I left puente la rena and Daniel behind. Daniels knee had swollen to the size of one of the footballs he was used to playing with. Despite taking the advice from the Harvard doctor in the next door bunk to use an ice pack, it had not worked. We said our goodbyes, it was very sad,just because we had started out together from st jean. He knew he wasn't going to be able to do any walk ing without a good few days rest , despite sending on his humongous back pack on in advance.
The road out of puente la rena was nothing short of awesome. The colours were radiant in the blistering heat of the sun. So sharp and clear, I could have believed that maybe God had painted them on that morning.
I was walking on my own and started thinking about Daniel and how sad it was that this young man was so far from his home in San Paulo Brazil and had been planing this trip for years and now it was all messed up.
All of a sudden tears were flooding down my face. I was thinking of all the disappointments members of my family have had to endure over the years. I was probably also feeling a bit sorry for myself too,walking on my own for the first time really.
Something had happened to my body and I was making an impressive pace. My feet felt light as a feather and there were no aches or pains lurking either.
I don't know how it happened but i ended up talking to this tall very handsome man with a straw hat on. He turned out to be a nurse from California currently living in Germany with his girlfriend. Travelling on his own for a few months, his name was Brian.
We walked all the way to Estella together, about 10km from where we had met. By the time we got there we were both very hungry,so spent the next 10 minutes looking for a place to have lunch. I asked this old man sitting in his underpants by his open front door whether he knew where all the cafes were. I did this in Spanish just to show off a bit. Then mentioned to Brian that I had probably caught him by surprise given the state of his attire. Brian replied that to the contrary, the encounter had probably been the highlight of the mans day!
The cafe we found was great and it just so happened that Mark ( we met whilst simultaneously washing our underwear the night before) and his daughter Elise ( the harvard doctor) were there too. We had a fabulous lunch and chatted about the 'special relationship' between the states and uk.
At this stage Brian left us in search for a post office. He had been telling me earlier that he needed to post something off to his aunt in France who he was visiting after this trip. Mark ,Elise and I headed off in search of the next aubergue. Unfortunately we were all disappointed when we found it, essentially because it looked like a sports hall and was right in the middle of a housing estate on the edge of Estella. Once the man manager told us we couldn't look around without putting down our back packs, that was it for me and we were off to the next place.
To get to the next aubergue we had to pass the fountain of wine. I had read about this place and had always assumed it was a little joke played on trusting pilgrims, but it turned out to be the real deal! We were the only ones there when we got to it and so as not to empty my water camel, I used the shell attached to my pack to drink from. 10 whole shell slurps managed to numb any pain I was feeling and set me up for the road ahead.
Mark and Elise were faster than me and were being very generous hanging around with me. I think we made this unsaid agreement that as it was greeting late it would be better if they went ahead to get spaces in the next aubergue. They did just that and left me for dust.
It was an incredibly steep climb to Villa mayor and the sky looked menacing, ready to burst. I really wanted to avoid the rain, but my legs just weren't having any of it, I just couldn't go any faster.
When I reached the village the aubergue was just in site but required yet another steep climb, my heart sank. Just then ' vous etes d accord. Vous cherche l aubergue ' It was a man with a kind dazzling smile ,massive shoulders and no hair. I asked him in French whether there was any room in the aubergue. He said yes of course and at that point I was in floods of tears of relief. He insisted on carrying my rucksack for me, took it to the aubergue and then up the three flights of stairs to where I had been told my bed was for the night.
The room was lovely with an adjoining balcony that looked out over the valley below. There was the odd flash of lightening but the rain was somewhere else, the view was stunning.
This aubergue was run by Dutch Christians and for 20 euros I payed for a bed supper and breakfast in the morning.
Supper was delicious and filling and I was on a table with all the people I had met before, Mark, Elise and Nick from holland and Monsieur French saviour was sitting next to me!