Day 8: Oct. 1/22 Calzadilla de los Barros to Zafra

13.5 Km

Ascent: 682 feet or 208 m

Descent: 839 feet or 256 m

Total: 1521 feet or 464 m

We were already tired, sore, and sick when we started today, not a recipe for being content on the Camino. A few days ago, Mike had tripped over a stick and wrenched his knee which in turn caused his back to ache as he favoured his knee. I had a cold. On top of that, we had started before first light with worries about there being beds available at the albergue in Zafra. Thankfully we had exchanged phone numbers with Bernie, who is much faster on the camino than we are. About 5 km out from Zafra, he called to let us know not to worry, that there was lots of room at the albergue. Relieved, we slowed our pace just a bit.

A lot of our conversation was about a question our dear friend Chub had posted in one of the comments….”And I ask myself, why are you doing this?” Well, today’s conversation was all about that and why on earth we were torturing ourselves, and what we should do about it.

Then we met a beautiful young woman, Tianna, from Madagascar, living in Paris, walking the VDLP backwards, from Santiago to Seville. We chatted a long time about all kinds of things, also sharing info about the way from where we’d come and vice versa. We felt a bit better.

It’s the only pic we took today.

As we were walking through a small town, before reaching Zafra, Mike said he was tired. Less than a minute later, he said he was sweating profusely and thought he was going to black out. We were in the middle of the street. I had him sit down immediately, resting against the wall. Even then, he still said he was going to black out so we laid him down prone on the sidewalk with his pack under his head. And the Camino provides again. The people here are so very kind and caring. (Tears again thinking of the kindness shown us.)

We very quickly attracted the attention of an elderly gentleman, full of concern. He asked if he should call a taxi or an ambulance. We said a taxi would be good. He called but no one answered (same problem we had in the previous town.) Just then a woman drove by, looked, stopped, talked with the gentleman and told us to get in the car, that she would take us to the albergue. She refused payment and that’s when the tears started. She drove us right to the door. All this seemed to have happened in less than 15 minutes.

We got ourselves up the stairs and the hospitaleros took over from there: checked us in, gave us a room for the two of us, fixed us tea, and in general, were so kind. Claire, one of the hospitaleros is from Scotland, so another English speaker. While Mike rested I asked her a million questions which she ever-so-patiently answered. She told me that Extremadura is so called because of the extremes in temperature from extremely hot to freezing! About the Spanish….she told me that Andalusia and Extremadura are known for their dialects and being difficult to understand. About the difficulty of finding food…because there are so many fewer pilgrims on the VDLP than the Frances, there’s not enough business for the restauranteurs to change their hours. She also told me that the “high” season on the VDLP is the spring when there are flowers everywhere!!!! I didn’t know. Deduced some of it but it was good to hear it from her.

We will stay here an extra night. We think we both got overtired and a bit stressed and then the heat on top of it and the increased pace, caused Mike’s mini collapse. He’s back to normal already!!

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