Last night I headed across the road to a bar that offers early meals for hungry pilgrims. I finally got to taste the local white wine Txacoli which is poured out the same way as cider.

The same bar also opens early for breakfast and was full of pilgrims at 7am.Early on I started walking with Karen. I met her and husband Nigel a few days ago. Unfortunately he’s having back problems and is travelling by train and bus while Karen walks.

We walked together for a few hours up into the hills. Today there was a lot of climbing, about 1,000m.

Some naughty animal walked across the road before the cement dried!

Maybe it was a goat, or a human.

Whilst we’re on the subject of animals, here’s my study of a sheep with apple.

and dog with hydrangeas.

There were wonderful views as the camino headed inland.

Occasionally there were glimpses of tbe sea,

but mostly the views were of pine forests.

It rained last night so there was some mud to traverse.

Someone kindly had placed some pallets over a very muddy section.

Later, I caught up with the 4 guys from Madrid. Here they’re photographing some pine logs.

Later in the day, one of them developed knee problems and his mate carried two backpacks for some kilometers.

I also walked for a while with Mathias fron Austria as well as José and Lola again. At times there were quite a few pilgrims close together.

Here you can see a little of tbe climbing through the day.

I always love the wild flowers you find along the way.

An old farm house.

Hawks of some kind.

I arrived at Merkina at around 2pm.

This church at Merkina enclosed two giant rocks.

This is the normal end of the stage but I’d heard about a monastery about 6 kilometers further on that provide dinner and also make their own beer. The only problem was that their beds are limited.

When I got to the village of Bolibar just before the monastery, I ran into two Swiss ladies I’d met a few days ago, Rosemary and Heidi. They told me that the monastery albergue was full but a Dutch guy Nicko had found a room for 4 in a local private albergue, and here we are!

There’s no dinner available at the local bar but luckily there’s a vending machine and microwave.

We found out later that there was a funeral and the bar had been booked out.

The town is where the famous South American revolutionary Simon Bolivar came from.

An early night tonight after a long tiring day.