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Puente La Reina to Estella.

Above you can see a Roman bridge that we crossed over today, connected to a section of Roman road that was actually in surprisingly good shape for something so ancient. (Actually in better shape than plenty of much more modern Michigan roads…)

Today was the first day that we lost each other, although el novio and I have been walking at our own pace most days – often together, sometimes apart. As usual, I began to lag behind as the afternoon heated up, and thought I would catch up in Estella. However, when I got there I was turned away from an albergue for the first time – the city-run municipal facility was already full, and my partner in crime was nowhere in sight. It turns out that I had accidentally passed him up when he had gone into an old church along the way, but I had a few flustered moments until a friendly local found me, caught sight of mi novio, flagged him down, and nearly dragged us both over another picturesque bridge to the parochial (church-run) albergue. There we were greeted by an American flag hanging over the door – traveling without watches, cell phones, or any other time markers other than church bells, we had completely forgotten that it was the 4th of July. As it turned out, one of the hospitaleros (the volunteers in charge of pilgrim albergues) was from Seattle, and we were the three token Americans at a genuine 4th of July barbecue with all the other pilgrims.

Truth be told, it was a fairly Spanish-ized celebration of an American holiday – although we had a grill, burgers, and all the fixin’s, the hot dogs were definitely Spanish sausages and the menu included gazpacho and sangria. (But no complaints here.)

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