DAY 8


BELORADO – AGES

4 APRIL

27.9km

We’ve actually planned to walk to St. Juan de Ortega, but ended up in Ages – 3.6km further ahead… more about this later in today’s journal 😟

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. We’ve once again left early – still dark when we’ve opened the doors of the albergue.

And then it happened … we’ve missed an arrow in the dark and got on the wrong path! After about 2.5km Berto said that he was not sure whether we’re going in the right direction and we’ve turned around and walked back towards Belorado.

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

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

This was the first (and last time) that we’ve got it wrong on the Camino. We would, from now one, look very carefully for the (also hidden) yellow arrows to make sure we stay on the right track 🙂

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Church outside Tosantos

It was an overcast day and there was a cold wind that caught us on the open tracks between the farm fields.

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Farm tracks between Belorado and Tosantos

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This colorful 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 feel my painful blisters). I really struggled along and every step was a challenge. As we’ve entered the town of Villafranca de Montes de Oca, Berto 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 knew I had it for the day. Berto 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’ve agreed to meet each other in front of the church in San Juan de Ortega where we’ve planned to sleep for the night. 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, I’ve learned that the albergue only take cash … and our last cash went to the taxi-man! That meant we had to walk a further 3.6km to Ages … after this morning’s extra 5km, this day is now getting VERY long!

I had a cup of coffee with my last cents to warm up – and hopeful for some extra energy for what was lying ahead. I went to sit on a bench in front of the church where I’ve watched all the pilgrims coming into town. I’ve seen some 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’ve learned today that it makes a difference when YOU are the one in need for some encouraging words

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Church in San Juan de Ortega

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

When Berto got to me and realised that we need to walk further to Ages, he just took my backpack and started walking. I was slowly hopping along … for the first time, wondering whether I will 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 – amazingly gone. I took my backpack from Berto and walked the last 2.5km to Ages!

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

As we’ve walked into the Municipal Albergue in Ages, it was with relief that we’ve heard they accepted 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 and John from Ireland that slept in the albergue. The rest of the pilgrims probably continued to Atapeurca – a further 2.5km.

A day that started out as the most difficult walk of my Camino, ended, in which can only be described as a miracle.

Categories: Camino Frances (April 2017)

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