Leaving villa mayor yesterday, my plan was to stay in an aubergue in Torres del rio. However, as usual, this plan was to change. Mark and Elise had left much earlier than me, so had Julie the born again budist from Canada and Otto a crazy man from Dresden who couldn't speak any English.
Due to the tough day I had had yesterday, i decided to take a lie in, so got out of bed at 6 30am. I had actually been woken up much earlier by the snoring Hungarian sisters and Rody the mad packer from Bulgaria.
After breakfast i set off down the hill towards Los Arcos about a 7 mile walk. Much of the terrain during this part of the stage was flat. So flat in fact that i thought I could see Los acros, but I was probably just hallucinating. I passed field upon field of what looked like strawberries. It was quiet, the birds were singing and the air was sweet and clear, with just the faintest hint of dung.
I stopped in Los Arcos , essentially a cross roads town ie a place were about three camino routes converge coming up from the south of Spain. The tapas bar I picked filled the spot for me as did the freshly squeezed orange juice, 'zuma'. There outside fiddling with his bag straps was Otto of Dresden. I had seen him way off I'm the distance. He was very slow but absolutely relentless in typical German fashion. He couldn't speak any English so I tried some German. To my astonishment he could understand me and we even managed to make each other laugh, though he may have been laughing at my accent and the constant use of ' machen Sie' somewhat in the style of Bridget Jones on skiing holiday in Austria.
I think I may have swallowed a babble fish somewhere between here and St jean because I have been speaking German, French ,Italian and even some Spanish, enough to get myself understood that is, which is what matters.
I arrived in Torres after I had been walking on my own for miles. It was so lonely that i decided some music was in order. Unfortunately my blasted iPod that had been untouched up to now was out of charge, go figure , I thought to myself and cursed technology. Torres was dead and the only albergue open was a dive, so I made the decision, not an easy one , to continue another 11kms to the next town. Viana Iglesias de Santa Maria was the name of the church and as usual the best albergue was next door. The notorious Cesare Borgia has his tomb here, in the church that is, not the albergue. My assigned bed facilities hit a new record for me in terms of novelty value in that I was on the third tier bunk, practically reaching the ceiling. The fact that I was even able to get on to it was perhaps a testament to my ever increasing fitness. I heard a Scottish accent, it was Rob an editor for the financial times who lives in London with his girlfriend. I knew this because I'd briefly met him at supper the night before. I must add at this stage that this was a pretty amazing coincidence given that there was a choice of 4 albergues in Viana and 60 beds in this one.
I just need to mention the wandering hippy kids just out of uni that keep cropping up at random. Kirsty and Nature from Aberdeen uni had decided to bypass the whole albergue routine to sleep and cook under the stars. They w ere becoming a bit of a talking point amongst the bone fide pilgrims. I had been really glad of their entertaining company on the last stretch to Viana. It had been beginning to get dark because of the thundery sky, there was no one in sight and I was starting to worry about getting lost. Just as the book says' the camino will provide' and indeed it did with these two turning up I need not have worried. They were really sweet kids, mad, but kind. They gave me some of their cherries and Nature explained his recipe for supper al fresco. I almost felt like joining them instead.