Friday, May 21, 2010

Belorado - the El Dorado of pain....

As beautiful as Santo Domingo de la Calzada was, after that embarrasing incident I was actually a bit relieved to walk out of its walls. It was already noon, a bit late for a walk that would last for about 24km, but my feet felt good and I felt like walking, walking, walking! The landscape is very different now. The woods are long, long gone, the scenery is all a bit same-ish: fields, sofly climbing up and down, mountains in the far distance. It was hot, so it didn´t take too long before I did something I hadn´t done before: I took off my fleece jacket, and my shirt! And walked in my spaghetti west, not before putting a lot of sunlotion onto myself. One sunburn is enough. I also shortened my pants a bit. And thus, I tan in stages, which looks really ridiculous. My lower arms are black (well, almost), my shoulders and upper arms are white. I expect my lower legs to tan a bit from where the socks end all the way up to just below the knee, very sexy. I walked past an amazing albergue situated in the tower of another gorgeous church - and I climbed the tower. No tower is safe from me, if there´s a tower, I´ll climb it! By the way, I can´t reall count how many beautyful churches I´ve seen by now. Some boastful, some touching, some serene, some fragile in their decay, but all quite awe inspiring. You can really see how the stream of pilgrims in the middle ages brought riches to all the places along the camino. A whole infrastructure developed around the Camino and its pilgrims and that in turn made the churches along the way wealthy. ou can go into the smallest churches along the way, you´re bound to find beautiful artistry inside. And loads of gold or gold colour. I had a plan as to how far to walk that day. My wish was to make it to Belorado, where the church albergue is situated in an old theatre and they have a special pilgrims blessing in the evening. I walked and walked. At the beginning I had such a drive, but the hotter the day, and the straighter the path, the harder it all became. The villages I passed through seemed totally deserted. Where are all the people living here? I felt like the lonely stranger passing through the hostile western town, shutters closed, the showdown waiting on the far side. But there was nothing waiting for me, not even an open bar, or a machine with drinks. And sure enough, at some stage my heels started to say ¨hello¨again, bastards. In Viloria, the birthplace of Santo Domingo, who´s birthhouse was of course closed, I made a long stop, changing socks, putting plasters on, cooling my feet in a well, and sharing my food with a rather forward little siamese cat. I also made good use of the children´s swing there, until realised I was about to loosen the anchorage of that swing - hm, guess I´m a bit heavier than your average child... When I started off again, I had another 8.6km ahead of me. Straight, along a busy road. I can´t tell you the pain that started to develop. I was exhausted from the heat, the arches of my feet just didn´t want to support the weight of the backpack any more and my heels were acting up. My muscles slowly turned to stone, and I dragged myself forward and forward. At some stage some italian bikers stopped for me and gave me their water. I pulled and pushed myself forward with my stick, and eventually, very late in the day, I think it was 7.40pm, I stumbled into Belorado, which is fittingly built into and in front of a steep cliff of a rock. I actually got the last bed in the albergue I wanted so much to reach, and I made the pilgrims blessing. In order to kneel in the church I needed both my arms to support me getting down or up, and in the albergue I was barely able to walk down or up the stairs. But I got another beautiful surprise: I was SO hungry, and there was food left over by some other pilgrims who offered it to me. Those were not just some random pilgrims, but a CHEF from Australia, so I wolved down the most exquisite risotto withan absolutely gorgeous salad! And, guess, who was the last to go to bed, and instead had a lovely chat with Thomas, the hospitalero from Switzerland? Qui, that would be little moi... ;))

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