June 10, 2007

6/10/07 Arres Spain

It seems that no matter how much my feet hurt, the next morning they seem ready to get back on the road. Mind you they are not 100%, but they sure feel better than the day before.

Sort of got a late start, but I was hoping that the rain last night would cool temperatures down a bit.

I have to say that the two kilometers after Ruestra have to be the best on the entire Camino. My route paralleled the lake but I didn't get to see much of it because I was literally in a green tunnel. The Camino followed an old, old road. You could barely see the moss-covered rock walls for all the trees and brush. But the road was flat and very straight, built long before cars, maybe even a king's road.

Camino Argones

I got a little wet from the surrounding brush, but the trail was pretty dry considering all the rain we had. Another good thing about the Camino was that the marking has greatly improved. But I still found comfort in the little cairns others have left along the way.

Much easier to follow

Believe it or not, there is snow up on the mountain peaks that I've been walking along. And the villages along the way look like mountain kingdoms, as they are built up on the high ground.

Most of the day was through wheat fields ready to harvest. One farmer waded out into his fields to check if it was time to cut. When he saw me, he reminded me that Santiago was in the other direction.

I love the color of wheat

Decided not to climb up to Artieda

Snow on the mountain-tops

The last flat, straight part of the Camino

Even though today was a longer walk, the feet did pretty good. But those last few kilometers were tough, especially since the Camino went straight up to the pueblo of Arres.

The town is literally built on the cliffs. From the castle you can see the entire valley and a lot of the mountain peaks opposite. As you can imagine, there are few streets, just a lot of slanted sidewalks.

Too steep for cars, only walkways

More cats

I was warmly greeted by volunteer hospitalero Jose Maria. There are pictures inside the albergue showing it's re-construction. In the showers, there is a window showing the cliff-face the house is built on. Jose Maria even offered to make me some lunch and sat and ate with me. He said anything he could do, he would. I'm glad I made that last climb straight up to here.

The feet are very sore but I'll live. [smile]. When a thunderstorm blew through, I tried to take a nap but I can't find a comfortable position for my legs. But soon enough, the sun was back and I could walk around town.

Most of the other pilgrims are French, Italian & Spanish. Although a few are just beginning there pilgrimage from Somport, a lot seem too be hardcore perigrinos walking from there front door, even if they have to do it in parts. Some of these have not only done the Camino Frances, but many of the other routes in Spain and France.

We all ate together at the refugio for dinner. Jose Maria cooked up an all-you-can-eat Spanish version of potato salad, along with bread and wine. The amazing thing about the refugio is that everything is given freely but there is a donation box by the door.

Small chapel where we had a pilgrim mass

For this night, Jose Maria was in his element as almost everyone in the refugio spoke English. But he told stories of a few nights ago when there were fifteen pilgrims and none of them spoke a word of Spanish. He said those are the tough days.

Several times during the evening thunderstorms rolled through. Hopefully that means cooler temperatures tomorrow.