Thursday, September 6, 2012

Los Arcos to Viana (Wed Sep 5)

Breakfast at Los Arcos was as basic as the room. The common eating area had several long tables and in the middle of each was a tray of a selection of solid sliced bread, jars of jams and sachets of butter.  No one went hungry.

The next town of Sansol was only a short distance away once again on a hilltop, but it was an obligatory stop since we were craving for proper coffee. Only another kilometre away, steeply down a slope, over a bridge and narrow river, and up again a steep walking track was Torres del Rio. This next village was in a losing attempt to compete for business no doubt because few could wait for the pointless descent and then ascent for the coffee there regardless of the reputation of the barista. Perhaps some required another cup of coffee but the bar was deserted.

Nothing else was life supporting beyond that village until Viana, a distance of 18 km from Los Arcos where we started. On the guidebooks, it was an easy flat terrain, but it must be a Spanish approximation because there were a few steep climbs and descents; the hike was made ever more uncomfortable as the sun shone instead of cloudiness as forecast.  (Spanish weather forecast can be as questionable as ours, oops Deryn, sorry, I think yours are much better).

Towards the last 5 km or so, K began to experience great discomfort somewhere on her shin.  That put a whole new dimension to the challenges before us.  What are we to do?  We struggled into Viana, the last town of the province of Navarra and found the casa we booked, with the help of my phone GPS! We had a basic room overlooking the casa mayor (the main street) that came with shower facilities but communal toilets,   The room was right above the hotel bar and we could hear every word of the Spanish chitchats below, but not understand any.  Luckily the room came with double glazed windows that cut out the noise.  In this autumnal heat, that must be the only reason for the double glazing.

We have learnt that the Spaniards are helpful and like taking to us. Out of politeless we usually listen attentively, which they mistook to be serious comprehension while all the time we were struggling to pick up individual words that we could possibly understand.  They have not learnt the art of single word summaries that the Singaporeans and other SE Asians practice.  Like my sister BL's domestic help who seriously advised K that ´one week come back cannot, have courage´.

It was no wonder that we found special connections with English speakers, including the three friendly Yanks whom we came across several times in some small towns and some bigger ones. 

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