Today´s forecast is for rain and possible thunder storms with lightning. We have already decided this is the day to send our bags on and carry only a day pack. (the daypack weighs about 1/2 of the regular pack after you’ve added the water)
One note. Dinner was exceptional last night. This is simply one of the best Pilgrim Menu´s we have had to date. Best of all it was served upstairs in Cuatro Cantones, our Albergue. Highly recommended.
As Bene had spent the night in a different Albergue so we arranged to wait for her to come over to our place before heading out of Belorado. We stayed the night in a somewhat smaller place with 32 bunks in a very small room. The showers are in an open space, although they have doors to provide some privacy.
Our path out of town is largely uphill until the last section which is described as a gentle downhill run into St. Juan de Ortega. I was hurting from the previous day but both Susan and Bene were feeling quite good. (especially Bene) The route today is actually seeming to be quite manageable. A lot up upgrade sections that will at some point start to affect my right hip. I have to leave the main group, concentrate on the walk and power though the difficult time…and I am able to do this, but it isn’t something I would describe as fun. One of the sections we stopped to have lunch turned out to be the site a mass grave from the Spanish Civil War. Many bodies were found buried on the top of the mountain in mass graves, the majority of the murdered were originally rounded up in Burgos. There were two grave sites in this one spot. An absolutely beautiful location surrounded by trees and hilltops. Then to find this…..the whole area was suddenly shaded with a deeply solemn feeling. History is still so alive.
Our route took us over the mountain range and directly through mud soaked paths. The mud is heavy and red, blanketing the path in many areas. The mud starts to collect on our boots from time to time. Not enough to make you walk like Frankenstein, just enough to bother you psychologically.
At a truck stop I must have taken my Brierley’s Guide out of my pack and failed to put it back. A bit later during the walk I discovered I had left it behind. Crap! This was incredibly dumb, and although some may say it IS like me, I think it is incredibly UNLIKE me.
So far the rain has held off but finally after leaving the truck stop we are forced to pull out our rain gear.
Our entry to St. Juan de Ortega is in the rain… but as this is happening in the dying minutes of the day’s walk; we are not really affected too much by it’s arrival.
Now here´s the best part of the day. Someone had found my guide and carried it to the one Albergue in town. (there is only one place to sleep in St. Juan de Ortega) My guide, with my name on it, was sitting on the table In the entrance of the Albergue. Pilgrims are the greatest people.
Now, here the scoop you need to know about St. Juan de Ortega.
The Albergue is an old monestary, it smells like it, it looks like it…. it is…(smells like a duck, looks like a duck…. it´s a duck) There is nothing new about this place…..nothing. The church, a part of the monastery we will be sleeping in, was used as storage for hay (or straw) for many years. This inadvertently protected and preserved this now historic building.
By the time I check in the only bunks left are on the top and there are not ladders to get into the bunks. This should be interesting….. Dinner may be another experience all together… There is only one place to eat dinner too. It appears they can sit 25 people at a time…..ouch.
Seeing as there are roughly 150 people in this Albergue, and no other dining options, this should be interesting.