Although I was incredibly sore, when I woke up on day 3 I felt in my bones that it was going to be a good day.
There was a beautiful sunrise:
Some beautiful old buildings:
And. What is this? We passed right by a bodega.
It wasn't just some everyday bodega though. There was...
And even though it was not even 8am, well, I wanted to reach Santiago with fuerza y vitalidad. So I downed the water in my spare bottle of water and had a sip. I'm no wine connoisseur, but the wine was fantastic--and, as we were told repeatedly, good for sore muscles!
Just a little bit later we came upon a split in the Camino. Periodically the Camino would branch in 2 different directions. The distances were more or less the same, but the right route went through several towns whereas the left route was all countryside. It was written up as "stunningly beautiful countryside" so I broke from the group and took the left route.
It turned out to be a great choice because it was mostly...shaded! Which in the 95 degree heat we had that week was a huge plus.
It was also pretty secluded. I had the entire trail to myself. Then out of nowhere someone said hello from right behind me. It was Karl from Vienna! Even though he walked quite fast we ended up walking together for most of the day.
And the countryside was indeed stunning.
From here we sat and had a little sit-down, shared our snacks, and enjoyed the view.
Eventually the two branches met back up and the Camino flattened out. We joked as we saw each person because I would run through my mental file to try to recognize them from a distance. (Red backpack...red backpack...oh it's Michelle! Grey shorts...grey shorts...It's Roberto!) A few hours later we found the single tree, sat in the shade and had a feeding of the five thousand-esque snack time as we all shared what we had and ended up with a feast of cereal bars, dried fruit, cookies, nuts, etc. Even though we were made up of a French, an Italian, an Austrian, and an American and we didn't speak too much of each other's languages, it was surprisingly nice.
We finally made it to Los Arcos. Unfortunately I made the mistake of waiting around to eat and then had to wait for all the kitchens to reopen at 7:30 or 8.
When the kitchens finally opened, it was worth the wait. I walked down into the bodega where the dining room was and saw three of my friends from Puente La Reina. We had one of the best pilgrim "menus" of the trip and some delicious homemade flan.
Good company and clean plates! (American, German, Brazilian and Hungarian)
A great day from start to finish!