momentarily (I’ve never drunk so much pop as during that 9 days, I tell you!).
Plus, I mean, the restaurant had a picture of a pilgrim cat so we couldn’t NOT stop…
Feeling somewhat energised (at least temporarily), we headed back on the road, passing through Villatuerta… My feet were killing me at this point but again, there was no choice but to keep going. I had a feeling that it was muscular and due to not stretching the day before after the gruelling climb to the wind turbines but there was nothing I could do until we stopped for the day…
FINALLY, we arrived in Estella. I have a few vague recollections of the hotel NOT being the first one we came across (as was the case in every other town we stayed in!) and standing at a traffic light looking at Google Maps and willing it to tell me the hotel was closer. There may have even been tears. I remember not being able to stand up to check in to the hotel, my feet were so sore. It was not a good scene. Fortunately Yvonne just kind of got things organised and soon we were ensconced in a beautiful room in the Hospedería Chapitel. This was our view:
We rested, showered, snacked and Instagrammed (well…. we did, what can I say?!) and I asked my online community for some help with my feet. My osteopath and Pilates instructor came forth with excellent suggestions as did many of my friends and after some serious stretching and some Yoga Tune Up. action, I was able to hobble around the gorgeous town for a couple of hours… I’m so glad I did!
When we finally sat down for dinner, I warned Yvonne that I might not be able to move much afterwards so we ate at the little restaurant in the hotel. They must have known I had had a rough day because when I ordered one serving of flan, this is what I got:
And no, I didn’t eat it all (because, restraint. Also, tired!). Before we hit the hay we made sure that we had everything we needed for the following day… All. The. Snacks.
This was a really tough day (for me) mostly because I didn’t stretch properly the day before (after a very tough day’s walking). The terrain wasn’t all that bad – in fact this was one of the days Yvonne walked the fastest since it wasn’t too hilly and there weren’t any crazy slippery descents. I stretched a lot at the end of this day and managed the next three with absolutely no problem. Stretches, they’re a good thing to do as well as think about 😉
Stay tuned in a couple of weeks for the next instalment – Estella to Los Arcos. Where the end is kinda, sorta in sight!
Disclosure: I researched Camino trips independently and chose the Camino Travel Center based on a number of features such as flexibility to accommodate a couple of “splits” in some of the longer days, price and customer service. They were, in fact the first company I came across in my very first Google search and the one I ended up booking with. From the initial inquiry to the actual trip, they were a pleasure to deal with and we were very impressed with the service provided (bag transportation) and the accommodation choices. I was not compensated to write about this trip in any way but I love sharing companies and products I believe in with my readers. I couldn’t recommend the Camino Travel Center more and, in fact, am looking at booking another Camino walk with them in the future.
Please note: This post contains product links from Amazon which are affiliate links, meaning if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price which goes towards maintaining eat. live. travel. write. Thank you in advance!
Read more about the Camino de Santiago:
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – questions and answers
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 1: Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Valcarlos
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 2: Valcarlos to Roncesvalles
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 3: Roncesvalles to Zubiri
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 4: Zubiri to Pamplona
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 5: Pamplona to Puente la Reina
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 6: Puente la Reina to Estella
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 7: Estella to Los Arcos
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 8: Los Arcos to Viana
Walking (part of) the Camino de Santiago – Day 9: Viana to Logroño