Day 17 Castrojerez
Once again, I was the last to leave the auberge, at about 7:10 AM. I'm not complaining, I'd have stayed later, but we all have to be out by 8:00 AM... Daddy said so!!
That’s my bed right by the window. The church was about 20 meters from the auberge and loud. This auberge was clean and comfortable with a very nice manager that got me a bottom bunk. Halleluja! My left knee does not bend at the end of the day and climbing a top bunk is not so bad, but getting down in the middle of the night is dangerous.
This is Raj, who is standing in front of the cathedral with bells that ring until 10:00. He is very happy because he just got word that he has won a scholarship.
We sat in the shade during the siesta and watched a family of sparrow-like birds going in and out of a hole in the wall.
I think that the birds were probably telling their bird friends, "yeah during siesta... we were watching these two dopey gringos sitting in the shade!"
It was actually cool to cold on the trail today, with a steady wind blowing from the back...which would be from the East. It was one of the easier days hiking as the terrain was hilly but nothing extreme. Felt good to wear a jacket.
About 4k outside of the final destination today, the path became a road and flat. No complaints about that! Beautiful quaking cottonwoods lined the street for awhile.
Later we came to an old 1000 year old convent that is now in ruins. It used to be a hospital for people suffering from Ergotism, or St. Anthony’s Fire. SAF is a disease caused by a fungus in rye. People with SAF have a burning sensation in extremities. The old treatment in this convent was amputation. Then the “treated” would leave wooden or wax models of their arms/legs, in hopes of being cured. Hmmmm....I’m no doctor, but isn’t it a bit late to talk about "cures" once you’ve whacked off an arm?
What I did like was the giant “T” carved in the window frame, which was the symbol of the Knights of the Templar. Good nights who protected folks on the Camino and those enroute to the Crusades. Also carved into the convent around the doorway were hundreds of tiny 10” statues...almost all with their heads missing. Reminded me of when Zack was little, we’d find 100’s of Lego me, minus their heads. Hmmm...
The entrance to Castrojerez is really pretty, as first you pass by the church which is dedicated to the apple, and Santa Maria del Manzano, or St. Mary of the Apples. She is the patron saint of the city.
I am staying in the St Esteban Auberge tonight. I’ve got a bottom bunk!!! Yeah!! I even have an outlet next to my bed so that I can charge my phone. Hopefully, there will be WiFi in town somewhere.
The auberges treat bicyclist differently. If there is any doubt that there will be a shortage of beds, auberges won’t let bikers check in until after about six. This is to give the walking Pelegrinos a chance. Yes, even on the Camino, there is some snobbery. Some folks who walk look down on bikers as if they are cheating. Really?? I personally think the original pilgrims would have taken a 747 if it had been available.