The plan was to walk to St. Juan de Ortega, but we ended up in Ages – 3.6km further ahead (more about this later in today’s journal)

What a day!

It took me much longer this morning to get ready … a lot more plasters needed to go on all my blisters and then the patch with the voltaren gel had to go on my leg. It was still dark when we opened the doors of the albergue to start with today’s walking.

And then it happened … we missed an arrow in the dark and got on the wrong path! After about 2.5km Berto said he’s pretty sure we’re going in the wrong direction, so we turned around and walked all the way back to Belorado.

By now, the sun just came up and we could see the tiny yellow arrow at the bottom of the bridge that we missed earlier … oh my, we just walked an additional 5km … and this, on a day that I could barely walk!


Early morning – on the wrong road, but nevertheless a beautiful river scene

This was the first (and last time) that we got it wrong on the Camino. We would, from here onwards, watched out carefully for the (also hidden) yellow arrows to make sure we stay on the right pathway.


Church outside Tosantos

It was an overcast day with a cold wind that caught us on the open road between the farm fields.


Farm road between Belorado and Tosantos


This colourful albergue in Tosantos caught my eye

The rest of the road up to Villafranca de Montes de Oca was literally a blur for me … I had such pain in my leg (it was so severe that I did not even felt my painful blisters). I really struggled and every step was a challenge. As we entered the town of Villafranca de Montes de Oca, Berto has walked straight to the nearest bar and asked the guy behind the counter to phone a taxi for me … I did not even argue, because I just knew I had it for the day. Berto studied our route this morning before we left and realised that there was a steep climb ahead and that I would definitely not be able to walk to San Juan de Ortega in my (pain staking) condition.

Lesson learnedListen to your husband

We agreed to meet each other in front of the church in San Juan de Ortega where we would overnight. At the steep price of €25, it took the taxi only 10 minutes to cover the 12km to San Juan de Ortega.

When I got to San Juan de Ortega, the lady at the albergue informed me they only take cash. Oh my, our last cash in my purse went to the taxi! And San Juan de Ortega is not even a village – it’s basically a church with a few houses (without an ATM). That meant we had to walk a further 3.6km to Ages … after this morning’s extra 5km, this day was now getting VERY long!

I had a few cents left in my purse and decided that can go towards a cup of coffee to warm up – and hoping for some extra energy for what was laying ahead. I went to sit on a bench in front of the church where I watched all the pilgrims coming into town. I saw many familiar faces and each of them stopped for a while to ask how I was doing and to encourage me to keep going.

Lesson learnedNever be too busy to encourage somebody else – I learned today that it makes a difference when YOU are the one in need for some encouraging words


Church in San Juan de Ortega

While I was sitting in front of the church in San Juan de Ortega, I sent a message to my friends back in South Africa to keep me in their thoughts. It was the perfect time for me to be quiet and pray that I will be able to continue walking.

When Berto came to me and realised that we had to walk further to Ages, he just took my backpack and started walking. I followed slowly…and for the first time wondered if I was going to complete my Camino.

About 1km further, I got the most excruciating pain in my leg and bent over in agony. When I got up, the pain was gone – magically just gone. I took my backpack from Berto and walked the last 2.5km to Ages without any pain!

Suddenly the sun appeared and it was the most beautiful walk to Ages. And then, a wonderful sight – Ages awaiting!

As we walked into the Municipal Albergue in Ages, it was with relief that they informed us they do accept both cards and cash. We were now in such good spirit and paid for our beds and dinner in their restaurant. I still remember the cauliflower I had that evening, it was the best ever 😁.

Our dinner at the Municipal Albergue

It was only the two of us, as well as our pilgrim friend, John from Ireland, that slept in the albergue. The rest of the pilgrims probably stayed in San Juan de Ortega or continued to Atapeurca – a further 2.5km down the road.

A day that started as the hardest walk of my Camino ended in what I can only describe as a miracle.


8 thoughts on “CAMINO FRANCES – DAY 8

  1. Sounds agonising and that detour didn’t help. What was wrong with your leg? Strain? Muscle tear? As you say, a miracle at the end and I would certainly have gone for that cauli (one of my favourite veggies) although the pasta looks pretty good too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, we think it was a muscle strain which must have happened on the first day already (on a long downhill) … at least I’ve held no consequences after that walk.
      I LOVE cauli (and pasta) – but that’s the beauty of being two together, we share and that way we can taste both dishes!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A great way to be and something that gets me, especially in Asia as they do not really get the concept of the solo diner. I I order one main dish and rice it comes in a portion size that is intended as part of a feast for ten!

        It is the same in most of Southern and Eastern Europe, the concept of one person eating alone is just alien to them, eating is a shared experience.

        Dammit, I just told you I was gong to stop going on about cooking.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I’ve seen some of that portions in Asia on your blog … huge! It’s the same here in South Africa – meat loving nation – and in restaurants you will always have your plate filled to edge with food!

        Liked by 1 person

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