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Lovely breakfast send off from our host and hostess at Inxtauspe. Big blister operations before take off with 7 different opinions on the best treatment. Only a short day today so we afford to meander and take our time.

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Lovely walk along a river/creek until we reach a bar for a coffee and pastry stop. Methinks calories in are going to exceed calories out today.

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Onwards into the little town of Bolibar, the ancestral home of Simōn Bolivar, where there is now a museum celebrating his life and achievements. Namely the Liberation of Venezuela from Spanish colonialists. No wifi to check out more info. But a good guy.

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After the museum, lunch in local bar. Jude and I braved Lingua (tongue). Anna was in heaven with a plate of pasta. Cheese and membrillo (quince) is available for postre but I’ve got to stick with yogurt to counteract antibiotics.

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A beautiful cobbled path takes us to the Monastery Zenaruzza, a fabulous cloistered building in a tranquil and peaceful setting. An exhausted French guy who has walked from St Michel in Normandy is already waiting for opening time at 4pm. On snooping around we find at least a dozen pilgrims ensconced in various dormitories. The guide book says only 11 places available. Strange. We think we have reserved 7 beds through Peter (our best Spanish speaker). At 4pm, Father Rāmon appears and greets Peter like long lost brother. We are escorted to a posh new part of the building and given individual rooms with en suite facilities. What IS going on? Understandably, French chap is confused and pissed off. “I was here first” he bleats. And indeed he was. So feeling a tad embarrassed by our overtly preferential treatment. Makes a change though.

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Happy to find out that French guy and others are not turned away. They are in the “Donativo” quarters (free or donation). We are apparently paying 35€ each for bed, breakfast and evening meal but we are all chuffed to bits with our unaccustomed luxury.

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A few rare hours to ourselves. Jude and I venture into the lowly pilgrim quarters to see if there are any tea making facilities. A group of 5 Irish brothers are lying on their bunks counting the number of dead people in their street, presumably to pass the time. Jude performs the monologue “Albert an t’ Joobilee” in exchange for 2 tea bags and use of microwave. Move outside with the luke warm tea and Father Rāmon appears eerily out of the shadows in his white robes gesticulating for us to beat it. Not sure if he is unhappy about us fraternising with men or with lowlife, or both. Feel about 15 years old and do what we are told.

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Still in acquiescent but inquisitive mode, we go to Vespers in the church at 7.30pm. Moving singing especially from the organist and Bernt does a sterling job of joining in.

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Waiting for supper is embarrassing as we know we have food and wine in our package and the table is set for 7. The other pilgrims wait around in hopeful anticipation and are rewarded with a big pan of veg soup and loaf of bread. We are escorted into the dining room for a very civilised meal. Just don’t know how this happened but many thanks to our Swede Peter for arranging.

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