Camino Day 8: Estella to Torres Del Rio 29km

Last night’s albergue in Estella was my worst Camino sleeping experience so far. The rock bottom price of 7€ may have been a sign of things to come.

On one hand, that price attracted young Spanish people. Party people. Who ate, drank and made noise way beyond the 10pm ssssshhh time. You know, “whispering” and giggling.

The albergue also attracted die-hard hikers. The ones who get up at 4am to get ready, packing, having breakfast. Moving around in the dark of the albergue with their headlight on. Shining onto the faces of sleeping pilgrims.

Hence, limited sleep to around 4 hours for me, from 12am to 4pm. I will stick to a bed which cost at least 10€ from now on.

As soon as I left Estella behind, I bumped into Allan. Unbelievable! He was the Danish guy that I gave my bed to at Hostel Orisson on the first day of the Camino. Allan said that he had recovered well after that first day and night. Although he was still coughing. But he was as far on the Camino as I was. Go figure!

My first noticeable encounter of the day was free wine. The famous free wine on tap at Bodegas Irache.

Party at 8.30am. Kind of.

The free wine did not taste too bad. Definitely drinkable but at another time, another place. Not first thing in the morning other than a sip or two.

The wine quality did not even get close to that of Snake Gully. (Snake Gully is an Australian wine that I once had in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney. Snake Gully set the bar of wine quality so low that it is unlikely to be ever beaten)

Bodegas Irache offers bypassing pilgrims and others 100 litres of free wine per day. You better be early.

Today’s Camino themes were wide open spaces, countryside and farming.

It was nowhere near as hot as yesterday despite the weather forecast for being so. Cool, overcast and gentle winds made for a much pleasant walking day.

Another photo of the Camino dwindling into the distance. Why not?

And didn’t this just bring thoughts back home to Australia? Except that there were goats mingled in there as well.

Another familiar face from the Pamplona hostel popped up several times during the day. Win is an Auckland Kiwi living in Brisbane. She is tough little lady. There appears to be Maori blood in there and she speaks with such a broad New Zealand accent.

Postnote: I later found out that Win is actually from the Cook Islands.

Arriving in Los Arcos which is today’s suggested end destination in the guide book.

But I joined forces with Mark, a Canadian from Ottawa who I also met at last night’s albergue. Together, we continued today’s pilgrimage for another 8km to the town of Torres Del Rio.

Torres Del Rio will be today’s “The Way” movie association as the characters talked about it in there.

Mind you, there was not much of a rio in Torres Del Rio. Unless there is another rio at the other end of the town.

Our chosen hostel in Torres Del Rio had the odd name of “La Pata Oca” which means “The goose leg”. Right, there must be story behind that name.

A bed cost 10€ but combined bed, dinner and breakfast at 20€ was great value. The albergue’s point of differentiation was a cooling pool for feet. Nice. Sorry no pic.

A few drinks with a new crowd of people, from left to right. Ben from Cairns in Australia, Aaron from Manchester in UK and Mark from Ottawa in Canada.

There was some drinking after dinner. Including with a “bum” who came off the street and just joined us. He claimed to be French but his grasp of English was too good and with a thorough knowledge of Ireland. I think he was Irish and out to get a few free drinks from pilgrims and others. As you do…

144km walked, 642km left to walk after Day 8

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