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Published: September 25th 2016
From Lorca,Sunday. I lost a day somewhere and was convinced it was Friday yesterday. I now know its Sunday today. Back to the blog. Starting in Zariquiegui on Saturday 24th.
A creak of a bed , a whisper from a male American voice 'what time is it:, a whispered response from his American friend,' about 6 o' clock'.Else where in the room a rustle of a bag, the slide of a zip, a rucksack quietly opening. So the activity starts for the day. Some have little torches, we all fumble quietly in the dark until the last person is out of bed when the light can go on.
Freshen up, dress, collect washing (still damp),strap to bag with camping washing line, mini croissant and cakey biscuit, at the bar downstairs conversation with others. I explain I haven't brushed my hair since Monday as I lost my brush. Knowing nothing else would hold any credibility whatsoever Canadian friend says 'it looks a mess', to avoid doubt his American companion says 'an absolute mess.'
Tea with hot milk and off I go.
I start walking alone today, not wanting to go as early as some of the group who
are aiming for Estelle and not as late as others who are taking it easy today.
I am greeted by a blush of a sunrise, not the flamboyant glorious sunrise that we sometimes see but more of a cosy welcome to the day and maternal pat to send you on your way. The air is still and all feels calm. I take a photo and turn to see that in the West the sky is a rich royal blue lit by a half crescent moon.
I head up the hill and aim towards the ridge. The further I go the more beautiful the sunrise looks. As I look back I can see km upon km of the Pyrenees silhouetted on the skyline, fold upon fold like a perfect cross section of the mountain range. The morning is breaking in the most magical way. I walk hard steeply uphill for quite some time.
Despite that maternal pat I had gone the wrong way! After much up and down, across and back and roundabouting with some reluctance I decided to make my way back to where I had started from. Good call. In the dark I had taken the wrong path at the beginning albeit parallel to the one I ha recce'd the night before.
Too glad to be back on the Camino to be dampened in spirit. I carried happily on. The compensation was that at the top of the ridge(for the second time) there was a lovely lady with a refrigerated van and mobile stall. I had an orange juice blended fresh from the fruit.
I arrived at Uterga at 10.15 instead of 8.15. By this time there were also no other pilgrims, all having gone by now and for the first time I was walking alone for a long stretch. I found it quite enjoyable though I have discovered I prefer to walk with others for the most part. Especially as I took a wrong turn a bit later as well, had to scrabble down an embankment, navigate round a wire fence to reach a lower concrete wall before dropping into a ditch and up the other side to pick up the Camino and go under the underpass. In the process I ended up with sticky buds down my front and on the washing I was drying on the outside of my rucksack.
The scenery was mostly agricultural and the light brown/beige of dry ploughed fields and sometimes a more golden patch where the crop has been reaped and stubble left. Typical of pictures of Spain, now and then there are plantings of trees, some tall narrow poplar like and others wider and bushier. All dark green. In the distance are the peaks and troughs of the wooded hillside.
At the edge of the path by the side of the field there was an abundance of plants with long flower like stems and bending full of ripe elderberry fruit. Unable to resist I ate a huge handful. What a let down, it was so incredibly bitter I hoped I hadn't eaten deadly night shade by mistake.I resolved to keep an eye on myself for the next few hours.
I passed through a couple of little villages paying particular attention to the way signs given this morning's debacle. In one village they were like moulded steel shells placed at regular intervals on small clean white slabs. Some are like a work of art. Mostly they are yellow arrows anywhere they can be put, posts, ground, side of buildings. Sometimes a small concrete bollard withe the yellows shell on mid blue background of the Camino symbol.
I made haste to Puenta La Reine as I still wanted to make Lorca tonight.
I loved P LA R. Its a beautiful old town full of character anyway, lovely narrow alleys beautifully maintained buildings lots of tabacs, bars, ships and activities. Or maybe its just that I arrived at the right time on the right day. When I arrived there was a real salsa feel to.the place: music blaring out, cafés open a buzz of people all around the streets. In the square about a dozen different groups of people were burning open fires with chopped wood. Big round pans perched a metal frame to cook food. You could smell the sweet musky scent of the wood burning.
A brass/jazz band struck up with deafening sound and a little boy joined in jigging up and down to the rythmn with his plastic saxophone.
I was tempted to stay and maybe I would if I had been with other pilgrims but instead decided to carry on.
On arriving at Lorca, Belgian Jean told me there was to be a bull running at 6 pm that day and David said he had seen barricades when he went through.
The further I go today the more the cicadas make themselves known with their shrill sirens. One of them must have lost his rhythm as it sounded more like he was tapping a message out on Morse code.
Again the heat, c 30 d C was draining and the walking became hard work. Not long after I'd got back on track after my 2nd misadventure I bumped into David and Nicole who were sitting having a nice drink in a cafe. The irony is I had met them in a previous village and because I was behind schedule went ahead marching at some pace towards Lorca. As David pointed out, I could have walked with them and still made it on time.
I ordered my second fresh orange juice that day blended fresh from the fruit.
As I sat down it was with a wince as I suddenly realised from the prickling sensation that the sticky buds were all over my backside as well.
I walked the rest of the day with David and Nicole and was pleased to arrive at the albergue where there were some familiar faces, I could shower, wash free in the machine and have dinner, sleep and have breakfast all for 20 euro.
The food for the past couple of nights ie Thursday and Friday has been really nice. On Thurs it was vegetable soup with green beans, artichoke and carrot in a water stock. It was delicious. Everyone on our table had 2 bowl fulls. The main course was wafer thin pork in a flat batter served with fresh lettuce and big juicy red ripe tomatoes from the garden. The pudding a small moussy/ice creamy cheesecake type thing. Friday night was a vegetable soup, this time a pale green blended vegetable cocktail, chicken served with home made chips and sliced (fried?)red peppers. I didn't recognise the shapes and sizes of the chicken other than a drumstick but it was incredibly tasty and enjoyable. For pudding I chose flan to avoid yoghurt. There was nothing flannish about the flan. In fact it was creme caramel and very nice too.
Tonight, Saturday, I'm having lentil soup followed by spag bog. I chose that above beef and potatoes thinking, 'when in Rome'. However having seen the beef in the kitchen may have made a mistake
It looks gorgeous! Post the event Nicole tells me it was the best beef she's ever had. My spag bog was also very tasty and I have no complaints
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