Stage 21: Fraga to Lleida

Today marks the beginning of the last week’s walking, and of week 4 of the spiritual exercises. From death to new life.

A long stage walking – 33 km basic, plus 1 at the beginning and 2 at the end, westward along the N-II to the hotel. I checked this morning whether there was any accommodation in the town itself, but everything in was either sold out or very expensive.

Once I started walking, I felt happier. The more so when I spotted Jacinta sitting by the roadside. She was telephoning, so we just waved at each other. I stopped for elevenses in a peach orchard, and there she caught up with me.  She has decided to have a short day, and plans to reach Manresa on November 2, the day I fly back to England. I shall miss her.

We are now in Catalonia, and have green signposts pointing towards Montserrat and corresponding blue ones to Santiago. Plus the usual orange and yellow arrows.

In Alcarraz I found a pizza restaurant and order a “rustic” pizza with specialist cheeses. It was very thin-crust and came with a pizza-cutter as well as knife and fork.

After paths through farmland and orchards, I came to Butsenit where they are planning to build a pilgrim centre. Their current project is a path along the river Segre to Lleida, which is part of the Ignatian Camino. And outside the church is a drinking fountain which works exuberantly.

On the outskirts of Lleida I cut across to walk on the hard shoulder of the N-II to walk to the Queen Isabel hotel. Having had a drink in the cafeteria. I decided it was time to open a tin of tuna and vegetable salad which I have been carrying around for a rainy day.