My first real Albergue experience was very nice. No one else checked-in and I had the huge room with 20 beds to myself. Each bed has it's own power outlet and butted up against a deep shelf along the wall where everyone can put their gear. The lights for the room are on a timer and go off automatically. I chose a bed next to the bathroom because I could get the wifi signal. It was nice laying in bed and surfing the web.
In the morning, I was served a breakfast of coffee, eggs and fried ham that was so big I couldn't finish it. There was enough ham for 4 people. Breakfast, dinner and a bed for the night cost me 23e. The woman who runs the place was very warm and friendly. I'm always amazed at places that must see so many travelers and the owners still care for each person. I showed her my route on the tablet and she said I should take the Canal Imperial de Aragon instead. There is also a Camino but she said this would be much better. I would be able to ride on it almost the whole way into Tudela with no traffic.
I set out and found the canal easily. It was an unpaved road along an irrigation canal. It was very quiet except for the wind. This area of Spain I'm traveling through is in a valley and the wind gets funneled through it ferociously. The skies were blue and the wind is warm. No matter what time of year, this valley is always windy. It could be a whole lot worse as everyone says this November is unusually warm. I just happen to be going into the wind and will be riding with a headwind until I reach Pamplona. Pamplona is only a few more days ride and then I'll be heading in a southerly direction on the Camino de Santiago Frances.
I was also riding against the current of the canal which meant I was gently climbing. It was a slight 1-2% grade but putting that with the headwind and I was going very slowly. Luckily, I didn't have far to go today and had all day to get there. Even though the ride was quiet, at about the 12 mile mark I had enough of the unpaved road and also needed to get some food. I pulled into Ribaforada. Since it was Sunday the town was closed up tight except for one restaurant and it was a hub of activity. I pointed to some pinchos and ordered a cup of coffee. It was getting late in the afternoon and I decided to take a frontage road along the Autopista into Tudela.
I was headed to Tudela to stay with a Warm Showers host. This is a Warm showers host I had met before when we were both riding down the Pacific Coast route in California. We had ridden the Liggett hill together which is the biggest hill of the Pacific Coast route. Even though we didn't spend much time together we had shared a special experience that we both remembered vividly. It was very exciting to meet someone again from a ride I did many years ago.
I found my way to Silvia's apartment building and she showed me upstairs to my room where I stowed my gear. We were both very excited to see each other again commenting on how small the world felt. Then we took Myrtle to her dad's house to store while I was visiting. Silvia rode the trike and I walked along side. I met her whole family which was very nice. Then we walked to her boyfriend's house. He works as a chef in a fancy restaurant and made us an incredible dinner with fabulous wine. Even the presentation was special. The evening was super fun and very relaxed. It was 1 am by the time we walked back to Silvia's apartment and well passed my bedtime. This had been a full day and I was ready for bed.