78km Elciego to Estella
The heat is really sucking the energy from our bodies. Our distance today wasn’t anything special – more or less a normal day on the bikes – but we struggled to get to the campsite in Estella, feeling shattered by the time we finally got the tent up and ate, near 8pm. Although the mornings are cool, the heat mounts in the afternoon and it stays hot until the early evening. Happily the numerous fountains in every Spanish town and village bring relief. We filled our bottles several times and stopped twice to wet our hair and splash our bodies with cool water. We are hoping that France isn’t quite so warm, quite a change from our first few days back in Europe when we longed for the heat of Morocco!
Despite the heat, we weren’t alone in pushing our bodies in hot conditions. Our route followed the famous pilgrim trail to Santiago and although we were travelling away from the shrine instead of towards it with the pilgrims we counted 20 people walking to Santiago and at least half as many again on bicycles before we got to Estella. One, a German on a bicycle, stopped to chat with us for a few minutes. We asked him where the path to Santiago started and he said it began “wherever you are standing”. Throughout the day we enjoyed seeing numerous vineyards and bodegas and wandering through the narrow cobbled streets of Elciego and Laguardia. On a hot summer days these tiny lanes must be wonderfully cool. Between the pilgrims, the picturesque towns and the attraction of the wine region, it seems this area isn’t short of tourists.