684 kilometres to Santiago
After a hearty breakfast of tortilla and cafe con leche, it was time to conquer Alton de Perdon.
Like a major project, tackling some of these hills requires breaking the exercise into smaller tasks.
I have been finding the uphill climbs easier but the downhills are punishing on my knees. Alto del Perdon “Mount of Forgiveness” turned out to be easier broken into two tasks and when I was on top, the feeling of elation was awesome! This is a definite iconic photo op for peregrinos. Upon arrival you find the iron sculptures of pilgrims braving the wind as they continue on their path. The inscription translated: “where the path of the wind meets the path of the stars” Oh yes and a coffee truck! Progress!!
Little did I know that the praying for forgiveness comes on the descent over rocks and gravel. Along the path, I met a lady from Bolivia who called me an angel for sticking with her. It was a difficult task but Maria and I made it down safely.
I believe the 2nd or maybe it was the 3rd round of wine last night might account for some shakiness but we made it. Once on level ground again it was much easier and off we went.
The rest stop in Uterga was like an oasis and here I indulged in a burger and a beer.
Reaching Puente la Reina (Bridge of Queen) was successful. It is getting harder to find accommodation when you arrive in town. I try and head to the municipal albergue but today it was all full. I had to splurge 30 euro for a private room. I kept thinking of that horror movie Hostal and prayed that where I end up will be better than those fellows. The owner of the bar yelled at me to come with him me he hadn’t stamped my pilgrim passport or recorded my name. He was just reaching for my money. I told him, “cello first.” Afterwards he led me and this greasy guy down a series of streets and alleys until finally we arrive at Hostal Plaza. Through a dark entrance way, there was a fountain spitting water out of its mouth and a dark stairwell leading upwards. Finally at my room 23 he hands me a key. Inside my private room wee 2 single beds, a 9″ TV, a desk and the. A bathroom with toilet and shower. My room overlooked the back alley and I’m sure some lecherous person was staring at me. You could jump across the alley to the next building it was that close. Down went my shutters and I locked the balcony door.
Time to find food. I made my way through the alley to the church which was gorgeous and gilded with gold. I sat in a pew and said a prayer for my family and friends before heading down the street. Suddenly I hear hey you, Canada come sit with us. The table was full of New Zealanders and a couple from B.C. who reminded me of Nikki and Ryan. We shared some food, wine and laughed at the terrible service. One of the ladies suggested we head to the mercado for more wine and food and meet at the bridge. That was the plan…I joined them by the bridge and hoped to do a call with dad, but it didn’t work out. I’ll try again tomorrow.. This is a where I was transmitting from.