May 13, Lleida

We left MontserOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERArat around 11 A.M., misty and overcast, via a route that went up the hill…my legs were not prepared for this and I struggled to the top in my lowest gears. Once at the top, we rollercoastered on a narrow two-way mountain road, with steep drop offs. The vistas were breathtaking. On our descent, we met Ishmael Izquierdo, a cyclist who read Aldofo’s blog about meeting us. He lead us about 2 km to an easily missed left-hand turn at Can Maçana. Another angel watching over us! He took our pictures to post in a comment.

After 5 hours and 36 km (22 mi), we arrived at Jorba where we stayed at the Alberg St. Jaume.  Again, we were the only two pilgrims at the hostel. The pastor, Enric Garcia, cooked us a 5-star meal worth every cent of 13 E.  He is a teacher of philosophy and Catalan, presides over 30 towns, and created and runs the three-year-old albergue. I highly recommend this place for sleep, meals, and good conversation.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe next day we left for Cervera.  We biked uphill to Panadella where we stopped for breakfast.  Good thing for us that we did–there was no other eatery for miles. Leaving the restaurant, the air was cold and I put on a fleece jacket, ear warmers, and long-fingered bike gloves. It is in the low 50’s and the headwind makes it feel colder. Our descent was quick, until the headwinds started and we had to pedal to move forward. At last, and exhausted, we arrived at Cervera, which is on the top of hill. Both of us walked our bikes to the top, too tired to pedal further.

We stayed with the nuns, at the Cami de Sant Jaume de Galicia. The nuns’ singing impressed me more than the monks in Montserrat. Sister Lucia, a Basque woman, greeted us at the door and was a very kind and concerned person.  She is one of the six elderly sisters at the convent.

The next morning we departed around 8:30, but it took us almost an hour to find our way out of the city. After following, well-intentioned directions that had me walking the bike up and down cobbled-stone pathways (man, was I scared!) we realized that had we followed the Ctra. Catalunya  to Av. Tarraga we could have easily picked up the N.II, which is the route next to the highway that we are following.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStopped for breakfast at Tarrago at a pastry shop called El Pati. Riding is hard.  Just before Porquerrisses, we stopped to rest and warm up in the sun, leaning on a wall and out of the wind. After riding 36 miles, mostly downhill, but with a headwind, we arrived at Lleida were we are taking a zero day–a day without biking. Last night we ate at Mamilu. The menu of the day was 14.50 E, more than we paid for most meals on the Camino Frances, but worth it. Cathy Collins, one of the pilgrims I interviewed for Women of the Way, said that for only a few  Euros more, one could find good food; this was one of those fantastic meals. Overall, the Camino St. Jaume has been more costly than the Camino Frances; but that was two years ago. Once we get to Logrono, we will see if this remains to be true or if the prices have risen as the economy declines.

About The Author

Jane V. Blanchard

I am an award-winning author of the “Woman On Her Way” book series, writing about my travel adventures. For more information on the books, please visit janevblanchard.com.

I started the “Woman On Her Way” travel blog in 2013 to share my experiences as I explored 13 countries with my husband, traveling by ship, foot, bike, bus, train, and plane. Dennis and I continue to make memories and hope you will enjoy following along.

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