Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente Park

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    • Day 12

      Belgrado to San Juan de Ortega

      May 12, 2023 in Spain ⋅ 🌬 10 °C

      Today as I climbed the Montes de Ola and later Alto de Valbueno at 3800 feet in the rain, cold, wind with my feet hurting (still!), I am wondering what possesses a person to voluntarily take on such an adventure?

      In fact, as I passed the hotel that I am currently staying, the Hotel San Anton Abad, I seriously contemplated two things: one skip the mountain climb or climb to the top and then go back down to my hotel. I did neither because several things were on my mind. First, I had a taxi driver meeting me in San Juan to return me back to this hotel (transferring from hotel to hotel or town to town is very common), and secondly, I don't think I could have made the steep descent, and it seemed easier to walk through the forest another 8 km than walk back down!

      Wearing everything that I have that is warm and waterproof, today I walked 24.5 km and eventually arrived at this hotel which in 1377 was the Hospital de Peregrinos San Anton Abad. In 2009 a local walking the Camino returned to restore the hospital to a hotel that now continues to serve the pilgrims.

      Today's walk was much like yesterday with a few more views, and for more than 1/2 the walk we were away from the major highway. The sun is coming out now, but most of the day cloud and rain and cool temperatures of only 8 degrees made the trail quieter today. I saw many people waiting for the bus this morning!

      Accommodation is becoming increasingly difficult as the camino travels west, and so many pilgrims today had either a much shorter walk or a much longer walk, between 12 and 32 km in order to find accommodation. Today, I walked for some time in the mountains with ladies from Australia whom I have seen here and there, but usually I can't even consider keeping up, but later today, they probably slowed down, and I am beginning to find my rhythm. Learning to use my poles effectively, and I think either my feet are improving or I am becoming numb to the pain. I think it is the latter. In the last few km it was nice to have some company to ease the challenges of the last few km. Since we are at the same hotel, we will also have dinner together. Most nights even as a solo traveler, I rarely eat alone. The Camino is friendly.

      We all had a good laugh that since we are in what was once a hospital, how much we could use a bit of nursing. The altitude here does not bother me, but for some the altitude is problematic. One thing for sure, I know will take some adjustment back to Calgary...when was the last time you took a 5 euro out of your wallet, and bought two glasses of red wine and got change! Tonight at the pilgrims supper, I had a salad ( normally I have pasta lol), fish in tomato sauce ( my go to thing), and a caramel flan, and as much wine and water that you can drink. All for 18 euros... Most nights, I find myself at a pilgrim dinner or a hotel serving a pilgrim dinner. For between 14 to 18 euros, you get a starter ( pasta or salad or soup or broccoli), and then a meal so fish, pork, chicken. And then a simple desert. And wine...and more wine...
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