I started walking today at 8:02. Most people are still sleeping, only …
… two Germans started before me. The morning is a bit chilly so I had an opportunity to try out the fleece jacket I haven’t used so far. After a good night sleep, the Way is a bit easier for an hour or two … and each morning this period gets longer.
Sun is soon starting to shine a bit more forcefully so I ditched the jacket as I entered a small town. Naturally not a soul in sight. Rather charming place with a a nice church. As I exit the city the first local appears … an old lady walking the dog.
The path continues on and I encounter Walter from Bergamo, Italy.Walter has a bit strange Italian accent, not so melodious as classical Italian. He also walks at much faster pace and quickly leaves me behind.
Next stop … Puente de la Rena … a bit larger town where I got my supplies for lunch. As I was waiting in a line at the supermarket a little girl threw a strange look at my pack and poles, prompting a cashier lady to ask her … “do you want to go on the Camino as well” … and getting a firm “no”.
By the way … funny thing I’ve noticed … just when one begins to question …. where are those yellow arrows. … am I on the right path … is almost exactly the time when the arrows tend to appear on a wall, tree or a marker along the way. Same thing happened just now, only I was wishing for a bench … and one conveniently appeared … it even has a trashcan right next to it. To top it all I even managed to catch a good enough signal for Skype video chat.
The Way leaves the town by the tourist office across an old bridge. It pristine nature again. … yellow flowers on the meadows. Not a soul in sight … and then I spot a strange guy in red jersey and a bit of zombi-like expression. My “buenos dias” … doesn’t get even a blink in response … who knows what makes him tick.
The path goes uphill … again, strangely enough … it seems a bit easier today. I get passed by a car going the other way and the driver waves at me as he goes by. As I reach the top I decide to award my tired feet with a bit of air. After I sat down on huge boulder, I realised the entire fence to my right is decorated with improvised wooden crosses.
A Hungarian named Zhord drops by … has a hat just like Zorro. He works in UK and has a 3-week vacation for the Camino, so he is doing about 40 km per day, though he takes frequent breaks. As he leaves I spot group of Brazilians on bikes. Usually I’m a tiny little bit envious of bikers because it seems they’ve got it easier … but not this time. Pushing the bike uphill is no fun.
The path continues on … it looks like that La Rioja region that I’ve heard about … plenty of vineyards and olive groves around. There is a small town ahead … siesta time…which means not a soul in sight. Right in the middle of the town there is a small fountain in a shade, looks like a good place to rest for lunch. Typical siesta atmosphere … peace and quiet. After a while I hear a loudspeaker in the distance … an ice-cream vendor or … as the truck came closer I could make out what they are saying ….loudly … very loudly … “POTATOES, POTATOES, ATTENTION ATTENTION WE ARE SELLING POTATOES. !!!!”
Considering how popular siesta appears to be in Spain I was surprised nobody threw potatoes at them.
Moving on … vineyards again. A town appears in the distance … Ciraqui. Before the town I spot Zhrod in a large olive grove, camped under an olive tree. He is well equipped for camping … has an interesting camp stove with a fuel cell that looks like a box of matches.
As I enter Ciraqui a yellow arrow shows a restaurant 50m to he right … well … I can see for at least 100m to the right and no restaurant in sight … wasn’t the first and it won’t be the last time the distance signs are a bit misleading. Ciraqui is a town on top of the hill … a steep one … but there is a nice shaded loggia on top where I take another break. Siesta rules here as well, only one gent is unloading the truck for the supermarket nearby. Slightly recuperated I move on. A dog lies in the middle of the street (in the shade) and barely bats an eye at the click of my camera.
As I leave the town I see a world map made of green bushes at the nearby hillside, interesting project by the local school. A great black horse (reminds me of Zorro’s), in a coral nearby makes me wander is there a rent-a-horse service.
The path winds a bit up then a bit down, then a bit under the main road until I reach the town of Lorca at 16:30 where I decided to park for the day. Its only due to my poetic inclinations that I decided to stop here … and it has nothing to do with the fact I’m totally beat for the day.
Lots of familiar faces welcome me at the albergue … Mick, Maren, guy from Tyrol … and the oldest person I met on the Camino, Dieter from Germany who is 79.
A beer before dinner sure tastes great and so does dinner.
That was day no. 5.