05 Jul Travel bug issues
Day 104 – 105 (20/21 June 2013) – We had a nice evening of trying out some local cuisine and chatting with one of the brothers owning the Albergue in the evening.
Unfortunately, Ron does not have such a good night of sleep; around 3:00 in the morning, something he ate together with some possible dehydration is starting to give him trouble. Coming down with some stomach bug in a dorm full of “ladies” must be an uncomfortable experience. Especially, when faced with a bathroom right next to the dorm, which seems to have the loudest flushing system in the world.
Needless to say, we end up staying another day at the Albergue while Ron is trying to get rid of the stomach issue. The folks at the Albergue are awesome! The brothers would come over to bring homemade soup and some coke to help settle Ron’s stomach. They are genuinely concerned and are very kind and helpful. Toward the evening Ron seems to feel better and in the morning we decide to get going.
We have a good day of riding on the El Camino and meet some other pilgrims, one from Japan and another from France. The route is not too bad today and we have more quiet country roads than “single track” to ride on. So we actually are able to put some miles behind us. Toward the evening however, Ron is starting to feel more drained again.
We find another bomberos place (volunteer fire department) to spend the night. Actually, this was their old fire department, which is used as a museum now, but they have a few beds there for pilgrims. We are the only ones there and have the whole place to ourselves. How lucky could we get?
In the morning Ron still does not feel up to par; between the heat and the previous stomach issues, he still feels drained. But he pushes on. On our route today, we meet up again with a Canadian girl, who stayed previously at the Albergue with us. We thought we left all the hikers behind us that were at the Albergue, but apparently this girl is running the El Camino! She tells us of a place, where it may be possible to stay for free in S. Joao Madeira. We really wanted to go past this town, because it was not such a long way from where we stayed last night. Unfortunately, Ron still has some recurrent stomach issues, so we decide to stay here for the night and look for this “Miseri Cordia” place. We ask some people where to go, and once we find it, we are not sure whether we are at the right place.
Apparently, this place is a nursing home!?
Doubtful, we are at the right location, we go inside to inquire about a place to sleep, and to our surprise they do let pilgrims stay the night. Two lovely nurses help us move a couple of mattresses to their activities room. They give us fresh linen, pillows, show us where to find the showers, and they tell us to come for dinner in the dining hall. When we ask what we owe them, they vehemently shake their heads and wave their hands, telling us we do not owe a dime.
Once dinnertime arrives we find Cathrin, our Canadian Pilgrimage friend , who also stays at the nursing home and join her for dinner in the dining hall. It was funny to see all the older folks show us where the “pilgrim table” is, where we appreciate a traditional Portuguese dinner. From what we understand, the Misery Cordia nursing homes where initially founded to help the underprivileged and are now government run. They also play a vital role in letting pilgrims of the El Camino Santiago and El Camino Fatima stay at their locations along their journey.