By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes,
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond,
Where me and my true love were ever wont to gae,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.
Last night our lovely albergue was a tad cold and also a tad noisy! We had a cosy dozy afternoon after our lunch and we shared a bar of chocolate for our dinner before turning in for the night. I was woken around midnight by a bit of a din coming from the bar… someone it seemed was trying to tune a guitar. I must have dozed off but woke around 1:30 and they were still trying to tune that guitar. I was tempted to go and do it for them but I would have needed to leave my warm bed… so instead fell back to sleep. Maggie said it was still going on an hour later… I have no idea what was going on but they seriously needed a few lessons 🙂
We had a short day today so we slept late again. At least today we had breakfast before leaving. We hit the road about 8.30 and oh my goodness it was cold. The sun was rising as we left but as soon as she appeared she disappeared again behind a thick blanket of cloud. It was so cold we dug out hats and gloves. As we left town we noticed the grass was covered in frost… it was literally freezing… no wonder my hands felt so cold!
In front of us we could see a mist hanging over the forest. We were going up all day… gradually so we didn’t notice. We’re heading to the Agavanzal dam and reservoir… before our final destination of Rionegro del Puerto.
We walked through the forest catching glimpses of the water until suddenly it was there… in front of us… gleaming in the cold misty blue of morning.
I was a tad nervous about crossing the dam… it’s high. Very high… huge actually. I kept to the full side of the resevoir… trying to stay focused on how beautiful it looked and trying to avoid seeing the drop on the other side of the road. I coped but about half way across the panic started to rise… I picked up my pace and left Maggie to the views. Once I was closer to the far side I relaxed. I’ve never seen Loch Lomond but for some reason that was the tune I started humming. I suspect that this place isn’t quite as lovely as Scotland’s Lochs but today it was pretty enough for us.
We walked around the waters edge until the arrows sent us on our way… back into the trees. I could have lingered for much longer but we had other paths to cross.
The day got warmer and we slowly removed layers… hats and gloves and hoods and scarves and finally coats. We walked into a tiny village. It seemed like every other house was deserted and crumbling. It felt quite sad and lonely. As we were walking out we saw an arrow that promised coffee… surely not? We followed the arrow and sure enough there was coffee… oh pilgrim heaven indeed.
We chatted with the owner. He’s a missionary from Africa. He has travelled the world for 30 years but moved here 6 years ago with his family and created this albergue. He showed us around this beautiful little home and provided coffee and biscuits. He gave us some history of the area and told us about the wildlife and the wolves!
Also he gave me a very interesting perspective of how Britain is perceived overseas. Often I find myself apologising a little… when introducing myself… I’ll joke that yes I’m British… sorry! But today he told me to stop… he said that Britain has become a little too apologetic and that perhaps we have forgotten all the great things we achieved throughout history. He explained that it’s easy to judge with hindsight but that we should also be proud… and that our modern democracy is a great achievement that many would like to also achieve. It was an interesting perspective and I decided that perhaps he’s right. We can learn from our mistakes but we can also learn from our successes… so yeah… I’m a Brit… and that’s not such a bad thing!
We left him and wondered on. More forest… but this time we wondered if those wolves were watching us. You can find out more about this good man and his albergue here… http://www.pilgrimmission.org
Our forest cleared and we were back in the grasslands. It’s funny how this path kind moves so quickly from one environment to the next. Always changing and always different.
We’re staying in the municipal albergue at Rionegro… 7 euros and it’s very nice. Best of all there is a FANTASTIC restaurant across the street… for a pilgrims fee you eat like a king… and we did. Better still there are 3 Koreans, 1 Taiwanese, 1 German, 1 Spaniard, 2 Canadians and us… we’re amongst pilgrims again… and boozy ones at that. We had a great day!