We rise and pack but the laundry is still not dry so it gets packed in plastic bags and stowed away, hoping for some sun later. No pastry shops available this morning, so it has to be grilled ham and cheese with coffee. While we are eating it rains again. We refuse to be discouraged. It’s the last gasp of the storm we tell ourselves.
When we leave the rain has stopped. Our walk today is through beautiful gardens and grape arbors along small rivers feeding into the Lima. The trees and vines are heavy with water and the slightest touch brings a rush of little drops cascading down. However we see a beautiful rainbow which promises clearing weather. It just doesn’t tell us how long it will take. We encounter several periods of rain which is misty….what my parents used to call ‘spitting’. It isn’t onerous but it eventually makes everything damp. Fortunately, we dressed for rain just in case. Mark found a good stick for walking so he cleaned it in the rain puddles and looked like an experienced trekker.
The path led almost entirely on foot paths, but we pass under the enormous pillars of the A3 and later the A4. We are aware that the paths are going upward more and more steeply, but they are smooth and manageable. We stop for a break at a little cafe/mercado which is the last place where provisions of any kind are available. We sit on the patio in the sun hoping it will dry off some of our outer wear. Two more people arrive as we are leaving. One, a Scottish woman catches up with us on the path and after a while of chatting and walking together, she outstrips us easily.
Then the beast that is this leg of the Camino strikes. In spite of the beauty of the pine and eucalyptus forests, the path grows ever more steep, narrow, rutted and scattered with loose rock. Mark scrambles up the path with the skill of a mountain dweller and waits patiently at each level spot. Tannis struggles along and stops for breathers joining Mark to wait for the old man who has to use both sticks for each step to struggle up the mountain. Walking 22km in 4 hours in Winnipeg just isn’t real preparation for this. Hydration stops are critical. We are drenched and it is not from rainstorms. Our inside clothes are now wetter than our outside. Suddenly, after a particularly nasty stretch of scree, we are at the top. Sardine, tomato and cheese sandwiches with copious gulps of water never tasted so good.
Looking back, we were actually pretty impressed with ourselves. The downward path was only occasionally rough but we wandered through even more verdant gardens and villages. Then a sign at the beginning of a path…..Alberge 2000 meters. It is a lovely old school house refurbished to house 35 Peregrinos. The picture shows the front but fortunately we did not have to climb the stairs at the last minute because the walking path comes in at the rear.
Tannis has developed a couple of nasty blisters so rather than walk into town for supper, Mark and I went grocery shopping to make a pasta dinner at home. Mark cooked, Bob went to a nearby cafe to blog and Tannis applied some analgesic I found at the store. Just in case the stuff doesn’t work, she also has a glass of wine to kill the pain.
The rainbow promise was fulfilled. It is now a sunny, warm day. We should sleep well tonight.