Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 14 Camino de Santiago July 19, Ages

Ages which is pronounced Ah hez was a 27k hike from Beldorado.  I love that name....Bel dorado.  Like a friggin' John Wayne movie!  Where's Ricky, Walter Brennan, Dean Martin, Robert Mitchem??  Beldorado had one of the nicest town squares we've visited.  And it's a good thing.  Today was the hottest day on the Camino - 107.  There must be bodies along the Trail somewhere?
    Everyone, even me, was dog-tired and hot from the get-go.  I think I was hot because I didn't shower in the morning.  I usually take a shower when I arrive in town and then one in the morning.
   We arrived in Beldorado at 12:30 (High Noon +30) and were so tired that we stopped.  We met up with Richard and Nora at dinner and had a great time joking.
   My budget is doing well.  Spending about $40 a day, if that!  Most of that has been for tape for my ankles or ibuprofen, or Compead for blisters.  It's a morning ritual that most everyone goes through:  wake like they've been shot out of a cannon, get out of bunk, wrap Christmas gifts (pack up) and then go outside and perform miracles on their feet.

In the mountains just outside of Belodorado, there are some very well designed caves in the mountains.  Would love to explore them, but I have enough trouble saying, "where is the cave?"  Can you imagine what it would sound like saying, "I want to go inside your cave?"...and that's when the war began!

The path from Bedorado was climbing from the beginning but not too steep.  We, Raj and I, left at 7:00AM and it was cloudy and cool, a big change from yesterday.  Raj is a 27 year old electrical engineer that is going back to school to learn environmental engineering.  He lived the first 14 years or so in Kerala, India and is currently living in Atlanta.  Very nice guy.


  We met up with Owen and Katrina in some little town and had breakfast with them.  They were waiting on Owen's friends from Ireland to meet up with them, so we took off.  Probably never see them again.  Such is life on the Camino. People come into your life... and then leave just as suddenly.  C'est la vie??


The Trail was remarkably easier, probably due to the overcast and cooler temperatures.  It also helped that we went through an oak forest and then a pine tree forest.  This area of Spain is famous for it's bandits that use to hide in the woods and ambush pilgrims.

Beautiful area.  There was a lot of logging going on, but I believe it was mostly to create fire breaks.  Still, for an Az. boy, it hurts to see trees fallen, though, I'm for it.

This is a site that marks the spot where many people were massacred during the Spanish Civil War.  The inscription says, "Their lives were not in vain but their deaths were!"   Frankly, I want my inscription to read, "It was on this spot that he took about 20 of the bastards out and this marker is merely a testimony to the generals of Franco, to beware!"  Yeah...that works.

From the top of the mountain, it is a steady decent to the plains of Spain.  It should take about 10 - 14 days of walking across flat hot plains.  I'm looking forward to it.  Plan to take my time and stop when my body says and walk when it doesn't mind!  Take a good look at those trees!  They're the last ones you are going to see for awhile! ha!

At the end of the tree line, we could see our stop for the night - Ages.  Good night!

He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.
Benjamin Franklin

Day 12 & 13 Camino de Santiago July 17+18 Granon and Beldorado

Day 12 

    We hiked from Ventosa to Ciruena and decided to stop for the night.  We had planned on stopping in Azofra, but changed and decided to plug on for 10 K more.  Hot.  Hot. Hot.  But I’m used to it.  Can’t say that Liverpool Kevin or Cork Owen and Cork Katrina are.  
Upon arriving in town, we went to the Auberge and sent Katrina up to look at the accomodations.  She came back and gave us a thumbs down so she told the man it was too much - 13E each which included a breakfast.  While she was upstairs, Owen read in the guest book that one guest had said it was the worst experience on the entire Camino.  Good call Katrina!

We found a pension for onl 20E each that was sooooo nice.  We ate peanuts on the terrace and Kevin soaked his feet while we had cold drinks and lazed away the time.  At about 9:30 PM we walked across the street to the only bar, but they had no food, other than “ensalada mixta” mixed salad, and we needed more substance.

      While discussing it outside the bar, the husband of the Pension, Pachi, came out and said, “My wife will cook you paella if you want?”  We didn’t even ask how much, though we had signed up for breakfast at 7:00AM.


