Cold, wet stop-start to Agés

It was a miserable day. Seems I got my grump on a day early – what I wouldn’t give to have that last morning back! It was a full pilgrim hat-trick: wet, windy and cold. And grey. And just miserable. But the way won’t walk itself, and everybody else is having the same miserable weather, so after a long, purposefully drawn out breakfast, off I reluctantly went.

The only good thing about miserable days is the stops. Everybody is there, everybody lingers, warming their hands on cups of café con leche, everybody’s ponchos are dripping and everybody is wearing all their clothes and trying to feel a little bit positive because their packs are lighter. I was also wearing everything, but since I had packed so light this time, ‘everything’ wasn’t much. I was already thinking about spending my evening in my sleeping bag to stay warm, because if anything I was wearing became wet, I’d have very little left that was dry and warm. And capri tights in this weather was not a good idea! I decided there and then that long ones would have been better, at least they can ble folded up to the knee or worn down to the ankle. I didn’t even have my rain trousers to protect me from the wet and wind and cold! Note to self: always bring rain trousers when walking in tights. Consider yourself warned about the flip side of lightweight packing …

Anyway, I saw one – 1 – sunflower that brightened my day.

The three pictures below represent my stops and starts on that day. I walked from Belorado to Espinosa, stopped in a bar to thaw out my frozen legs and joints, and in came a group of Spanish cyclists whose idea of instant warm-up was some sort of sugary, cinnamony, spirit-heavy concoction the barman didn’t know how to make, so they took over the bar and made it themselves. The drink was set on fire and then quickly downed in one, and seemed to cheer them up if nothing else. The cheerful lady from the day before also came in from the rain and joined me for a warm drink and a bite to eat. I had fun, I was warm, outside was no fun and not warm. And up ahead lay 12 kms through the woods with no services, no facilities, nowhere to rest my aching joints. Short story: I got a taxi.

The next pic is from San Juan Ortega, at the other end of the long forest trail. I stopped for a bocadillo and a glass of wine to fortify me for the last 4 kms – yes, I know I could and possibly should have got the taxi straight to Agés and be done with it, but I did feel bad about my taxi and thought I should suffer a little more before I had a warm shower. The madness of pilgrims …

After a thoroughly unpleasant and very shower-deserving walk in the cold wind and rain with only capri tights, including being eyed up by aggressive cows up on a flat area with no trees to hide behind (so I hid behind a fast walker with a huge poncho), I arrived soggy and miserable in Agés, realised I had booked a bed in a different albergue than I thought, but found a bottom bunk. After a warm shower I very happily tucked into a comforting bowl of lentejas, or black lentil soup with chorizo. Yum!

I didn’t quite spend the evening in my sleeping bag, but I did have red wine instead of cold beer, wore all my dry clothes and did eventually get some warmth back into my bones. I had an early night both looking forward to and dreading getting up the next day, which would be my last walking day into the beautiful city of Burgos!

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