Friday, 24 June 2016

Day 6 Los Arcos to Viana

Today's walk took us from Los Arcos to Viana, a distance of about 19.16km. We are staying at the Pension San Pedro.

 The pension where we stayed last night had what they called a "do it yourself" breakfast - for a small fee, the kitchen was available for us to use and was stocked with cereals, milk, a small selection of pastries, various fruits, yoghurt, bread, jams, cheese and cold meat as well as fruit juice and coffee.  There was a toaster, coffee machine and microwave available.  Really nice.  So we made ourselves breakfast at the pension and got an early start, leaving at 06:45.  We had another long day ahead of us today and although there was some cloud cover, it was forecast to be hot again.

The morning ritual
 We walked at a really fast pace for the first +-7kms to Sansol.  I felt the strongest I have felt the entire Camino this morning, which surprised all of us, coming after a 20+km day.  Grant actually struggled with the pace us girls were setting, which is very unusual.

The walk to Sansol was very easy-going, quite flat and easy terrain.

We had a quick coffee ad loo-stop in Sansol, where I befriended a gorgeous kitten.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Torres del Rio, built around 1170

After Sansol there were lots of uphills and downhills, but it was a beautiful walk.  I really loved the walk today.  Although it was quite humid, I thought it was a lot cooler than the previous few days.  Strangely, I felt strong all day and Grant struggled a bit today, he didn't cope well with the humidity.

There was an area on the side of the walk with stone cairns dotted all around.  Many had notes attached - some were letters to deceased friends or family, others messages to fellow pilgrims.  I found it really sweet.  I know a lot of people don't like it, in fact some are vehemently against it, again I feel it's a case of "each to their own".

There was a chap playing the most amazing guitar music about 4kms before we got to Viana.  Really beautiful.  

About 2 kms before Viana my foot got seriously sore.  I sometimes struggle with nerve pain that feels like violent electric shocks going down the side of my foot, it can literally take my breath away and that is what suddenly started happening today. I thought my walk might be over, but after a short rest the problem solved itself and on we continued.  

Once we got into Viana we stopped at a taverna for a beer shandy and some lunch.  It was a mighty fine lunch of potato tortilla, and various other bits and pieces.  This walking can build up an appetite I tell you!

Then it was off to our pension for the usual routine of clothes washing, showers and siesta.  

There is the most beautiful church in Viana, I got a couple of photos on the way in, but we planned to go back in the evening for a better look - we did, met with a storm and got drenched in the process, so these pics are as good as it gets I'm afraid.

Church of Santa Maria de la Asunción

We went to the restaurant next door to our pension for dinner, it was a small little place, part bar and part restaurant.  We had an awesome pilgrims menu. The waitress was so friendly and there were a group of elderly local gentleman who clearly frequent the place daily. It gave it a lovely atmosphere. 
We met an elderly Polish gentleman who was walking his 7th Camino, he took a shine to Paula because her name is apparently Polish (who knew?!).  He called Grant "Gransh".  Dinner was 12 Euros, we had asparagus starters, Paula had gazpacho, Grant had steak as a main (yeah, not what us South Africans would call a steak, he should have known better than to order that!) Paula and I had paella and for dessert we had what has become our favourite - arroz con leche - rice pudding!

What I find quite astounding is that, in this pension tonight and the one we stayed in last night, the proprietor seems to leave in the afternoon and return to the place late the following morning.  Guests are given a key and asked to leave the key on the reception desk when they leave in the morning...  The South African in me finds this level of trust quite alarming... I'm clearly very jaded and cynical!

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