I have largely been walking alone. The body is holding out extremely well for an "ancient" such as myself. My shoulders are the only place that I feel even the slightest bit of pain and that is from a backpack that is digging ferociously into my shoulders. I have a water container known as a "CamelBak," which enables me to sip water through a plastic tubing. Trouble is, the water tastes like plastic. These are champagne problems, I know. We are just lucky to have access to water at all.
I have walked from Estella to Los Arcos. The first eight kilometers is uphill through beautiful wooded areas and then a gradual descent into a dry arid plain for the remainder of the day´s journey. The last kilometer seems to go on for at least five.
Just outside of Estella is a fountain that belongs to the vineyards of Irache. It dispenses free wine and water to "fortify" travellers such as myself. Arriving at 10.00 in the morning is probably too early for this sort of fortifying. Anyway, I missed the turning so the experience of free wine will have to live on in my memory from five years ago.
I keep bumping into the same people along the way: we stop to chat and compare notes and then tend to move on. I have dinner with a woman from Vancouver Island who likes to complete everyone´s sentences - very irritating - and a retired Swedish man. Before I can stop him, he picks up our tab - a very spontaneous act of generosity on his part. On arrival at the Refugio, I am given the option of a larger dormitory that accommodates twenty persons or one that sleeps only eight for a few Euros more. I decide on the more expensive option - what luxury.
Showers seem to be working very well on my Camino to date and I seem to always have a plentiful supply of hot water. If I arrive early enough in the day, I will do a hand washing of clothes and hope that they dry by morning. If they don´t dry then I just bundle them up into an old washing bag and hope that I can dry them at the next refuge. Some people attach wet laundry to the back of their backpacks and allow it to dry during their day's journey.