Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Day 3: Puente la Reina to Lorca

Tuesday 21 June:
Today we walked 15,89 kms from Puente la Reina to Lorca.  We are staying at the albergue La Bodega del Camino.  We have an entire little dormitory to ourselves.  

It's strange, when we were planning our walk, this day didn't concern me in the least, on paper it looked very do-able and ordinary, it came after a short day, it wasn't too far, no obvious challenges.  It looks like nothing on the elevation chart above, right?  The day that had me waking in the middle of the night in a cold sweat was day 1, which turned out to be a breeze.  Well THIS day turned out to be my nemesis, totally unexpected!

We were up at 06:00, hoping to beat the heat.  Lots of pilgrims were streaming out of Puente la Reina.  The bridge from which the town gets its name was beautiful, with a full moon hanging in the morning sky.  

Loved the storks nesting on the steeple

I have a "thing" for doors

The path meandered next to a river for a while, then the climb began... up, up, up to Maneru, it was an unexpected challenge. (well, duh, if I had looked properly at the elevation chart beforehand it wouldn't have been unexpected...)

We stopped at a bar in Maneru where we had delicious bacon and egg rolls and some fruit juice.  

Then it was off again - a lovely section heading to Cirauqui.  

We hoped to grab a cold beer in Cirauqui, but never came across a bar.  Heading out of Cirauqui there were a couple of challenging downhill sections, with big rocks and uneven stones.  

It was at about this point that the heat started getting to me.  We stopped in a patch of lovely thick shade, took off our shoes and rested for a while.  There was very little shade on this section and it was HOT, over 32 degrees celsius by this time.

The walk after this point was brutal.  In retrospect I think we were a little dehydrated and I am always a hot mess in the heat.  And then there was this long tortuous climb, everyone was complaining bitterly and looking pretty ragged.  I took terrible strain.  Just when I was thinking I was going to expire we came upon.... a saint... a heavenly creature worthy of a halo and wings....an elderly gentleman, parked on the side of the road offering cold drinks, beer, fruit and hard-boiled eggs, for a donation.  No cold drink ever tasted so good!  (By this stage the little water we had left was warm and gross.)  I was ready to kiss this gentleman, but instead Grant gave him 5 euros.

On we continued, by this point, even after the stop to have the cold drink, my heart rate just wouldn't come down.  I was feeling crap to put it mildly.  We went really slowly, stopping often.  Entering town we came upon a water fountain (man I love those water fountains!)  where we stopped for a long, ice-cold drink. It was amazing! 

We finally...... FINALLY.... arrived at our delightful albergue, where the proprietor gave us a dormitory all to ourselves.  Lovely!  

patiently waiting for me

A pretty house as we entered Lorca

We showered, did our washing and then went downstairs for a lunch of ham rolls and cold drinks.  After lunch we had a siesta and then took a short stroll around town.  It was still so, so hot!  For dinner we all chose a delicious paella.  Some tinto de verrano was enjoyed by Paula and me and we finished it off with an ice-cream for dessert.    All's well that ends well!

Flowers that brightened our way today

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