Compared to the dreary day before, this one was glorious! Warm and sunny.
First, my knee ached badly, so we stopped so I could wrap it with an ace bandage. Some Spanish guys saw me, and one of them who also had his knee wrapped offered me some anti-inflammatory pills. Now, I don't usually take pills from strangers, but I was desperate, and they were still in their original packaging. A little while later, I felt great!
We stopped in Lorca at a great albergue/bar where we got fruit, chips, coca-cola and used the FREE internet.
Later in the afternoon, while we were debating making a pit stop or charging on to our destination, we came across a young American guy sat on the side of a road under an overpass. We greeted each other and decided to rest awhile with him. He told us about his journey so far, which had already been three times as long as ours and involved getting a sprained ankle and shooting off an emergency flare before a fellow pilgrim assisted him. His pack was filled to the brim, he was mostly doing this at the urging of his parents, and generally seemed pretty sad and unhappy with the Camino. We walked together a little while, and when he asked us to stop with him at the next town, we decided to part ways. Our itinerary was pretty strict since we weren't the fastest walkers ourselves and we had flights to catch at the end of the month. Later on, we both confided our guilt at leaving him behind.... maybe we could have convinced him to walk just a few more miles to the next town ... but oh well.
So there are Camino Lessons #5 and #6: Ultimately, everyone has to walk their own journey, and.... it could always be worse!
The hostel in Estella was a really cool place run by the regional association of people with developmental disabilities. It was comfortable with clean facilities, a laundry service (for a small price) and a bunk room.
Dinner was gluten-free pasta with more TVP-tomato sauce and nutritional yeast. We had a hard time tracking down vegetables in the smaller villages because, as one shopkeeper told us, it was the start of the off-season (October) and most places really only stocked produce for the pilgrims. The townspeople grew their own stuff! Also, village life is very relaxed and businesses tend to close for a few hours at lunch and then again in the early evening.