The rain in Maneru reminded me of the Panama during the rainy season.
Maneru is a little town on the side of the hill between Puenta de la Reina and Estella. Truly on the side of a hill. The roads into and through the town go steeply up and down.
It was noon and I was trapped in town. The rain racing down the street was rushing swiftly past me. Items that had been left outside were gone in a flash, to be found a kilometer down the hill in the mud. I had taken refuge under an old stone arch leading out of town but the water was rising in the narrow v-shaped street as the rain increased.
I edged closer and closer to the wall of the arch, hoping the rain would diminish before it reached my boots. My boots were already covered in mud.
My left foot is Fred. My right, Ethel. They are not happy.
They are tired and wet and blistered. They want a massage.
I decided there and then that Estella, the next town, would be a two day stop. I needed to dry out. I needed dry clothes. I needed a good night’s sleep.
I had 18 kilometers to go and painfully made my way on the Camino as soon as the rain slowed.
Finally, I made my way through the cars and buildings to the plaza of the town
I asked a resident where the tourist office was.
“The is no tourist office here. You have to go into Estella, about 5 kilometers from here,” she said.
My face did not betray my feeling as I faced the reality that this charming town was not Estella. I still had 5 kilometers to go.
I did get to Estella, a very pretty town, in time to find the tourist office closed for siesta for the next two hours. After a long, slow, cafe con leche, I returned to the tourist office and they found a perfect pension for me.
The owner saw my bedraggled appearance, handed me some keys, and told me to go upstairs and go to sleep. No register? No signing anything? Nope, she told me to go to bed. She made a point to tell me that I could take the elevator up the flight of stairs to my room. I did.
I had a double for the price of a single, with my own bathroom. I took a shower, my dirty clothes piled in a nasty heap on the floor. It was 5 p.m. and I threw some lovely warm blankets over myself and took a nap.
I woke six hours later at 2 a.m. I turned off the lights and fell back into a deep sleep.