Day 12 (to Belorado): I’m walking … yes indeed…

Miraculously enough, there was…

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… no snoring last night, and it was a large room with about 40 people. Considering the size of the crowd, I correctly guessed there was no need for an alarm … there was quite a selection of alarm sounds ringing this morning.

I hit the road at 6:50 …its quite dark outside and one has to be careful not to miss the yellow arrows. The path leaves the town via a bridge originally built by Santo Domingo and renovated many times since.
The path winds through … by now typical … fields and meadows.

I am soon joined by Scott and we move along chatting. Scott is a semi-retired Aussie farmer, still working with his garden and bees, mostly for pleasure. He started his Camino at Pamplona and he plans to stop at Burgos. Then he is off to Barcelona to join his wife for a European trip. I discovered on the Camino that official statistics are a bit misleading, because they only count the pilgrims who reached Santiago and got the Compostella, and there are quite a few pilgrims who are doing the the Camino 1-2 weeks at the time, continuing a year or two later where they left the last time.
We cover various topics … from agriculture, Asian geopolitics to science fiction. Scott is collecting “life portraits” of Camino pilgrims and their stories. That’s how I found out that my bunk-mate from few days back, is a former drug addict who managed to quit when nearly at the terminal stage and has been clean ever since. Or that Anthony the Frenchman has been walking for 2 months already has shortened his belt for 4 holes (so far its only one hole for me, but I wasn’t on the road nearly that long).

During the discussion on Australian politics Scott mentioned an interesting story, given as a reaction to a racist dinner comment.
An Iranian lady who graduated in Teheran suffered through the local prisons for a few years and managed to end up immigrating to Australia. After 9/11 with tempers running hot, she was assaulted while walking on the street,, her head scarf was torn and people spat on her. Her reaction was to additional engage as a volunteer in the local community which included a shift at the local nursing home. One evening as she was feeding an elderly lady a woman entered the room, saw her and left immediately. Later the woman approached her and said….”I am ashamed, I was one of those who spat on you, and now I see you feeding my mother.”..
The dinner guests were all silenced.

In a small village ahead, we sport Fernando taking a break. He tells us how last night at Granon, he held a concert with him on the flute and a German with bag-pipes.

Stopped for a snack break, … decent sized sandwiches and interesting signs all around….don’t take off your boots… don’t raise your feet on a chair…and the like.

We arrive at Belorado at 15h, feels like it didn’t take so long. The church albergue is closed, with a sign saying it opens at spring …and what season is it now?. A couple of storks nesting in the church towers ignored the sign completely. Fortunately there is a small private albergue for 5€ nearby.

After standard drill and a bit of a rest I go for a tour around the town. I stop for a few tapas in a nearby bar, because dinner is not served yet.
At the town square I run into Scott, Cindy, Sandy and Angus. A new face belongs to Andrew a miner from Tasmania. When i asked him o remind me of its location he said … “south of that small island called Australia”.

We are soon joined by a lady whose accent sounds German … so I reply Kroatien to her question “where are you from” … I nearly fell of my chair when she asked me “which part”…in Croatian ?!?!..(side note: since Croatia is a small country I am not used to foreigners who speak our language, and I sure didn’t expect to find any on the Camino). But Frida proves to be an exception to the rule, since she worked for EU commission in Zagreb for more then 6 years. She even knows the words to a song “Frida” by one Croatian pop band. She also heard of a “seagull tradition” in Dalmatia (coastal part of Croatia) … a tradition of  … lets call it “romance tourism” from the eighties.

A slight rain doesn’t catch on, after diner with Canadian sisters and Scott I head back to the albergue.
My bunk-mate for today is German girl Katarina, … early twenties, with quite a few piercings. She started from St. Jean …7 days ago ?!…wow…quite a pace.
As she chats with Scott she mentions that he doesn’t look old for his age (early fifties) … as he thanks her for the compliment … to which she replies …”my parents taught me to be polite to the older people”.

I’ve put on my earplugs because snoring sounds from the beds in the opposite corner indicated that its going to be that kind of night.

That was day no. 12.