Day 4 (May 8)
This was Lauren’s first day of really pushing herself. She started the morning in Zariquiegui and her goal was the town of Lorca. She hiked over a mountain range and through lots of hills and finally made it to Lorca – a hike of 28 kilometers, or 17 miles!!!
The pilgrim’s hostel, or albergue, in Lorca was lovely and Lauren made a great many new friends. She walked much of the day with the mayor of a small town from Slovenia and made friends with a 78-year old Italian gentleman over dinner who is also walking the Camino . No surprise there – Lauren is always charmed by older men. 😉
Day 5 (May 9)
Despite the fierce blisters, Lauren woke excited. Today proved to be a slightly shorter hike than the massive hike the day prior. Still, she marched a very respectable 19km, or 12 miles – nothing to slouch at! Much of the day was rainy and the terrain hilly. Today took her to the beautiful village and rolling hills of Villamayor de Monjardin.
I spoke with Lauren on the phone this morning. Though our conversation was rushed, it was wonderful to hear her voice. First of all, Lauren sends her great thanks to everyone who sent their love and greetings. She was greatly moved to hear about your outpouring of support. Also, many of the places she stops have wi-fi, so she can check up on this blog. So if you want to get a message to Lauren, post a comment below and she will be able to read it the next time she checks in. Also, she’s trying to get me some photos to post, but we’ll see if that works or not.
Lauren has all the supplies she needs – she packed perfectly. She will need to stop and get additional bandages for her feet – the blisters are painful, but bearable. So far, the most difficult part of walking has been her calves. The last two days have been lots of hills and mountainous terrain, so her calves are getting a real workout! Also, she is still jet-lagged and has had some difficulty getting to sleep, but this should get better over the next few days.
There are many other pilgrims on the road, and Lauren is making many new friends. She is exercising all of her language skills. She speaks Spanish constantly, and has made use of her limited French, German, and Italian.
A typical day involves waking early and beginning walking. She walks through the morning and most of the afternoon. She stops mid-late afternoon at a village where she can find an albergue and a bed. She reports that the beds in the albergues fill up quickly, and in these small villages, there may only be one hostel or pencion. She got lucky today and got one of the last two spots. Had she been a little later, she would have been stuck walking another 11km to the next town!
After getting into her room, she treats her blisters, changes into her white gypsy skirt and a blouse, and puts on mascara and lipstick! Then she goes down to the common room of the albergue to visit with other travelers. Everyone is very friendly, and all of the other travelers think Lauren is very chic.
The vistas are unbelievably beautiful – photos will not do them justice. She is not a big fan of the camera, but is taking a few photos of the places she is visiting. Hopefully we’ll get to see some of them soon.
The food in in the albergues is inexpensive and very simple. Many dishes are meat-based, so it’s good that she brought along many nutrition bars to supplement her diet. She doesn’t like lugging around the extra weight, but having several boxes of them has proved to be helpful. She’s hiking through the Rioja region of Spain, famous for their wines, so even the cheap house wine (1 euro / $1.30 a glass) is superior to a $15 glass you might get in a nice restaurant in DC.
Tomorrow she hopes to reach the town of Viana. Once she gets out of the hills, there is a 200km stretch of flatlands. She’s thinking of renting a bicycle, but we’ll see. I updated the google map with her trip so far.
Overall, Lauren sounds very happy. My heart is with her on each step that she takes. I am so proud of her for doing this, and continually moved and impressed by her commitment, her drive, and her enthusiasm.