She cooked the paella in about 45 minutes and it was to die for!  Best I’ve had.  She also had chicken and sausages, along with delicious red wine.  Dessert was a bowl of fruit that capped off a perfect evening.  We then changed our minds and decided that breakfast at 9:00 sounded better!!

What a night!   We decided to have dinnerWe got a late start in the morning because we had the BEST breakfast of the Camino- no check that - it was the 5 BEST breakfastes we’ve had on the camino.  Egg omelet, toast, honey, jellies, orange juice, coffee, and fruit!!

The price we paid was that it was hot from the get go on the trail.  So what!! The views of the wheat fields and sunflower fields, made up for it.  At one point it got so hot that we stopped under a bridge and flopped for about 20 minutes.  


The road today and yesterday was mostly flat and in open fields which meant that we could see where we were going for 4 or 5 k away.  We made it to Santo Domino de la Calzada in a couple of hours.  The downtown was a bit touristy and the church was really nothing special, but they’ve created some local legends to help sell it.  


 For instance, supposedly there was a German tourist a few hundred years ago hiking the Camino and a local girl fell in love with him.  He did not have the same feelings and in a moment of jealousy, put a silver chalice in his backpack.  When he left, she told the authorities that he had stolen it.  They searched his backpack and found it and hung him... (what else would they do, right??) His family, who just happened to be coming through town heard about it, saw him on the gallows, and went to him, and lo and behold he was barely alive...this after a few days, no less. (If you asked me, THAT is the miracle!!!)  


 The parents ran to the local magistrate, who was appalled that they hung him.  He was eating a chicken for dinner and apologized for their son’s death. 
 “Oh, but he’s not dead!!” they yelled.
“Lady, that boy is as dead as this chicken on my plate!” he replied.
And with that, the chicken jumped off the plate and bit his nose!!
Seriously...THAT’S the best you can do??  Whatever.  

Now they keep a live chicken and a live rooster in a cage in the church.  
 I imagine a town council meeting where the representatives are trying to think of ways to booster tourism:
Mayor - Okay, unless we start getting people to spend money in Santa Domingo, we are going to be like Greece - broke.  Who has an idea?
priest - I’ve got this story about the miracle of a rooster and...
Mayor - I’ve heard this one and boy is it weak, but we’re out of time so run with it.
Vice mayor - That will take care of the religious people, but what about the atheist?

Baker - I’ve got an idea!
Mayor - Jose, this isn’t the one about the...
Baker - No this is better.  I’ll bake pastries in the shape of a rooster and in the shape of a pilgrim.  We’ll sell it as a “local specialty”.
Mayor - Excellent!!

Photographer - Wait!   I have an idea!  I can make one of those cute cardboard cutouts of a pilgrim and people will pay to stick their face in it!  

Mayor - You guys are genius!!
Grocer - Hey I can put one of those machines in my store that takes a coin and turns it into a souvenir coin!
Mayor - This is so good!  We may only have to raise taxes 20%!!

     And so they have done so.  You CAN’T leave without buying one, even though you know it’s a gimmick.  Heaven forbid that someday you tell someone that you were in Santa Domingo and they ask, “Did you try the local specialty??”  or did you get one of those coins!?!?!  Or did you have your mug in the pilgrim cutout??

 After leaving Santo Domingo, we walked 10 K to Granon and this sign.  I know the church symbol and I know the telephone symbol... but what is the cross for?  Is the Red Baron buried here??  and the man symbol??  Is there a bowling alley here?? 


Granon was another one of those towns with no people on the streets.  We walked in, hearing the theme from a Clint Eastwood movie.  


  There wasn’t much in the way of hotels, in fact, there was no hotel!  We stayed in the church which had three floors of floor to lie on a mat.  From last night to tonight! Such is the Camino!  

Does this look like someone who has adequately planned for his retirement??

We crossed into the state of  Castille y Leon  which spells the end of the wine growing region and into a hotter climate.  Today was 107 degrees.  We were all melting and cut our hiking short.  

Thankfully, most towns have a fountain as you enter the town and as you exit the town.  I feel like a horse drawing up to a trough.  

                                                                                     Forgive - Forget - Forge on