Sunday, February 13, 2011


The first five days although very hot (~30 C) had been almost perfect for walking. But it was about to change. I was awoken at 6:00 AM by the sound of rolling thunder, lightning flashes and rain.  When we left the albergue turistico at 8:30 it wasn't raining but we could hear the thunder and see the lightning all around us. It felt ominous. We stopped briefly in Calzadilla de los Barros for a coffee

This sign manufactured from fired tiles highlighs the tourist
 attractions in  Calzaldilla de los Barros.

As we continued, the thunder got louder and nearer. The sky to the west became ominously dark and it was apparent that we were about to get very wet. I stopped to get out and put on my poncho but it was already too late.  The rain gushed down like someone up there had flushed a toilet. All I had time for was to drop to the ground by my backpack and use the poncho as a shelter. Heavy rain and hail pounded me for over 15 minutes. That stuff hurts!

The oncoming storm

It rained for the rest of the walk (16 km) to Zafra. The trail was a mess. It seemed to be a conduit for water draining from the adjacent fields and in some portions it was like walking upstream. The trail had become a raging torrent of water which pooled in low areas so there was no choice other than to walk right through it. Where there was no water, the soil had turned to sticky brown clay that stuck to my feet thereby adding to the burden. There is little difference between wet and wetter so I just kept going.

I couldn't help thinking, "There must be an easier way to raise money to eradicate polio."

I was never so happy to get to the albergue so that I could get out of my wet clothes and soaked boots and start drying out. Franck and I looked like drowned rats when we arrived. A long hot shower restored me to humanity.
We stayed at a new private albergue with a lovely central courtyard. The regular rate was 15euros but peregrinos paid 12 euros which included breakfast.

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