To Belorado

I’m not numbering the posts by day anymore, mainly because I have no idea what day it is. How long have I been away from home now? I can’t even remember. London and Saint Jean feel like a month ago, but I know that’s not right. I keep telling myself “last week”…

So I realize that I really let the snoring thing get to me. I allowed myself to get into a funk, plus my blistered little toe is just killing me. I basically flew down the trails through Rioja and I’m already in the next province/state.

Well that was fast! The Camino cuts through a very tiny part of Rioja anyways but still…

Next to the “welcome to Castilla y Leon” sign was this helpful graphic. Shoot me now.

I think one of the issues is that every time I sit and get off my feet, it feels like the blisters fill again. My answer to that today was to never stop and sit for more than five minutes. Am I screwing myself more in the end? Perhaps. But I managed to cover a lot of miles today by not taking a break.

I also felt like I was racing the sun.

I did get a lot of sun today, and even had to put on sunblock when it moved above my head and my hat no longer protected me. Friends who know me personally know how much I hate wearing my sunblock: I am allergic to all chemicals on my skin, therefore my sunblock is the hippie drippy organic stuff with titanium/zinc oxide, and it rests on top of my skin creating a physical barrier. That also means that I tend to look ghostly white, and when I sweat it creates a white mud that drips off of my face. I hate that stuff and only put it on when absolutely necessary. Today was absolutely necessary. I will say the long sleeve quick-dry jogging shirt that I bought in the sporting goods store in Estrella was an excellent purchase. That shirt may become my most prized piece of gear.

It is supposed to be in the mid to upper 70s for the next few days – not exactly a heat wave for this area, but definitely late June early July weather for this sun-fearing Seattle girl. I already miss the rain.

I found kindness on the Camino again today.

I really cannot tell you the names of the towns I walked through since they all seemed to be similar. But I will tell you the name of this gentleman is Ernesto. He runs an albergue in one of the tiny villages in which I was looking for a bar (I needed to use the restroom so I was prepared to get a shot of espresso). There was a sign in front of his door listing “coffee bread snacks,” so I popped in thinking it was a bar. Turns out he just had a spread of breads and jam, instant coffee, and fruit on a big table in the living room, and he was taking donations allowing pilgrims to help themselves. He does it because there’s nothing open in the village, and he said I wouldn’t find anything for another 6 km. It was so sweet!

Two slices of baguette with butter and strawberry jam, use of banos, and very friendly conversation. Turns out he and his wife also run an internet radio station specifically for the Camino.

As I was leaving, he asked me where I stayed last night. I told him I stayed in a pension because I was making enemies in the albergues with my snoring. I meant for it to be a joke, but he gave me this huge, tight bear hug for a good 20 or 30 seconds and told me it was all right. I was loved. Oh my god.

Gracias, Senor Ernesto!

Here’s the wonderful 13th s church in Ernesto’s village (open to the public! A rarity!). Note that it still has wide plank wood floors. The lights were off so I hope you can see the pics ok.

Look Bonnie! Gold!

Here are some shots of the view today. It has all kind of blended in my head. I think the first one is a field of broccoli allowed to flower. Sure looks like what’s in my garden when I try to grow broccoli. πŸ₯¦

My God! Where am I?

Second act of kindness was a truck advertising an albergue by driving along the Camino passing out bottles of water. After that day of hell between Valcarlos and Roncesvalles, I’m always afraid of running out of water … and many of the village fountains had signs that said “non potable” today. I was very happy to accept the water.

Once I started drinking it though I realized I didn’t have a way to carry it without taking off my backpack (my pack doesn’t have any side nooks or pockets easily accessible). Taking my pack on and off is such an ordeal because of how much stuff I have clipped to straps on the front and back (bag with my phone, water bottle, etc), and I’m on the side of a major highway.

Oh look, someone else ditched theirs.

I’m just stunned by the litter pilgrims leave on the trail since the Pyrenees. Now I have two bottles to schlep to the next town, so the pack came off on the side of the highway.

I walked behind this man for about three miles. He was pulling an overloaded cart behind him and had these three (somewhat ill-tempered) dogs with him. They just followed him along, only pausing to growl or bark at other pilgrims. This may be the first time on the Camino I DIDN’T want to pet a dog.

This is what the last five miles looked like.

The hotel I found on Booking.com last night is also an albergue and it’s just outside of town. Unfortunately the sun is so intense and my feet hurt, so I’m staying put at this little albergue/hotel complex (in the furthest interior corner away from the UV coming through the windows). They are really trying to appeal to a younger crowd here, including a pool table. I think I’m going to shoot some pool solo tonight and think about how much I miss playing with my husband.

Adios!

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