Puente la Reina always takes care of pilgrims on arrival. The Camino takes a line straight through the town as it has done since the 11th century. The narrow, shaded main street leads through to the beautiful, arched bridge spanning the River Arca. Buy lunch, retreat to the grassy banks and enjoy.
It was tough today. The heat sapped most of my energy and the twenty-five mile mark took ages to arrive. I pulled up in Estella where all the albergues were full but a helpful warden directed me to the suburb of Ayegui where space was still available. After dreaming of fruit all day and forgetting to buy any, in true Camino spirit, Hans from Holland handed me slices of watermelon which he couldn’t finish.
The Bolero gently piped over the speakers at 6am the following morning, softly suggesting we wake up and be on our way. I hummed it all day (and still am as I write). For once, the morning was cool; overcast skies seemed to have answered my wish for some respite from the sun. After leaving Estella and stopping briefly in Azqueta for a cafe solo, the afternoon offered wide, open spaces with few pilgrims. August is proving to be quiet on the Camino. Prior to the busiest month of September, I’m guessing that the fierce sun keeps many walkers away – but if you can stand the heat, it’s worth planning your hike for this period to enjoy a quieter Camino.
Red Rock Canyon Hiking Map Photo Gallery
Los Arcos always keeps a pilgrim guessing as to its whereabouts. The track cuts a line through the base of a wide valley as occasional old, abandoned buildings stand like sentinels on either side. Hidden by a hill, Los Arcos finally appears nestled in the bottom of the next valley, its small eateries and bars catering well for the pilgrim
Further, expansive views were on offer in the afternoon. The 100-mile stretch between the cities of Burgos and Leon is known as the Meseta – an area of vast plains and epic skies offering little shade, and the towns are far apart. I always considered the two days before the Meseta from Azqueta as the warm-up, a gentle reminder that the going is about to get much harder.