Camino de Santiago Day Eight: Villamayor de Monjardin to Torres del Rio

7 04 2018

Day eight of walking, almost unfathomable! My body feels totally different today and I’m noticing that my clothes fit differently. My gray stretchy pants are bagging around the knees making my legs look like skinny elephant legs. Despite all the beer and wine it seems my belly is smaller and my arms are becoming defined by the movement of the poles. Today for the first day I felt strong!

We headed out of town after the first wave of pilgrims. We seem to be on our own time schedule which is nice, but in these big firms the rustling of stuff starts at about 6am and then builds. At just about 7 someone opted to turn on the bright lights above us and I had to wake up. At least we weren’t in a rush and fighting the rush for the one toilet (for 12 people).

We had some nibbles for breakfast and headed down the hill last vineyards and through the sloggy red clay, the kind that sticks to your boots and adds weight. The rain held off for a little while but then we heard some thunder and out on the pack raincover and soon the walk became very wet (this less photos today. The rain was incessant but it was a pleasant temperature and although I was fearful that perhaps my phone and papers were in a precarious position I plodded on because once the rain starts there’s no way to reorganize… so if rain is forecast or not it’s best to have your stuff sorted properly in dry sacks.

At a certain pint in the walk I’m not sure what happened but I fell into a rhythm and could not be stopped, my pace was speedy and before we knew it we were in Los Arcos! I couldn’t believe it, we left at about 9 and we’re there by 11:30. We found a cute bar Gargantua that played a kick ass Spotify playlist! Black Water by the Doobie Brothers was on when we walked in “well if it rains I don’t care don’t make no difference to me.” Followed by AC/DC, Creedence, Bob Segar. It was great. I peeled off each wet layer soon discovering that my waterproof Patagonia… not so much, totally wet, inner Columbia layer soaked through in places but the phone was still ok. Waterproof Vasque boots? Nope, Smartwool socks soaked and feet wet. Not exactly appropriate to have stripped my socks off but st least my feet are still not blistered like a lot of others are.

I had a beer, a plate of mini deep fried squid and some padron peppers and let my feet dry for a bit. Then I changed to dry socks (they immediately became damp upon putting he boots on) and put on the cold wet jackets. And it was off again. We had what looked like a three hour walk but the weather had cleared a bit and the rain stopped. We had a slower pace and Craig from Ohio who we’d met during the rainstorm joined us for the walk. In about two hours we were in Torres del Rio and totally surprised as it seemed like we’d just left, time had no meaning.

We walked up through the town to our Albergue La Pata de Oca. We were out into a small comfortable stone room of four beds, facilities were minimal but clean… the shower requires you to push the button for water and doesn’t really regulate the temperature. I was lazy and opted not to shower my Smartwool black long sleeve didn’t smell and had dried completely, I love this thing! I went down to the fancier Albergue and had some wine at the bar and did a little reorganizing. It seemed we got here too early because dinner is not until 7 at all of these places! We bought some chips and had some beer at our Albergue waiting for dinner and were gifted some delicious mussels to tide us over. Finally after a short catnap it was 7.

We were sort of over the menus and so we asked about the special Chuleton, a huge slab of beef, market price. The folks at Pata de Oca seemed excited, in addition to the bar folk who were all locals, we were literally the only tourists in the place. I was a bit concerned about the temperature, you don’t want to overlook such an amazing piece of meat, it came out trembling and sizzling on a burning hot dish, a perfect rare. Chef and bartender Paco Mata sliced up the steak for us and we were able to cook it to our liking on the hot plate. We were also served a bottled Rioja, well actually two, and some herbal liqueur after dinner and some rose. It was absolutely delicious, quite the feast. Suzy played a song after dinner and we slept like rocks! We felt very warmly received in this town, the locals were so kind and I think a lot of people miss out on this town!

We have another rainy day ahead but we are heading to Logrono where we will have delicious tapas.

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