Friday, December 13, 2013

Camino 2013 - Day 17: Tosantos To Agés

People started to leave Tosantos really early.  I guess everyone else felt just as weirded out as us.  Sadly, there was one more bad thing left to happen.  When the lights were turned on you could see the bugs crawling up the walls - they were bedbugs.

Id both heard the stories of bedbugs on the Camino.  Before I left home I treated my backpack, dry sack, and sleeping bag liner (what I slept in every night) with permethrin, a long lasting insecticide used by campers and hikers.  Gv had done the same.  I ended up with no bites.  Gv was not so lucky and had bites on her arm and face ... parts outside her sleeping liner.  Two other women had bites as well.  I was lucky.  I was sleeping right next to Gv.  I guess she smelled yummier than me.

A sunflower ... with heart.
After evacuating the albergue, and fighting that itchy feeling, we walked on.  I was dreading this day.  Last time I'd struggled crossing the Montes de Oca.  I remember them as unending.  Before we tackled this hilly stretch. we stopped in Villafranca Montes de Oca and ate some breakfast.  We ran into a few pilgrims we hadn't seen since Torres del Rio.  With renewed energy we left town and began climbing the trail.

A message left along the way.
Everyone I'd seen I'd warned about this stretch.   It turned out to be a trick of my memory.  This section wasn't nearly as bad as I remember.  Things were in different order and seemed much shorter than last time.  Gv agreed that it wasn't as bad as last time for her either.  We decided the Camino had been improved along this stretch and possibly re-routed.  It may have also been the nine days of hill climbing on the Aragones that had prepared us better.  This would happen a lot along the way.  Things that were hard before weren't.  Things that were easy ... not so much.

A splash captured in time.
Agés, our stop for the day, is a nice town.  It is obvious that they have geared the place to support pilgrims.  There are good services and the people are friendly to the pilgrims.  We checked into a nice albergue and we threw every piece of clothing except what we were wearing into a hot washer.  We inspected our packs and found no signs of bedbugs.  The itchy feeling started to fade.

I took a nice nap this afternoon.  My naps were not as deep and satisfying as last time.  Not sure why but it might be the fact I wasn't taking as many painkillers.  I still took the naps and they still felt good in the afternoon.  I napped a lot on this Camino.

More of the people we met in Torres del Rio showed up in Agés.  It was nice to see some "old" faces.  Everyone was having a good time it seemed.  An older lady from the Netherlands (I think), who we'd met earlier on the way, was celebrating her 71st birthday.  Sadly she too was suffering from bedbug bites.

The low beams of the albergue.  My head can tell you just how low they were - Ouch!
The albergue was run by a married couple.  The man ran the front office and the wife provided the evening meal. Tonight it was paella and it was delicious.  The owner asked if anyone wanted more.  A pilgrim said he would love a little bit more.  The owner brought in a plate with a tiny little blob of paella.  Strange looks went around and the owner started laughing.  He was such a kidder.  We all got a laugh.  The albergue experience is made or broken by the attitudes of the owners and this guy seemed always happy.

We thanked the wife for the wonderful meal and we went to bed with clean clothes.  The bad memories of Tosantos faded like Gv's itchy bumps ... with time.

Pictures can be found in my 2013 Camino de Santiago Google Photos album.

Total Distance on Day 17: 23 km ( 14.29 Miles)
Total Distance Walked: 384 km (238.61 Miles)

Approximate Track of the day's hike.
[Click on map for a larger version]

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