We left really early this morning, struggled to find our way again in the dark, and shivered our way up to the highway where we faced 10 kms of road walking. Headlamps on, we marched along the narrow shoulder of the road hoping like hell that the cars speeding past would see us. Colleen has a brighter lamp than mine so she went in front and I have reflectors on my backpack so I went behind. It was quite scary and theroad walking is so hard on your feet. We choked on the fumes and and one stage I was finding it hard to breathe, it was so strong! We walked the whole way barely talking as we were so scared and miserable.
For the first time, our walk had a town midway! We found a bar to rest in a while. Our feet were really aching! We ordered eggs, bread and coffee and sat for half an hour in the warmth. The eggs were dripping with olive oil but it was sustenance enough. Looks disgusting but I was desperate. Seems funny to think that only yesterday we were struggling with the heat. I had a fleece on today.
With fresh feet we proceeded to climb the mountain behind the town. It was huge and very steep but we were really surprised with how fit we are now and just literally took it in our stride. We had been walking towards the mountains for a few days and were somewhat overawed by the size of them. Remembering O’Cebreiro and Alto de Perdon on the Camino Frances, I was a little scared, but I guess after already walking nearly 500kms, I’m fitter than I thought.
We patted a beautiful white horse and warily took photos of the many cows and fierce looking bulls. We ambled down narrow lanes lined with oaks, ivy and mossy rocks. The trees are all shedding their leaves. The wind was catching them, and they danced in the air before falling at our feet. Autumn leaves of gold and rust swirled around us. It was truly beautiful
We passed under acorn trees, apple trees, chestnut trees and conkers. Along the roadside we saw wild mint, elderberry ,rose hip and blackberry bushes groaning under the weight of their fruit, fig trees, and the scent of wild fennel floated through the air. All the senses were working overtime.
We stood atop the mountains and marvelled at the sight of the huge granite rocks surrounding us, making us feel recalled dwarfed. Clouds and mist hovered over the mountains around us and the air was so cold.
And then we arrived at our Casa Rural (Jorge) in Calzada del Bejar…. A gem in the middle of nowhere. Esther greeted us with such warmth and love. She showed us around (the only pilgrims) her beautiful little house and left us to it, promising to bring us dinner at 8pm. This place is the best we have stayed in. So clean. Our bedroom was in the attic with tiny windows overlooking the surrounding mountains. We had a wonderful hot shower in a beautifully decorated blue and white bathroom, using her fluffy white towels. Only a pilgrim would know what a treat that is! Dinner was a home cooked meal of salad (iceberg lettuce and tomato) chicken paella and flan. She also left us an apple each and we went up to bed with a cocoa and cup of tea. WHAT A GREAT DAY!