Camino de Santiago, Day 11
Belorado to Agés 17 Miles
This article is the tenth in our series of walking 500 miles on the Camino de Santiago with my husband Scott. Some articles will be only about one day of walking, and some may include a few days of walking, for the lengths will vary. To begin with the first article click here.
After an excellent night of sleep, we were on our way again. By Day 11, I was tired of looking at signs telling how many kilometers to every town and then converting them in my head to miles and then converting that to time. I told Scott as we studied the elevation map, how I would plan my day in hours from then on. Our plan was to walk about 14 miles and stay in San Juan de Ortega, so I mentally prepared for a six-hour walk.
Later, as we walked into the town of San Juan de Ortega, we discovered lots of pilgrims hanging around. It was a much smaller town than we had envisioned and the albergues were already full. There was no choice in the matter, so we walked on. So much for my plan of being mentally prepared, but at least it was still early in the day.
It Feels Like the Middle of Nowhere
We walked along dirt roads and up and down rolling hills. There were trees on this section of the Camino, which was a nice change from the empty fields.
We were all alone in the middle of nowhere. Suddenly, walking toward us down the middle of the dirt road, was a little old woman! She must have been about 80 years old. We greeted her and she smiled and kept on walking.
I was excited because seeing her meant that there must be a town coming up soon!
A little while later we came upon the Belgian Ladies sitting in the road eating their lunch. They were enjoying the sunshine and in no hurry at all. We chatted a bit and were back on our way.
Just a few minutes later, a car came flying up the road toward us with an old man at the wheel. We figured he must have been going to pick up the old woman. They must have gone the other direction though, because they never passed by us again. And there was no town or house for miles.
Slowly, we made our way up to a high plains plateau. There were lots of cows grazing. It was a really pretty spot. Scott and I enjoyed seeing any animals along the way, and always took a few minutes to watch them.
There was a gate we needed to pass through to begin our descent into the valley, but there were two horses blocking it. They came toward us and were a bit aggressive and we weren’t sure what to do. We aren’t familiar with normal horse behavior. Scott pulled an apple from his fanny pack and tossed it to one of the horses, using it as a distraction so we could get by. The horse promptly picked it up, bit it in half, dropping the other half on the ground for the other horse! They were sharing. It was so sweet. The horses were so cute, that we stopped to take a video and pictures. We wondered how many treats they were given each day by passing pilgrims.
At about mile 17 of the day, we walked into the three-street town of Agés. We were wiped out, and lucky enough to get a bunk bed in one of the albergues. It was only a room of eight bunk beds. They all weren’t full, so it wasn’t too crowded.
We put our packs in the lockers, got cleaned up and went to look for food.
Next door to our albergue they were serving a pilgrim style lunch, so we sat with three Spaniards from Astoria. Scott and I had seen them almost every day of our Camino, as they were very recognizable because they always walked together in their green shirts. Unfortunately, they spoke limited English, and we spoke limited Spanish, so it was a bit of a challenge to get past the basics in conversation. We found out this was Angela’s 4th time walking the Camino, Fernando’s 7th Camino and Alfred’s 17th Camino!
It was so inspiring to sit with them and share a meal. We all enjoyed red wine, soup and bread.
It was a beautiful sunny day, and Scott and I sat on the patio in front of the albergue for most of the afternoon. Some pilgrims hung their laundry to dry, but we opted to skip washing laundry for the day. Scott and I felt optimistic, and hoped to have laundry taken care of at a hotel, very soon.
Several women from Canada sat with us drinking wine and eating olives. We all compared blisters and were pretty worn out. Ted and Eve showed up later, her knee was still bothering her and they were going to take a taxi into the next city to avoid walking on concrete for miles.
The Belgian ladies showed up, and they had met a couple of nice, young men!
Making New Friends at Dinner
At 8:00 p.m. we went into the dining room of our albergue for the community pilgrim dinner. We sat with two couples from France. A few minutes later a tall, gorgeous, blonde in her 40’s walked up and seated herself across from us. She introduced herself as “Yolanda from Hollanda.” She was really sweet and spoke French as well, so it made it easier to communicate with the other couples at the table.
Yolanda was walking the Camino alone and had no specific time frame to finish. She started paying attention only to Scott as the dinner progressed. Yolanda told him how much she liked the beard he was growing on the Camino. She told him she liked his hair, and she literally only had eyes or an interest in Scott. It took him awhile to realize how much she was flirting and then he just became awkward.
Later, we had a good laugh about the evening, but I was secretly glad we never ran into “Yolanda from Hollanda” on the Camino again.
Day 11: 17 miles