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Camino de Santiago, Day 8: Uterga to Lorca

Poppies!

Poppies!

Today was the day of poppies, vineyards, rain and mud and intoxicating aromas of oregano, honeysuckle, jasmine and fennel.

The landscape is changing now.  It’s flatter than it was the first few days, thankfully.  The Spring flowers are spectacular, especially the poppies which are out in full glory.  Vineyards have appeared.

We are feeling stronger and happier everyday.  Who knows what creates this “magic” on the Camino.  Is it the hours and hours of exercise everyday?  The fresh air?  The jaw-dropping beauty everywhere you look?  The characters you meet along the way?  Or all of that?  Whatever it is, it’s the best antidepressant I’ve ever had.

Passing through Puente la Reina

I always want to go inside the churches that we pass along the way.  They are treasure troves.  You never can tell, especially here, what might be inside because so many churches are so badly decayed.  Then you walk in and everything is golden and preserved and amazing.  This was the case in a small church we happened upon in Puente la Reina.

We walked through several small villages today, the largest being Puente la Reina.  This is where two different routes of the Camino (both coming from France) join together.  We walked over the 11th century Romanesque bridge built so pilgrims could cross the River Arga.  We had a picnic lunch beside the bridge.  Red peppers and cheese on a baguette for me.  Chorizo and cheese on a baguette for Jamie.  We save a lot of money when we get ourselves to the grocery store and make ourselves sandwiches.  The setting couldn’t have been better.

When we walk through these small towns we get lots of long looks by the older locals.  Basque people do not seem to be outwardly friendly.  We haven’t had an opportunity to get to know locals on a deeper level which is the curse and the shame of not knowing the language.

The village of Zirauki

We walked separately for hours in the rain.  By the time I saw Cirauqui a.k.a Zirauki, I was soaked to the bone.  But there it was, a medieval city on a hill that enchanted me even before I arrived.  The town is home to 500 people.  Winding through the streets I saw a bar and thought Jamie might be waiting there for me.  He wasn’t, but Dot and John were there and told me that “Jamie said he would be waiting in town on the Camino for you somewhere where there is shelter.”  On the Camino, communication takes a step back about 500 years – people actually talk to each other and relay messages about the whereabouts and condition of others.

So I walked the steep hills of the village and found Jamie under a covered archway, drinking a beer like a hobo.  We spent about an hour there drying out and the sun decided to make an appearance which was appreciated.  We decided then, to continue on to Lorca.  Ten minutes later, the rain started to pour again and it was a mudfest from there.

Leaving town we met Zach from Kentucky.  He and Jamie walked together for about an hour while I fell behind as per the usual.  I don’t try to keep up – just go at my own pace.

Further on, walking the trail was like walking in a carnival funhouse. Every step caused foot slippage in a random direction.  Arms were out trying to balance.  Despite it all, we were laughing.

Arriving in Lorca

We arrived in Lorca, and walked into one of two refuges in the town.  Kenny Rogers was playing on the stereo when we walked in: “The Gambler”.  “You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run…” Surreal moment.  We got the last two beds in town.  Score.

That night we had a “pilgrim’s dinner” with the other guests, which included Michele from France, and Ashley from Australia.  The wine is free-flowing.  We make friends with Kase from the Netherlands who retired as a physicist and is now enrolled in art school.  Interesting group!

Today we walked 21 kilometers (13 miles).

Today’s Photos:

2 Comments

  1. Hi Laura!
    Missed your posts for a couple of days.. getting addicted!
    Please ask your new friend Kase if he from Gronigan, Netherlands and if he has visited Bellingham, WA. We met a very interesting solar researcher from there a few years ago who was married to a good friend of a friend. wouldn’t that be something… hope your weather Improves!
    all the best,
    douglas and joni

    • Thanks Doug! If we see Kase again, we’ll ask. It is a tiny world so anything is possible!

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