Camino de Santiago Day 2: Estella to Navarrete, 74 kms.
Previous Post – Camino de Santiago Day 1: Pamplona to Estella, 44 kms.
Yesterday’s ride from Pamplona to Estella was just some sort of a practice run of 44 kms. to test my bike as well as myself and see how it goes. The 10 kg. bags on the saddle weren’t much of a problem as I had feared though I should have taken a lesser load.
Estella to Navarrete, 74 kms.
It was tiring and though I practiced religiously for almost 5 months in Kuwait, nothing came close to anticipating the difficulty in climbing the steep gradient of the rolling terrain which alternated between wheat fields and wooded areas.
So today I left early headed for Navarrete 74 kms. away passing through the beautiful towns of Los Arcos, Puente la Reina where there was an old stone bridge dating back to the 8th century and Logrono. There were many wineries along the route and I fought the urge to stop by for some wine tasting! It was hot at 32 degrees so every now and then I had to stop to refill the bottle from stores along the way.
The road winded up and down the mountainous terrain and every now and then some cyclists overtook me and we greeted each other with the customary Buen Camino! It made me wonder though why, in spite of being laden with stuff on their bikes, they still managed to climb faster than me. Was it their expensive bikes or they simply just had more leg power? Probably both, I told myself.
I stopped for lunch by a roadside resto in Puente la Reina that served what they call Pilgrim’s Meal. For 8 or 9 Euros you get a starter of salad or beans, a main course of the local dish (fish or meat) and dessert. Plus half a bottle of wine or water. I dunno but I always craved for an ice cold Coke which I had to buy separately. The wine I did not touch for it made me feel woozy – not good for a tired cyclist!
In Logrono I tarried awhile near the river that runs through the city and watched other cyclists crossing the bridge with flags waving on their panniers. Most of them were South American – Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina – and made me wonder why I didn’t bring a Philippine flag, too. I was tempted to stay for the night but it seemed there were too many distractions so I decided to push on to the last 17-km. leg as quickly as I could.
On the last part of the way, it was all downhill and I screamed with joy just for the sheer fun of it like riding a roller coaster! My sore legs were ecstatic too that I had to pedal no further.
It was almost 7PM with the sun still up when I checked in at the local albergue (pilgrim’s lodging also called hostales) after paying 10 Euros for a bunk bed that you share with 4 or 5 other people for the night. There was nobody else except myself which was good for I craved some peace and quiet.
At the church, there was a wedding going on and I watched and applauded along with the rest of the entourage waiting outside in the plaza when the bride and groom came out! Then I walked to a small restaurant nearby where I ate salad and a big platter of grilled seafood washed down with cold beer in the verandah while watching the sun go down. All seemed to be at peace with the world.
Back in my room, the moment my aching back touched the mattress, I was knocked out for the night……
Note: This was my daily journal throughout the pilgrimage route which took all of 12 days from Pamplona to Santiago de Compostela.