Day 7: Sept. 30/22 Monesterio to Calzadilla de los Barros

29.6 km

Ascent: 1,289 feet or 393 m

Descent: 1,925 feet or 587 m

Total: 3214 feet or 451 m

We both had a kind of bad night…as we walked, in my mind, I called it the “Dark Night of the Soul!” I found myself asking myself why we were doing this….not a soul speaks English, we’d studied Spanish for close to three years and couldn’t understand a soul, couldn’t find food when we were hungry and when we did find food, didn’t want to be carrying any extra weight, blisters on my feet (had nary a one on the Frances), steep climbs, a sore body….I had myself convinced that we should abort and do something else. Before we even began this adventure, we had agreed that if we weren’t enjoying ourselves, we would stop and do something else.

Then, we had a lovely walk….the best of the way so far. Long walk along a lane surrounded by ancient stone walls, sunny, …it was just lovely. Once again, we understood why we love the camino.

We had planned to stay in Fuente de los Barros but every hotel, hostal, and albergue were full…no room at the inn….walked all over town checking and double checking. Stopped off at a bar – we were pretty tired – for a cerveza y limon and tried to call ahead to see if we could get a taxi but, from what we could understand of the rapid fire conversation, we would have had to wait four hours. Next, we went to the bus station to see about a bus…the bus wouldn’t arrive until 5:30 so we decided to walk. It was another 6 km which we hadn’t expected to walk but we made it in record time.

By the time we got to Calzadilla de los Barros we were exhausted. Couldn’t find the albergue – it was brand new – and were wandering around the town looking for it. The town was absolutely deserted, silent, not a soul to be seen, except for one intrepid soul. Mike said, “That looks like a peregrino!” I thought so too and indeed, it was….Bernie….FB Bernie, from the UK who speaks English…what a find!!!! (We have a joke going about “finding each other on the camino.”) Bernie led us to the albergue and there we found a whole lovely group of people….Bernie (UK), Young-Suk (Korea) & Augustine (Spain), Anya (Germany), and Matteo (Poland). We were so happy because we’d heard that because of a big, annual, agricultural fair in Zafra, everything would be full. There was lots of room. Amidst forging new friendships we totally forgot about the strife of the day and got into the “Albergue Routine.”

After a bit of a rest, we walked to the tienda, bought some food, cerveza con limon, and red wine (1 litre for a euro!), had dinner together, washed clothes etc and went to bed. The day before I’d started to develop a small, dry, innocuous cough but this night it blossomed into a sore throat and not feeling great. Somewhere along the way, I picked up a camino bug.

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