The Spanish Angel
Day i´ve lost track - Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Belorado (22.9km)
A spanish angel visited me last night and healed my blistered feet. Okay that´s a little more glorious than it sounds...a volunteer comes each afternoon to the albergue at Santo Domingo and treats pilgrims feets for a donativo only. He popped those i hadnt popped, poured betadine all over them (yes i squeeled like a little girl, much to the delight of Mike my Irish friend), cleaned and dressed them but most importantly taught me how to clean and dress them and how to ask for the bandages I needed at the Farmacia. This angel spent the following five hours treating fellow peregrinos, I´m amazed at his generosity and his compassion.
The trek to Belorado was wet wet wet! The start of the day was quite plesant but the rain started as soon as i hit the sign saying i was entering the province of Castilla y Leon. Welcome to the province! It was like the province was telling us to behave, it was in charge and would alter the weather to suit its mood. And boy what a welcoming it gave. I wanted to run back to the beautiful Navarra region, cold but at least dry. I trudged (boots full of mud) into Albergue Cautro Cantones. I spent the evening chatting to two blokes from the UK and continuing my attempts with the German women (i cant recall if i´ve mentioned them before but they have appeared regularly in my travels and do not speak much english). The German ladies had already consumed quite a bit of wine and were attempting to cook in the small kitchen...the statement too many cooks in one kitchen pales in comparison. I watched, I laughed.
I had dinner that night with Sandy from Canada and a couple from Belgium. The couple from Belgium were aged 80 and 76 (male and female respectively), the oldest couple I have met on the Camino. I will always remember hiking out of Belorado the following morning behind the couple as they are holding hands, I wished at that moment that i had my camera on hand but at the same time i´m glad i can simply remember it.
Day I´m not tracking days anymore - Belorado to San Juan de Ortega (24.3km)
What a beautiful morning! Finally off the N120 freeway we hiked through oak wodland and pine plantations. At one point it started raining, but i swore i could see snowflakes amongst the rain. I held out my arm but caught nothing on my sleeve. I continued on and it became more and more apparent that it was definately snowing. Snowing whilst walking through oak woodland...i find words hard to describe. I stood still and let the flakes accumulate on my shoulders. Cukoos sang as i walked.
At 1150m above sea level i hit the monestary of San Juan de Ortega. I´d had enough hiking for the day so headed in to find a bed. I think had i know how frigid the rooms would be i may have forced myself to continue on! People had crammed the one heater (for 60 people) with clothes that needed drying. The shower was cold. The only warm place in the town was the pub. I had chosen to stay at San Juan because i understood that i would be able to attend mass and share soup and bread with the monks afterwards. Having checked in and paid my euros i asked what time the mass was (Que hora es la misa?)...no mass today was the response i received...So i spent what time i could getting warm in the pub and then went to bed without any dinner. My sleeping bag was warmer than the pub, best money i have ever spent, absolutley without a doubt. Tomorrow I hit Burgos and my first rest day since Pamplona, looking forward to checking out the Catedral plaza in particular as I met many people on the forums who observed feeling a sense of dread as they entered the plaza (its a site of much blood shed and the infamous El Cid is buried within the Catedral).