Stage 16: Zaragoza to Fuentes de Ebro

Decided to go to the 8 o’clock Mass at the Basilica, getting dressed and packing by torchlight because my roommate was still asleep. I don’t understand much of the readings and sermon – should have tried harder or brought the little book of readings with me.

During the bit at the end of the Eucharistic prayer where we prayed for our departed brothers and sisters, I had a strong impression of my parents looking on from heaven and cheering me on for this pilgrimage, without worrying about it.

Before leaving Zaragoza I got 200 euros out of a cashpoint. Would have had breakfast in a café but it was full with an army brass band.

A very pleasant way to leave the city, just follow the river.  My first stop was in Cartuja Baja where I had an orange juice and a doughnut in a bar. The instructions for leaving the town did not make sense, so I followed the signs for GR99, and soon saw some with the orange arrows for OUR Camino painted on.

My phone rang: tonight’s host telling me the hostal would be closed from 3 to 6.  So I should slow down.

Just as the track approached a motorway, I climbed the steps to an observation platform to enjoy the few. A pilgrim appeared from the other direction, and I hailed her: Txell from Catalonia, en route for Santiago or wherever the Spirit takes her. She graduated in Fine Arts a year ago, and was working in a factory over the summer.

In the next village, El Burgo de Ebro, I lunched: tortilla and beer, coffee and a doughnut, and read through the 4 gospel texts. The instructions to the 70 about travelling light (Luke 10:1-9) didn’t match the contents of my rucksack.

Very hot, hardly any shade. Reached Fuentes and quarter to six, a few minutes to sit and relax before finding my way to the hostal.

They were not serving dinner on Fridays so I found a bar, and met another pilgrim, Treus from Maastricht. who has walked and amazing number of routes, some beginning at her home.

I had posted on Facebook a request for advice about my detour via Quinto. The advice was Don’t! But it’s a bit late to change the plan.