When last we wrote, Dad and I were in the very tiny village of Viloria de la Rioja, a cluster of ancient dwellings, neighbors, and gardens with no cafe or (so far as we could see) shop of any kind. Our hostess (hospitalera de camino), Orietta runs a small albergue, with no more than a dozen beds, in her home. Dad and I had arrived without any lunch and Orietta told us there was no place in town to find provisions. In fact, the fruit truck had come through yesterday and would not return until next week. We were resigning ourselves to the squashed granola bars in our pockets when Orietta dashed upstairs to bring each of us a banana and small apple. Perfecto.
Orietta and her volunteer assistant (Ana from Brazil) cooked a huge dinner for the peregrinos sheltering together and we say around the table introducing ourselves and enjoying the bountiful meal. At the table were a Brazilian man traveling alone and happy to find another speaker of Portuguese, a 24 year old German man traveling with his mother, and another german woman traveling alone.
Dad and I were first to bed. During the night I began to experience the first signs that all was not well with my digestive system. Knowing that we only had a short five mile walk ahead of us, I took my took my time getting ready and by 8:30 was convinced that the trouble had - er - passed.
We had a very pleasant walk through a misty morning into Belorado, a bustling city compared to tiny Viloria de la Rioja. We sat at one of cafes on the square, shaded by massive sycamore trees, and waited for our albergue to open at noon. A brief shower sent us scurrying for shelter under the stone arcade ringing the perimeter of the plaza. There we found a sign promising that we were only 534,4km from Santiago (337.65 miles).
We checked into the albergue and were able to book a room in the adjoining 'pension' -- private bedrooms with shared bathroom down the hall.
We took a quick nap and set out to see what sights we could find. As we passed the old church, we could see above us in the hillside, the caves where hermits used to dwell. The old hermitage caves have been updated and now there are windows and doors embedded in the hillside, a very novel sight.
We looked into the church and marveled at the opulence (again) and took pictures of the two statues of St James (St Iago - patron of the Camino). One statue portrayed him as a pilgrim, the other commemorated his martyrdom by showing him holding his haloed (severed) head in his arms.
We then strolled down to the Oficina de Turismo to see about a wifi connection (none at our albergue). We were given the password and told that the office was about to close for siesta. To actually use the wifi, we would need to return after they reopened at 5 pm.
Another leisurely afternoon in a cafe on the plaza. I wasn't feeling hungry and just had a small pastry with water. At the cafe, we visited with a couple from Washington D.C. - her second Camino and her husband's first.
When the Turismo opened again Dad and I went over and I text-chatted with Ric while Dad looked at the extensive exhibits. Then we sat on a bench just outside the door and Dad called Mom using the Skype connection on my phone. Amazing technology.
I was feeling ready for another nap and Dad was, as always, accommodating - so back to our room we went. When dinner time rolled around, I found I still was not hungry and opted to stay in bed while Dad went off to dinner.
You can see where this going.
By three a.m. I was full on sick with stomach-intestinal distress. I crawled back to bed and, in the morning, let Dad know that we were going to need to spend another day in Belorado.
As it happened, I was not the only stricken pilgrim. The farmacia was once again consulted. Imodium and electrolyte powder (to mix into my water) were obtained; and I proceeded to sleep away Saturday.
On Sunday, we took the bus to Burgos - the city where El Cid was born and is buried. I was already on the mend but still needing rest, so we checked into a hotel for two nights. I had tea and dry toast for dinner and more of the same for breakfast.
All seems to be well; and now it is just a matter of regaining my strength before we set out again on foot. We are shifting into "tourist" mode for the next few days, scoping out places along the Camino with interesting sights and planning to travel by bus and car until I'm once again eating full meals and confident I can walk far enough to trek from town to town without assistance.
While this has been an effective weight loss regimen, I do not recommend it!
It is now Monday morning and we've been out briefly for my first glimpse of Burgos. I've posted pictures of Orietta's albergue, some of the sights in Belorado, and of the statue of El Cid and of a bridge over the river that runs through Burgos. More to come.