Thursday, June 16, 2011

Camino De Santiago: Day 9-Belodorado to San Juan de Ortega

We woke up in Belodorado to a beautiful sunny day. Unfortunately it would end up being a long, and somewhat painful, day on the trail. 

Church built into the cliff

Finally some trees

Civil war monument

After several stops to sit in the shade and rest...and share snacks--we found out that those cherry/cream gummy straws that I love make a fantastic energy boost! : )--we made it to San Juan de Ortega. The rocky hills and long, long stretches of flatlands had taken their toll. I was in a lot of pain by the end of the day, so while several people continued on to Ages, which was only a few kilometers more and had a few more restaurants and shops, I stayed in San Juan. 

While there was one cafe in town and NOTHING else, the interesting part of San Juan de Ortega was the fact that there was a Romanesque church and a monastery. Even better--the pilgrim's hostel was IN the monastery. It wasn't a 5 star hotel by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a fun experience. 

The monastery was open to visits and they just let you wander around. This is the tomb of Saint Juan de Ortega (dated to the 12th century)

Pilgrim friend Jaeky from Korea

By the time the Camino was over I had a much better understanding of all things Romanesque

Romanesque capital that was involved in the "Miracle of light"--during the equinoxes a beam of light would enter the room and progress from scene to scene on this capital which is decorated in nativity scenes. 

Inside part of the cloister

Half of the monastery was in ruins--which in my opinion only made it more interesting

The neighboring church was also full of Romanesque tidbits

The tomb of San Juan de Ortega--It's believed that along with Saint Domingo, from the town down the road, Saint Juan built the monastery to help pilgrims coming through on the Camino de Santiago

San Juan was great...except for one thing. That one cafe I told you about? Well it shut down the kitchen at 4:00 PM. I made the mistake of showering and washing clothes before going to find food. My friend Juanma came back from lunch, saw me still in the Albergue at 3:50 and told me that the kitchen closed at 4. I made a beeline for the cafe and asked the waiter what I could order. The reply?

Nothing. Kitchen closed.

Now, I have been around the block in Spain enough times to know that rules are flexible. I thought surely this guy was just playing tough and was going to give me some food.

No dice.

Bread? Could I at least buy some bread?

No. "The kitchen is closed. We have things to do," was his response. I couldn't believe it.

So what did we do? Well when the place opened back up at 7:30 we were all standing outside waiting around like hungry stray dogs. We ordered and, unfortunately for me, all of the meals came with Morcilla (blood sausage). And do you know what else our meals came with?

An entire basket of bread per person. (I was like where was this bread when I wanted it 4 hours ago?! The answer I'm sure was, just inside the kitchen.)

Also, a picture whose advice I should have headed the next day. But more on that next time...

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