La Bodega del Camino (71€, inc. lunch and dinner)
Thunder and pouring rain in the middle of the night… Oh boy! It’s still drizzling in the morning. We are up at 6:30 AM and at this time of year, it is dark outside. Down to the bar for a pilgrim’s breakfast… pan tostada, fresh juice, excellent coffee. We maneuver through town, dodging the rain and adding layers of clothing and pack covers. Finally, fully rain-geared up, we soldier across the bridge out of town. We walk through big open country… blonde grass with oaks, olive trees, and grapevines aplenty. There’s a steep uphill climb into a small town, hard for Nick… first day stuff. We enjoy walking through the town and leave it via an old Roman road. We next hike through Cirauqui, literally “a nest of vipers,” a reference to local bandits once given to waylaying pilgrims. We cross two more bridges, the second over the Rio Salado (“Salty River”), where Nick quotes a warning from an 1137 AD Pilgrim’s Guide. “Beware from drinking its waters or from watering your horses, for this river is deadly.” Which once had locals hovering nearby – sharpening their knives, ready for lunch, and licking their chops. We continue on with mini ups and downs on Roman roads and paths under freeways. The way is filled with pleasant pilgrims, all nodding and smiling… “Buen Camino!” Finally we head up a hill and into Lorca where we have a pleasantly rustic room with open timbers, a bathtub, a King bed, and AC… most welcome! We have lunch at our Bodega at 2:00 PM, splitting meatballs and gazpacho, sharing beer and rose wine. Nap after lunch, then a walk through town, then read. Dinner is from a Pilgrim’s Menu… Spanish potato salad to start, lomo (lamb) stew with pimientos for me (Yum); pollo for Nick.