Sunday, May 18, 2014

St. Juan de Ortega, May 17

lToday was a 24.3 K day. The start of our day was very cold. We are at a fairly high altitude and I think at 8 AM it is no more than 4 degrees. Those narrow streets are like wind tunnels and it feels like you are in a meat cooler. However, with the sunshine and a good hill we quickly warm up.
Today we initially wandered through 4 villages. We always look for plastic tables and chairs which are good indicators of cafe con leche. Then there is the daily quest for fresh bread and fruit for our picnic lunch. 
After the last village we climbed a very lengthy hill. But when we reached the top there were picnic tables and we had our lunch. 
After our lunch the trail led into a massive pine forest. There seemed to be no end to this. Luckily we were distracted by the lovely pinks and whites of large heather bushes as well as the bright yellow of broom. After a good two hours of this we finally descended out of the forest and into a lovely green valley where St. Juan de Ortega is situated. Population: 20. Altitude: 950 M. It caters mainly to pilgrims, with one hotel and one albergue. 
So far we are doing very well with few complaints. Blisters are healing and feet are toughening up. Everyone is kind and there is always something to eat somewhere. The scenery continues to amaze! 

Jeff carrying our fresh bread for lunch.
Diane and I still smiling at the beginning of a new day.
Diane and Bert ascending a very steep hill.

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