Don’t let the bed bugs…oh…

Day 14. Monday Jul 16 Hontanas to Fromista. 33km

Did you know the Camino has its own Bed Bug Inspector?

I didnt But I do now because one of the pilgrims – a 18 year old Danish girl was attacked by these vicious creatures at one hostel the other night

She awoke with scores of bites, almost as if an army of bugs were steadily munching their way up her body in marching order. They formed almost a straight line from her ankles to face.

I gave her some anti histamine cream and told her to keep it. Perhaps my sole charitable act so far

Mind you I almost ruined it the next day when I saw her with some postcards and described them as “so last century”

She walked off in a huff

“Oi, I want my cream back!” I didn’t say

Anyway she was approached by the said Bed Bug Inspector whose job seems to be checking out offending hostels, eradicating the brutes and giving emergency treatment to victims. In this case giving out better cream than I had.

Bed bugs have been a longstanding problem on the Camino. My fingers are firmly crossed

On this day we decided to try and condense two stages into one and therefore cross the Meseta in 2 days rather than 3

It meant a 33 km forced march across hot plains with the temperature up into the 30s

It nearly did for some of us.

Scottish Alan developed ankle issues which had him muttering about a rest day. Baz the trainee priest literally staggered into the hostel and collapsed on his bed saying he couldn’t take another step.

Even Dan the Only Socialist in America who is our speed king, felt it over the last 5 km walking alongside a 19th century canal which quite frankly looked like the Grantham canal back home.

Today I passed under the arch of the St Antons monastery.
Here they used to treat victims of St Antons Fire a horrible skin disease akin to leprosy and accompanied by hallucinations that – unbeknown to them at the time – was caused by eating mould bread and barley

The monks had better food so a prolonged stay would cure you.

Alcoves in the arch were used to leave fresh bread for travellers. Today pilgrims leave touching messages written on scraps of paper

A son saying he misses his father but felt his presence alongside him on those long lonely stretches.

A couple praying for a miracle of being able to look into the eyes of their child…

Everyone’s looking for something it seems