Mon 21 Sep - Day 7: Uterga to Estella 29km

115km walked, 670km left to walk. 

And I will walk 500 miles... And I can walk 500 more. I aimed for a longer distance today just to see how I kept up. 
Too easy ;-)

Except that I did get my first blister today. On my left hand. From the hiking pole. I half expected that may happen. I did bring gloves, but it was way too hot today to wear them. 

I was on my way at 7.30am as no breakfast was included in last nights albergue deal. A mandarin and plenty of water would do and the remaining breakfast later. 
Soon I came to an Autopista underpass where the always present politics / nationalism was yet again in play. A bit more direct graffiti this time. 
This was a cute pilgrim monument I think in the town of Obanos. 
It appeared that EU sponsored the artwork. 
I had to walk through that pilgrim portal. Mission accomplished with a selfie. 
Another beautiful day gave itself opportunity to some interesting photography along the way. 

Shadows. Long. 
Olive groves. I like olive groves a lot. 
Watering corn plants. 
I arrived in Puente La Reina for breakfast.  A morning cuppa, juice and a pan with a very nice cured ham in a busy cafe. 
Then I walked onto the bridge which gives the town its name. 
A peregrino... 
...standing by the bridge for peregrinos. 
Today was the day for Spanish walking companions. 

First, this is Berta from Madrid. Yes, she had a German name but she didn't want to elaborate. 
Berta used to be an air hostess for Iberia so her English was very good. A great opportunity for me to practice my Spanish when I had a "private" interpreter. 

The town is called Cirauqui. Another cute place. 
This planted world map just beyond Cirauqui almost brought a tear to my eye. Austraya!! The best country in the world to live in!! No debate!!
After a while alongside my walking companion I left Berta behind to cover some distance. 

There are quite a few of these memorials along the Camino. The cross below was for a Danish bloke who had died just here. Presumably from a heart attack or heat exhaustion (my guess). This cross was along a reasonably tough stretch of today's Camino. 
Is this another Roman aqueduct marvel? Doubt it. Segovia it ain't. Concrete it looked like. 
Fuentes / fountains. Most towns or villages seem to have one of them in Plaza Mayor or similar. A pilgrims relief. 
Today's "The Way" movie setting was these hay bales. This is where the gang encountered "Jack from Ireland" the first time. 
A donkey mask hung outside of a church in Villatuerta. There has to be a background story to this. Or just for a laugh?
The end of the Villatuerta civilization. 
Approaching today's destination Estella I chatted to the 2nd Spaniard today David who was also from Madrid. 

David had lived at Burleigh Heads, Queensland, Australia for 3 years so his English was also very good. We talked mostly football and Australia (he liked it a lot). 

Tonight's albergue in Estella was Anfas. 
ANFAS is a society for mentally handicapped persons so for a good cause. 

I got the 34th bed out of 35. Popular but probably because of price. 7€. No food included or offered. 

First time I have a top bunk bed on the Camino but in a corner tucked away from it all so not so bad. I am totally surrounded by Spanish young people only. 

I hand washed some clothes and they dried up in a very short time given the dry Spanish heat. 

I include a couple of final photos from Estella. A nice enough town although I didn't explore too much. Many towns and villages where the Camino cross have some lovely old stone bridges. 

A quiet evening for me. No dinner, only snacks, cold meat, cheese and fruit. 
No alcohol either. Probably the first night since I arrived in Europe totally sober. I needed to have a break. 

Tomorrow, of course, is another day.

Footnote: I saw lots of sunburnt people today. The sun was ferocious but many pilgrims still exposed lots of lily white body. I think that many will have problems getting to sleep tonight. 

I managed myself to get a little bit burnt on my left hand from holding the hiking pole. Right hand, away from the sun, was OK. More sun screen on hands tomorrow.   

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