Feb 8, 2018: Day IV

Route: Estella – Torres del Rio

Distance: 30 km (85 km)

It is Fat Thursday today in Poland, aka Paczki Day in North America. The thought of finding some pastry shop (panaderia) on the way to buy a donut and join my compatriots in this sweet, Polish tradition of eating donuts (pączki: in Polish) before the onset of Lent next week, gave me an extra boost in the morning. The day turned out to bring quite a few boosts.

One of them was waiting for me about 3 km from leaving the hostel. It was Irache Monastery with a vineyard offering free and unlimited wine for all the passing pilgrims.

Just take a look at the video attached below

Irache Monastery


Another support I received on the way today were numerous text messages from friends and family. This was so uplifting for me. Looking at the pictures alone this may all seem like a walk in the park but there is an obvious fatigue involved. Today, for example, I had over 600 meters ot total elevation gain. That’s like climbing two Eiffel towers with my backpack with some 12 kg in it. Thank you all for that!

After reaching my original destination of Los Arcos I admired the local architecture and was looking for both a panaderia and a place to stay. Finally I caugth sight of chocolate covered donuts in a window. I bought two just to reward myself for a long solo trek. After leaving the pastry shop I started devouring the first donut and make a selfie with it.

As I was enjoying this blissful moment I came across another pilgrim. He asked me if I was staying in the town for the night or continuing the walk. Feeling some extra strength from the donut I decided to join Henry, a hiker from Victoria Island in Canada. To celebrate the Paczki tradition I gave him my second donut. The next 8,5 km we walked together conversing occassionally along the way.

When we reached the next town of Torres del Rio it turned out there was only one hostel open there. The choice was simple. Since most of the walking pilgrims stay in Los Arcos we had the place to ourselves. So going the extra mile was well rewarded. We will sleep in much quiter room and now are enjoying a bottle of local wine.

Speaking about wine, tomorrow we are leaving the region of Navarra and entering the world-famous wine region of La Rioja.

Today’s stage did not look like a long one. Thanks to a number of boosts along the way I extended it from 21 to 30 km. What made it possible was good motivation, determination and good company.

Meditation III: Who is my God?

So I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus, and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit

1 Cor 12, 3

How many different gods do we all have in life, do I have … ? Career, success, recognition, i.e. Me, celebrities, gurus, masters, bosses, money, heroes, comfrot …anything but Him.

Any other thing but Him, when deified (treated as top priority), becomes eventually our curse, doesn’t?

O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you
Sw. Augustin

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