July 14, Sunday. Bastille Day
Foncebadon had a certain legendary aura in my mind. All the books I read mentioned packs of wild dogs or wolves, and that the village was almost abandoned.
We climbed and enjoyed with the sound of rolling thunder as music in our ears. But the thunder was getting closer and closer. Finally, I stopped to get out my poncho. Mostly, I didn't want my phone to get wet. Monica caught up to me. She said, "There is something very poetic about this." She was going to enjoy walking in the rain in this beautiful garden. We hadn't seen rain since the many weeks ago when I bought my poncho.
I felt the first drops of rain as we adjusted our ponchos to cover our packs. Then to our surprise, it started to hail. The wind was blowing, I could see flashes of lightening. We tried to walk, but the 1/2" hail really hurt when it hit my hands and legs. Occasionally, there were some 3/4" hail, and after a while, 1/4". We stood with our backpacks to the wind in the pelting hail, and in some cover of branches, but our bare legs were taking a beating.
I started to worry that no one knew that we were on that path, and what to do if this didn't stop. Hypothermia crossed my mind.
Monica was in sandals and socks. The water dripped off my poncho and onto my socks. My feet and boots were drenched.
We waited for what seemed an eternity. Would the storm slow down, or was it just turning round and round above us?
Monica was saying, "Please turn to rain. Please turn to rain." I was thinking, "if this turns to rain, there will be flooding on the steep, rocky road we had been walking. It was a bad situation, but finally the hail started to slow down, and we made a break for the town 2km away.
I had soaked boots and socks already and looked for the easiest path up. Walking in ankle high hail was an interesting experience. Monica started to say her feet were cold and she couldn't feel her toes. She began to sound a bit hysterical to me, but she said later she was just cold. ( Edie, no more Shackleton for me!)
We stopped for her to change into dry socks and boots. I was standing in cold water in mine. As she changed I stood beside her calmly and said everything would be alright, that we would be okay. Inside, I was worried. The water was gushing down the mountain side, hail had stopped but was covering the ground. Wind blowing like mad, occassional lightning and me holding metal hiking poles.
Monica in dry boots took to higher ground and made our path. We went as fast as we could while still being careful not to slip and fall. This could have turned into a really bad situation. Each time there was a loud clap of thunder I would answer loudly with, "We hear you Santiago!" And inbetween I just repeated, "Help us Santiago."
Finally we saw the town, the rain had stopped but overhead another storm was blowing in. We got to the paved road and what was coming downhill towards us but 3 cows. Monica said, "Oh, my friends have come to greet us." But she was also worried that they might charge us. They stepped aside and let us pass. We thanked them and they shook their heads back.
We hobbled into this one horse abandoned town soaked to the bone. There were 4 places for pilgrim's to stay.
I'd said I wanted a private room with hot water. Monica wanted a bowl of soup. Santiago had given us everything we'd asked for in exchange for our nightmare experience. Thank you Santiago.