September 22, 2002

9/22/02 Belorado

22 km

It still amazes me at how many people are packed and gone before the lights come on at 7am. I mean Angela and I felt we were late leaving at 7:15.

Another day of cool winds and rain clouds always threatening. That helped me speed my way down the Camino. In Gañon, it seemed everyone stopped at an enterprising tobacconist who sold sandwiches and coffee out front. The refugio here is in the bell tower of the church. Very cool.

José & Pedro [España]

We walked through even larger farm fields in these rolling hills. Saw a crew harvesting potatoes and another farmer racking hay. Lots of John Deere tractors around here. We were now entering Castille & Leon, the province where Burgos is the capital.

The refugio in Belorado is in the building next to the Iglesia de Santa Maria. The kind hospitalero from Canada seemed to have his hands full with the sudden arrival of so many pilgrims. I had nothing against the place, I can sleep anywhere, but Bixen and a few other Spaniards were heading to the private alburgue a little closer to the main plaza.

Beautiful baptismal font

For $7, we found a palace. It only has room for twenty, with two showers and bathrooms, full kitchen, and a patio complete with a fountain. It was pure decadence for a pilgrim. Had a good lunch with Carlos and Carmine at a restaurant on the plaza. Once we finished, Carmine was overjoyed by a surprise visit from her husband.

Rained off and on again all afternoon, but that didn't seem to dampen anyone's spirit. Later we all helped prepare a communal dinner. Because Mila did most of the cooking, I volunteered to give her a massage. Soon, everyone wanted one. The hospitalero, Nicolas, was very interested in my techniques. He wants to study massage during the off season, then offer it to his patrons in the alburgue. He just opened in April and has filled up with the full twenty pilgrims every night since.

Dinners always seem to go on forever here in Spain. They had to twist my arm to go out for a nightcap of pacharan. Later, when we returned, Nicolas want to thank me for the massage lesson with a glass of home-brew pacharan. A little less sweet with a little more kick to it than the store-bought kind. Wow!

Bixen, Mila, José, Carmin, Pedro, Angela, & Carlos eating again!