06 Thunder & Lightning, Very Very Frightening…

I had  great sleep in the quasi-private room. Actually made It to sleep at 8:30 pm and woke put around 6:30. A perfect start to the day.

The weather forecast called for rain in the morning….but nothing much. I poked my nose outside. It had been raining but it appeared to be over. After packing and just before actually hitting the road I stopped in a bakery in Fuente la Reina for freshly squeezed orange juice.

After this slight pause in my progress I motored on. My first objective was to get a picture of a famous bridge the people of this town were so proud of. This bridge is a six arch bridge originally built around 1130AD, and is a popular photo opp for everyone on the Camino. Last time I was here I crossed this bridge in the dark at 6:30am. Determined not to miss this again I made sure to pass by in the daylight. It is truly a magnificent structure, elegantly spanning the Arga River. You may remember the River Arga from my walk previously where the river was much smaller. Now the river has swollen to be a full size river.

After taking a photo or two it was time to head out. That’s precisely when I notice the lighting and thunder. I exchanged a couple of comments with some other pilgrims close at hand….”do you think it’s going to….”

Didn’t have a chance to finish the sentence when the skies opened up. Scrambling to pull or rain great from our packs it must have appeared like a bit of a comedy routine. It is necessary to remove your pack to bet your rain gear, then put your pack back on, the donn your gear on top of you and your pack. (In my case this is a poncho)

Of course you get soaked during this transformation…..and I was. We all were. The rain was quite heavy and the lighting strikes were feeling quite close. I was able to count to 12 most times between seeing the lightning flash, and hearing the thunder……indicating the lighting strike was about 12 miles away. (I have used this formula since living in the country….I’m sure there is a metric equivalent…but I wasn’t in much of a mood to look this up)  As long as the lighting stayed more than 5 km away I felt safe enough to continue. My rough calculation was something in the order of a about a 4 or 5 second delay was the “head for cover” alarm.

The rain continued without compassion for the poor Pilgrim as we all faced a substantIal climb out of the valley cut by the River Arga. First thing in the morning….I call this the widow maker. On it’s own it is a tough climb…but the rain made the part slippery and very difficult.

Before Lorca there are some exception Roman Roads I wanted to see. In the rain the roads were treacherous at best. I’m thinking the Spanish Government should ask the Italian Government to come and repair their roads. These things have fallen into disrepair. And to think these were the very roads the Roman armies traveled on with their troops and elephants. Amazing.

The rain did abate finally around 12 and I could take of my poncho. It is my custom to change may socks half way through the day to avoid blisters. When Intook my boots off my socks were soaked. Nasty. I changed my socks, and quite honestly my feet were still fine…but it is only a matter of time when your feet get wet.

i was trying to decide as I was walking if I should stop in Villtuarte, about an hour shy of Estella or carry on. I had read in a guide about a private Albergue getting rave reviews. As I came into Villtuarte I met an American couple. I asked if they were staying in Casa Magical Albergue and they said yes. They enjoyed it so much they decided to spend an extra day in this Albergue.

That was it. My walking fate was sealed. I would be staying at Casa Magica Albergue. This place turns out to be wonderful in every respect. It is run by a husband and wife….so friendly. The courtyard is to die for.

After checking in, having a shower and finally going to be social I discovered a woman Tracey from Australia with brutal blister problems. She is under a doctors care and has been told to stay off her feet for at least 2 days. I finally convinced her to book a hotel in Lagrono and urge her to continue recovering. She should be able to continue walking at some point, joining her friends.

Then I met Gabriel from Argentina…he has gaping broken blisters on both heels of his feet. Obviously walking in a lot of pain. Everyone tries to encourage him to go to the local doctor.

I am quite sure he will not go to the doctor.

Today was a day to meet and talk to people. I walked quite a way with Tim from Oregon, Anne from BC, Laura and Gary from England, another Laura walking with her daughter-in-law, Wanda from Pennsylvania, and Ariela from Victoria…….

Tonight we will have a big communal meal…. vegetarian palella. Our chef is preparing it now and the smell of the spices have infused throughout the Albergue.