Day 10 — Winter is back!

Dormitory in Belorado

I left our albergue in Belorado with relief. Don’t get me wrong, it was a nice albergue, full of character with lovely wooden beams sticking out of the ceilings and walls. Unfortunately these characterful features where all around me — one just above my face, as I lied on my top bunk; the other one was stretching the length of the dormitory, just the right height to smack you in the face when you were on your way to the toilet at night! I was so happy that my face was still intact, mostly because I decided against a night toilet visit.

The day was cold and grey. It started to rain. We put on our waterproofs, covered our backpacks with rain covers and off we went. We walked a bit with Barry, a bit with the “Americans” and some distance by ourselves. After passing some small towns, the long hike in the forest stretched in front of us, which probably would have been very nice on a sunny day. The weather made the day drag on forever. It was really cold, at one point it started snowing (just a bit, but still — snowing!), then came the sleet and hail stones! Absolute random blend of the worst the weather could throw at you. After some time I really had enough. I needed my music to propel me along the way. I was pretty sure that I had my headphones in my coat pocket, but for some reason I couldn’t find them. I searched all my pockets, have I lost my headphones and therefore access to my music!?! Disaster. I really needed a distraction on this wintery day! There was nothing for me to do but moan extensively to Martin. And guess what — my personal angel did it again. He stopped, unpacked his whole backpack, dugged deep in its content, as headphones are not something he priorities when packing, and gave me his own set! They came with his music as well, as his headphones didn’t fit my phone. This act of kindness saved me and made me able to walk for another 10 kilometres. It took us ages to get to Ages, but we carried on for a further 2 kilometres.

We stopped in a nice quiet village of Atapuerca, now famous for its excavations and the discovery of the earliest known humanoids in Western Europe. We knew we would find a nice albergue — we were with Barry after all. Indeed, we stayed in a small, yellow bungalow and the three of us had a whole room to ourselves! On arriving at our dormitory I found my headphones in my coat! That’s where I thought they were! But I did search for them, checking the depth and width of all my pockets, how come I couldn’t find them? I was astounded — was it the Universe trying Martin’s patience and angelic qualities again? These kind of Camino small unexplainable mysteries happen daily. We met a young Brazilian who told us how on that cold day he really wished for some gloves and a few minutes later a perfect pair of gloves presented themselves to him by his feet! An American woman told us that her coat’s zip was broken and nobody was able to fix it. However on one of the rainy days when she really needed it zipped up, it fixed itself just like that! Is it normal? There is something strange yet magical about these Camino’s mysteries.

Example of pilgrim fish and chips :)

We spent the evening wondering about these and other aspects of our walk in a local pub with another pilgrim menu. After being fed for a week with the similar pescatarian choices of fish and chips I decided to be more clever and go for two starters instead. Throughout the trip the choice of meats or fish with chips didn’t change much, however the starters were a different matter. Apart from the obligatory ensalada mixta you could have a lovely lentil soup or seafood paella. Different regions offered different selections — I tried nice vegetable garbanzo soup in Galicia, empanada — a pastry stuffed either with meat or more commonly with tuna. I even tried an octopus in La Pulperia. Different regions were offering different selections — but tireless tortilla was reigning everywhere.