rachel 1Walked: 20.98 km (13.04 miles)
32,282 steps.

Fitness: I feel great and I’m sure I’ve lost some weight!!Julie is walking on pure adrenaline as her knee and sunburn look so painful. Rachel had sore feet, sore collar bones and hips.

There were a few foggy heads this morning after the late night of “spoons” and Sangria, so it was a later start than usual. (8am). We had agreed to not carry out packs today so the hotel took them for us to Estella (bliss!)

The day started well and we reached Maneru with ease for our first pit stop.

By the time we reached Cirauqui Rachel was quite slow. Her feet were extremely painful. She was not suffering from blisters, it was the arches of both feet that were excruciating. By this stage she wanted to push on, but as we took a break on the Puente medieval (8 miles into our hike), I made the parental decision that enough was enough.

I’m so proud
At Lorca, we had pizza, paella and a few drinks to whisk away the 1 hr that we had to wait for the bus. I felt quite emotional as people that we had met along the way wished us well, gave us hugs and kisses. I was a little bit gutted that we didn’t make it all the way to Estella, but my daughters health comes first and she has made me feel so proud to be her mum this week.

William fell out of the bunk:
At Lorca we grabbed the bus with two friends. Liz, a management consultant from Leeds, and William who was walking with a limp. I thought he also had issues with his feet, but it turned out that he fell out of the top bunk last night whilst wrestling with a Spanish Kangaroo! Before you ask, I’ve no idea what a Spanish kangaroo is either, and I was afraid to ask!

A depressing arrival.

As we arrived by bus into Estella, it was a real anti climax. When we usually arrive in a new town we are greeted by familiar faces, a warm welcome by friends and a pat on the back from others who know what you have just been through. Today, we had none of that which left me feeling a little bit empty.

Rachel and I have bought a new pack of cards, and we are now in the main square with wine, cola and wasting time whilst waiting for our friends to arrive. It was a welcome sight to see Brad (who we have not seen for three days). We also met up with Bob and his daughter to check out the church in the town. We lit a candle and said a few prayers (something I’ve never done before and another experience for Rachel).

Our last supper
We caught up with Julie and the whole gang at a local bar. We left them drinking tequila slammers and playing an Argentina game called “pig”.

What an experience! It is so hard to put The Camino into words. I thought I was coming here for an adventure, but what I found was peace in my own head, new friends that I will treasure forever, and a special bond with Rachel and Julie that will never be broken.

Before I left England I downloaded loads of podcasts and audio books. I have not listened to any of them. I’ve enjoyed the scenery and the quietness that the Camino brings. Thinking about “nothing” is very rare for me and I will certainly be doing more of it in the future.

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