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Camino de Santiago, Day 9: Lorca to Los Arcos

This was a long day we didn’t exactly plan for.

I was especially tired this morning for no obvious reason.  Dragging right out of the gate.  Our goal was to get to Villamayor de Monjardin.

On the way we passed an ancient church.  Inside there was nothing but a stone cross and altars, upon which notes were written on paper and rocks.  I wrote a note and left it to decay with the others.

After a few more miles, a delightful surprise, summed up in two words: Wine fountain!  A generous winery offers pilgrims free wine and water to be taken from taps outside the building.  As much as you want!  And it was good!

But truly, it was a blessing and a curse because after all that wine, I didn’t want to walk anymore!  A nap sounded about right.  But walk we did.

By the time we got to Villamayor de Monjardin (18 kilometers or 11 miles) all three of the pilgrim hostels were full.  It was 2 pm.  This happens sometimes and it’s made worse by pilgrims that take taxis (no joke) to the next town to ensure they get a bed.  I was calm and collected when I discovered that we were out of luck, despite the fact that I was exhausted.  Many pilgrims gathered in the plaza and called taxis to get to Los Arcos.  An American guy practically insisted that we share a taxi with him.  With anxiety all over his face, he told us that the road was all uphill to the next town.  He told us there was no water on the way.  He told us we wouldn’t get beds because we would arrive too late.  He told us we were crazy.  I told Jamie to go ahead and take a cab but I wasn’t going to.  After a coffee/beer to discuss the issue, he agreed to walk.  By the time we actually started walking it was 4 pm.

Camino de Santiago

Camino de Santiago

And on the walk, which incidentally was mostly all downhill, with plentiful water,  I realized that this was just another lesson from the Camino.  There will always be people who come into your life that operate in fear and anxiety.  It’s contagious, especially if you’re weak and/or tired.  I must fortify myself in life to avoid falling prey to the negativity and must eliminate those people from my life as quickly as possible.  And try to know what I believe in.  And not be afraid to take a stand.

On the way we walked through wheat fields and vineyards and the sunlight and temperature made the scenery spectacular.  Wheat grass blew in the wind like a green mink coat, looking so shiny and soft.  After walking and thinking and thinking and thinking I shouted to Jamie who was far ahead:

“This is my Camino and I’m gonna walk it!” <two minute pause> “I’ll be damned if I’m gonna jump in a taxi!”  <Three minute pause> “You don’t just jump in a taxi when the going gets rough!”

And then I felt angry at the people who were cheating pilgrims out of beds – the people who were ACTUALLY walking, by taking taxis.  And then, another lesson.  Everyone walks (or takes taxis!) on their OWN Camino.  I couldn’t live with myself if I did that but other people can.  And I can’t worry about them.  I have to focus on what I’m doing and continue to make decisions that are true and right for me, no matter what anyone else does.

We arrived in Los Arcos at 8 pm.  I was hobbling in pain.  There were plenty of places to stay.  We got the last two beds in the municipal hostel that they reserve for pilgrims that arrive late.  We met up again with Mark from Barcelona and had beers.  And all was good.  A beautiful, meaningful, and long day.

Walked 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) today.

Photos of the Day:



  1. Love your comments about fighting negativity. Inspirational.

  2. Your lessons of this day are so true but also so hard to remember sometimes. Thanks for reminding me of these things today.

    • Glad to remind! Thanks for commenting Paula!

  3. Better translation of top sign:
    If you want to get to Santiago with strength and vitality of this great wine, have a drink and a toast to felicidade (celebration)!

    • Thanks Douglas. I appreciate the translation. I’m not sure it gave us vitality but it was good!

  4. Translation of top sign near free wine fountain:
    Pilgrim! If you want to get strength and vitality of this great wine, have a drink and a toast to felicidade (celebration)!

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