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Susan Blogs About Our Camino To Ruitelan


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Sunday 1st June 2008 - 3:22pm
Ruitelan in map square [B2]
by Susan
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Hola! So Iīve lost Zoe! As you probably might have guessed from yesterdayīs blog... Mind you noone commented yesterday so maybe without Zoe I have gotten boring? :s

Anyway she was last seen in Ponferrada... headed off with her sexy german guy! (not that I noticed how sexy he was of course! ;D ) Anyway he seemed very sweet, apparently he first saw her in Leon but was too shy to say hello! Still we met him in Hospital De Orbigo and I think once he mentioned that he had a tent that was that! I mean how can I compete with that with my penchant for sleeping indoors under roofs in like beds and stuff...? :)

Mind you I got a text the other morning telling me that "Hotels are Great!" so presumably she has also got over her staying in a hotel fears as well so all is good! :)

Apparently she is having a great time!

I must say Iīm quite enjoying myself as well. I mean it was lovely walking with Zoe and itīs a bit lonely walking on my own sometimes (I miss the singing!) but at the same time I get up when I like, stop when I like (or not!) take ten thousand photos visit lots of lovely old churches and look at the architecture so allīs ok really.

Setting out walking alone yesterday was a strange mixture of terrifying, liberating and exhilarating. Although I guess Iīve done plenty of hiking and travelling round foreign countries alone before the two together left me feeling a little vunerable. Also I apprently forget to stop when Iīm not with zoe so it was about 15km before I remembered I should consume something and worked up to going into a bar.

Going into a strange bar alone for the first time yesterday was a bit scary. When I first walked in it was thick fog smokey and full of old fat spanish men who all turned and looked at me and I thought I might have made a bit of a mistake! But then I realised the bar was called "Bar San Roque" and heīs the saint that looks after pilgrims I figured all would be ok and in fact once Iīd put my backpack down in the doorway lots of other pilgrims came in including another woman on her own and the barmaid was friendly so it all worked out!

I havenīt quite worked up to ordering myself an orange juice yet (zoe used to do all the talking!) itīs the "naranja" bit every time I work up to saying it I get to the bar and chicken out! But I managed a passable "cafe con leche" and thatīs what I got so it mustīve been ok!

Itīs funny walking alone I think people seem to be much more friendly. Maybe they figure you need it? Or possibly Zoe cut quite a striking figure with her big stick and her cool hair so maybe they were a bit intimidated? There was a slightly scary bit yesterday when some old woman tried to force me into her garage. I think she was probably just trying to sell me coffee but Iīd just had one and frankly her garage didnīt look all that appealing so eventually I managed to wave her off with my pointy stick. But then the rest of the walk was lovely and another lady sold me some cherries...

Last night was beautiful, really sunny wondering round all the old churches in Villafranca which turned out to be really pretty. And Martina the english lady was there too and she shared some of her olive and avocado salad with me so it was all pretty nice.

This morning I took the "high level scenic" Pradela option out of Villafranca. And man they were NOT kidding about the "high level" part!!!! Crikey! Virtually everyone else just headed flat up the road and about half a kilometer up I was really feeling it! (possibly I am not as fit as I thought?) Honestly I almost died!!

Still once it levelled out at the top (several km on!!!) it was really beautiful and ridiculously quiet! Honestly I didnīt see another pilgrim the whole way along that bit which is surely unheard of on the camino frances??? I even stopped for a picnic (i remembered to stop today!) and usually when you stop on the route about 50 people walk past "Hola!, Hola!, Buen Camino!, Bon Apetit... etc etc" but seriously I saw nobody! I once thought that maybe I saw a pilgrim way off back in the distance but maybe it was a tree?

I think it was probably meant to be that way as after a while once I relaxed it really helped me to conquer my fears about walking alone and I was strolling along really enjoying the walk! The views were amazing - I know I keep sayin that to you guys and you mast be like blah blah great views yadayada shut up! - but seriously they were stunning!! - I took about a million photos but really I think you have to be there with the pine scent and the birds singing and the blue mountains rising up into the clouds around...

I walked into some woods with some really lovely old trees after a while and saw a squirrel! (the first living mammal Iīd seen for hours!) And then I got lost....

To be fair the arrow was pointing the wrong way. I did think it looked a bit dodgy (sometimes when theyīre painted on stones it looks like the stone has moved or turned round or whatever) still I thought Iīd better follow the arrow... Luckily as I came out of some fields that I probably shouldnīt have been walking on a farmer came along and pointed me in the right direction. "Camino no es!" he said and pointed down the hill... "Trabahelo" (mis spelt iīm sure) he said and set off on his tractor shaking his head at the silly pilgrims....

Now of course I had no idea what that meant but I set off in the direction he pointed and it turned out after climbing down a very steep hill that "Trabahelo" (mis spelt) was the next village! It was a real shock to come out at the bottom after 3 hours of no real human contact (unless you count a squirrel and a bemused farmer) into the hordes of other pilgrims tramping up the road in the big pilgrim procession that you seem to get these days...

I was only headed to Vega De somthing-or-other today but when I got there I decided I didnīt fancy it and have moved on to Ruitelan. REALLY big hill coming up tomorrow - truly the contour lines are terrifying!

Still have worked out itīs only another 7 or 8 days to Santiago now!!!!!

Sorry this has been a really long update but I guess cos Iīve got noone to talk to Iīll just tell the net about my travels... Am feeling quite philosopical about it all, after all I almost walked on last year alone from Pamplona (maybe itīs something to do with places beggining with P?) so maybe this is just something I have to do alone and this is MY camino and all that stuff!

But, then, well, this is the CAMINO DE SANTIAGO and truly ANYTHING can happen.......!

As Zoe has proved! :D

Quite exciting really!

Comment Added: Sunday 1st June 2008 - 6:23pm
"Anyone wanting to see what the "REALLY big hill" looks like can go to this site:

http://www.aucoeurduchemin.org/spip/IMG/profil_d_etapes_voir.pdf

and scroll down to number 28 (NOT YOU, Susan, you're better off not knowing!!)

P.S. It was 'Trabadelo' - so near enough!
P.P.S. Try saying NA-RAN-HA (for orange juice - and if you want to be daring and make sure you get a juice rather than an actual organe try adding 'HOOGO DE' in front of it, or - perhaps easier - 'SOOMO DE NA-RAN-HA'. Or you could just try pointing at the machine!
P.P.S. Yes, do talk about 'great views' - great views (and great food of course) is what makes life worth living IMHO."
by Mum

Comment Added: Sunday 1st June 2008 - 6:25pm
"OOPS! 'orange' not 'organe'."
by Mum

Comment Added: Monday 2nd June 2008 - 2:10am
"Crikey, mook. That sounds very exciting. I hope you enjoy being with just yourself, but maybe you'll meet some nice people too.

Don't forget to eat, and don't exhaust yourself!"
by Keith

Comment Added: Tuesday 3rd June 2008 - 1:26pm
"Keep going Susan - i'm loving your work!!"
by Emma


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