Day 13- Los Arcos to Viana

Walked- Today: 5.4mi/Camino 2022: 79 mi

From Los Arcos for the first 3 miles

We began again at daybreak, and walked in a straight line with only slight variations in elevation. The scenery also did not vary. The dirt path finally made a few curves before merging with the pavement as we walked into Sansol, pop. 100.

It’s easy to forget to look behind us for beautiful skies like this
Finally, a break from walking in a straight line
…. then, on pavement for a mile or so, to Sansol

On the outskirts of Sansol, we were saddened to see a favorite stopping place had become one of the many casualties of the pandemic too frequently observed thus far for Camino 2022.

a favorite breakfast stop in 2017 and 2019, an apparent casualty of pandemic.

We continued on to the next small village of Torres del Rio, pop. 122, where we got breakfast and concluded our walk for the day.

approaching Torres del Rio and the steep climb through the village

The 6 mile stretch from Torres del Rio is know as the “ knee wrecker”. It is aptly named, based on our personal experience walking it in 2014 and 2017. We used a taxi to bypass it in 2019 and we plan to use a bus to skip it today. We used La Pata de Oca albergue as our base, while waiting for the 11:35 bus to transport us into Viana, where we will spend the night.

We stayed here in 2017, and used it as a breakfast stop while waiting for the 11:35 bus to Viana.
an interesting pilgrim, pulling a cart and walking with her canine partner
Linda, lounging by the “pool” waiting for the bus

At the bus stop, we met two other pilgrims (Phillip, from Texas and Lora, from Germany) who had similar ideas about the “knee wrecker”. They both had previous experiences walking the Camino. Phillip was nursing some blisters and Lora was recovering from heat stroke, suffered a few days earlier. We rode the bus to Viana together, then parted with Phillip going on to Logroño and Lora meeting some other German friends in Viana or Logtoño.

with our new Texas and German friends waiting for the bus to Viana.

We walked a short distance from the Viana bus stop to our guesthouse, San Pedro, checked in and return to the Viana Calle Mayor (main street) to have a pilgrim menu for lunch before beginning our routine afternoon chores. We were entertained by hundreds of Viana locals enjoying Sunday afternoon socializing, spontaneous outbursts of music and song, plus the constant flow of pilgrims either joining in or moving on to Logroño

Santa Maria de la Asunción, built 1250-1312, rises up majestically on the main street of Viana, a town of 3,500 inhabitants on the border with La Rioja. Standing up on a hill to defend Navarre against Castile, it is the last town on the Camino Frances in Navarre.
first course, pilgrim dinner
second coarse, pilgrim (forgot to take photo before “ digging” in!)
Sunday socializing among Viana locals and pilgrims … on the Camino.

We returned to our room, doing our usual, then returned at 6:00 to the now, abandoned streets to grab a couple of pintxos and wine for a snack meal, then calling it another day on the Camino 2022.

Day 12- Villamayor de Monjardin to Los Arcos

Walked- Today: 7.8mi/Camino 2022: 74mi

We left Villamayor de Monjardin at 6:45 with the stars still out and the temperature, a delightfully refreshing 52F. The nearly 8 miles walk to Los Arcos is without any services, ie., no water, no food and no rest areas.

There were a few hills that broke the monotony of the mostly flat, dirt road that carved its way among an occasional green patch of grapevines, olive trees or asparagus plants.

At one point, about 5 miles into the walk, as we were dragging up one of the steeper hills we observed a small rock in the middle of the path … which urged us onward.

Inspirational pilgrim “rock graffiti”

We walked past a “hay stack“, which is typical of the area, but still awesome, every time we see one.

Huge stacks of huge bales of hay

The challenge of today’s walk was to not get discouraged by the seemingly endless distances ahead of us most of the way.

Never ending path through the hay fields
At this point we pondered, as in Caminos past, the idea of walking the diagonal (hypotenuse) across the hay field rather than follow the two legs of the road… but opted again to stick to the road.
Walking into Arcos

We got to Los Arcos about 10:30 and found an empty table in the village square and rested our bodies a few minutes, before having some breakfast. Check-in time for our room was noon, so we hung out in the square until then,

a late breakfast in a Los Arcos plaza

To occupy some of the “ wait” time, we visited the church on the square, the Iglesia de Santa Maria de la Asunción. It’s one of our favorite churches on the Camino.

Iglesia de Santa Maria de Asunción
Sanctuary and Retablo
Santiago ( Saint James, the Apostle)

We checked-in to our room at 12:30 , then shortly after returned to the plaza for lunch… since all other restaurants won’t be serving meals until 7:30. We returned to our room, did our chores, blogged, read and had our “ backup” sandwiches ( prepared last night in our kitchen) for a light supper before retiring for the evening.