I leave Lorca about 8:30 while the others are …
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… still gearing up. Peace and quiet … not even a rooster breaks the silence of the morning.
The path goes through fields and vineyards until a city breaks the skyline in the distance. There is a bench at the entrance to the town, just perfect for repacking the extra jacket that sun made me take off. Thomas from Sweden passes me by, his start point today was the place before Lorca and he started from SJPDP two days after me.
The Way cuts diagonally across the town. After passing a local school I join Thomas in a cafe / bakery. This is his 3rd Camino, and he was supposed to do it with his friend from Oxford, who unfortunately got cancer, so now he is doing it for both of them.
As Thomas leaves, and Italian from Bergamo comes in, he started two days later than me. The Italian leaves and Maren joins me for a while then we both move on.
As we pass a small church a large “pilgrim family” passes us by, a German, two Italians, Australian, Californian, Hungarian and one more. They started a day later, also from SJPDP.
As we exit the town through a meadow we pass a church of St. Miguel. A slight down-slope ends with a bridge next to whom a local gent is pole fishing. Maren catches up with me here together with Chris, a pale Londoner who needs extra sunscreen for protection, and whose attire is not typical hiking style, reminds me more of Sherlock Holmes. He is very smart in carrying a lightweight backpack, without even a sleeping bag.
As we enter Estella, a magnificent medieval church welcomes us to town with an interesting souvenir shop nearby. They even have the horns from the bulls that ran in Pamplona during St. Fermin. Its a traditional event where some people (far more adventurous than me) run before the bulls. In such a race I’d always tend to bet on the bulls.
Few people around the town. I keep looking for a supermarket and I spot a big Lidl about 50m off the Camino, but for some reason I don’t feel like detouring.
As I exit the town I find a bench on a gentle slope where I stop for a break. The path continues through some suburbs.
For a while now I’ve been thinking that it would be nice to come across someone working in a garage to borrow a set of pliers so I can remove broken plastic tops from my poles. And there it is … a garage with three guys working on a car who are happy to help.
At the nearby meadow I spot the large international pilgrim family, and I join them heading to one of the key Camino attractions – Irache wine fountain, where you get get some free wine (pretty good one) at the fountain. It is traditionally drank from a shell that one carries as a Camino symbol.
After the wine fountain there is a church, a small town … a path … longer path and stretches on and on … and on.
Johanes from Hamburg is limping and has lagged behind his group. For the first couple of days he was pushing hard ahead of everyone and now he seems to be suffering the consequences. We hit another small town … still no store in sight.
A forest comes next … first uphill then downhill … then a short break. Johanes manages to catch up … then I catch up with him later, eventually we both waggle into a small town with a bar, where Dieter joins us in a bit. Not the place I’ll be staying at today, but I do manage a short rest before I move on, leaving the Germans behind.
A farm with sleeping dog is just before two signposts. One says 1.5 km and another 2 km to Villamajor. I like the first one better, though from past experience I suspect this means at least 4 km.
And yet … after walking what felt like 1 km I experience a pleasant surprise … a church tower ahead … and it is indeed Villamayor de Monjardin where I park myself for today.
The albergue is operated by Dutch protestants, who have a small gift for everyone after dinner. A Gospel of St. John, to each in their own language. I’m amazed they have the Croatian version as well, its even published in my hometown.
I have a lengthy chat with Dieter, one of my foremost Camino heroes. He is 79 and on his 5th consecutive Camino. … wow. At his request I give him a lengthy historical overview on former Yugoslavia and the reasons for its dissolution. He didn’t seem bored … or maybe he was just very polite. I’ve noticed that few older peregrinos shyly inquire on former Yugoslavia, perhaps it was easier to keep track of one country than seven.
Amazingly, after a shower and a brief rest I don’t fell such pain all over. Btw … funny thing I noticed about pain so far … it tends to pass.
That was day no.6