A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Camino Forum Donation

To be lost on the Camino

stgcph

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
#1
It’s not easy, but you can get lost on the Camino. It happened to me this year and maybe it happened to others as well. I guess it’s a case of bad decisions and stubbornness, but, anyway, here is my story of being lost on the Camino:

On the stage from Fromista to Carriòn de los Condes, you can take the Villovieco variant by turning right in Poblaciòn de Campos and so avoid walking along the main road for the remaining 15 kilometers or so. It’s a much nicer walk starting through flat fields and continuing on a nice path along the small Ucieza river –and only a few kilometers longer than the alternative.

At some point, I think after around 5 km, you cross a small, paved road where yellow arrows point to the left. Straight as I am, I followed the arrows only to discover that they were leading to some albergue and eventually back to the main road. So I turned back and resumed the path along the river. There were occasional Camino markers along the path, so though I was alone, I felt at ease.

After having walked for around another hour, I came to another small road perpendicular to the path with yellow arrows pointing to the left. But on the other side of the road, where the path seemed to continue, there was a signpost with information on the Camino, and I thought ‘Oh no, you won’t fool me again with those yellow arrows’ and I continued on the path along the small river.

The path got increasingly narrow until eventually it wasn’t really a path but only two faint wheel tracks with dry grass on them indicating, that they hadn’t been used for some time. This might have been a good time for the clear headed to turn back –but I didn’t. I had the (very hot) sun in my back and I was thinking something like ‘apparently not many have walked here, but I am generally walking in the right direction and if it gets a bit rough, I can handle it’.

So I kept walking for another 20 minutes or so, and then the tracks simply stopped. There was still a faint indication of a track, where the tall, dry grass seemed to have been bent down in the forward direction. This would have been another good point to decide to turn back, but I didn’t. Soon after, I found myself fighting my way through a wilderness of bushes and waist-high thistles and nettles, but somehow in my mind I had now gone beyond ‘the point of no return’ –no way was I going to walk back 5-6 kilometers through this terrain to pick up the yellow arrows.

So I bulldozed on and my right shin started to hurt quite badly (I had been treated some days before in Burgos for a bad case of Tendonitis), the sun was getting really hot, there was not a wind, I was low on water and around a zillion aggressive flies had decided, that the only aspiration in their lives was to sit on my face.

Shortly after came the point where after all maybe I had to turn back: A two-meter deep ditch with steep banks blocked the path and extended into the horizon on the left. The bottom was covered with weeds, so I couldn’t see how deep the water was. But I was getting stubborn (and perhaps a little desperate) so I slid down the side and into the water, which luckily was only ankle-deep. It was quite a hassle getting up on the other side with backpack, bum-bag and walking pole and I was wet and muddy and drenched in sweat.

The tree line along the river now took a turn to the right and two sights appeared: Across the fields in the distance, I could see the roofs of some houses and right in front of me an old, battered sign on a rotting wooden pole saying “Coto privado”. My first thought was why someone would put up a sign out here in the middle of nowhere, where apparently nobody had been for ages, and my second thought was “Coto privado” or not, I’m not going back. As it was, I don’t think that I could have gone back, that I could have crossed that ditch one more time. I was tired and dirty and thirsty and my right shin felt like it was on fire. At that point, my emergency plan was to cross over the fields directly towards the village, call a taxi and call it a day; but then I realized that I couldn’t do that. Because I was walking on higher ground relative to the fields on the left (and because I had plenty to do fighting through the vegetation) I had not noticed, that at some point the fields had changed from harvested crop fields into a vast field of semi-dead sunflowers. They were around two-and-a-half meters high, with stems as thick as my walking pole and there was no more than 15-20 centimeters between them. I wouldn’t have gotten far trying to walk through them and I guess it wouldn’t have been a popular thing to do – and I was already a trespasser.

So I just continued along the tree line by the river, there was not much else I could do. The tree line swung left and right, and the next time I had a view across the fields, the roofs of the small city had disappeared. These small cities on the Meseta have this way of suddenly appearing just to disappear again behind one of the low hills.

On I walked and I started to feel a bit dizzy and I have to admit, that the thought that I could just grab my phone and call for help crossed my mind. But no, you don’t do that.

Eventually I crashed through some thorny bushes and there, just in front of me, was a narrow, dusty dirt road. I never thought one could be so happy to see a narrow dirt road, but in my blurred mind was just the thought that a road, narrow and dusty or not, had to lead to somewhere. I sat down on a rock for a moment and tried to lick the last moisture out of my water bottle. I had lost all sense of direction and had no idea if I should turn left or right –there was nothing to see in either direction. Eventually I turned left for no reason in particular except that a sharp right turn would be against my general political attitude.

It was hot and it was dry and for every step, the powdery grey dust on the road whirled up and settled on my wet shoes and sweaty legs (I was walking in shorts), and the story of Lot’s wife came to mind.

The road was leading up a low hill and after just 15 minutes or so of walking, a church tower started to emerge slowly behind the hill and a few minutes later, there is was, a small pueblo –what a relief!

When, after another 20 minutes, I walked into the village, it was around 3 PM, high siesta-hour, and the streets were all deserted, there was not a sound, not a dog barking, not a cat lying in the shadow. It was actually a bit eerie walking through the streets in the heat and calmness and silence, with all the windows of the old houses blinded and all doors closed, while the inhabitants were probably taking an afternoon nap. I was so tired and so thirsty that I said to myself, that if I didn’t meet a living soul soon, I’d have to knock on some random door and ask for some water and if they’d call me a taxi.

I turned a corner, and there was a man in the street walking towards me. He was very well dressed in a shiny white shirt and tie, and somehow he looked a bit ‘out of context’ on the dusty street in this small, rural village. I asked him (in Spanish, I believe) if there was a bar or tienda or casa that was open, and after some attempts and some arm-flapping he finally got the message and made a random gesture up the street and around the corner.

I thanked him and proceeded as directed, and yes! I heard voices and yes! I saw a small group of people around some tables outside an old house. I wasn’t too aware of good manners at that point, so I just walked by and through the fly-curtain and into the bar room. There were 8-10 men standing at the bar, and for a brief moment, I felt like a stranger walking into a saloon in the Wild West: All conversation stopped and all faces turned towards me. And I must have been quite a sight: Drenched in sweat, covered in mud and dust, torn on arms and legs and probably looking a bit desperate. I dumped my backpack by the entrance, and staggered up to the bar.

Camino angels come in different shapes and disguises, and I met two that day. The first was the young woman behind the bar, who just looked at me and smiled, poured a big glass of cold water and pushed it across the bar towards me. It is remarkable how little it sometimes takes to recuperate. After that glass of water, and another one, I was no longer on the brink of falling flat on the floor and I asked the bar-woman where I was and told her how I got here and why I appeared the way I did. She quickly sensed that she had to speak slowly in order for me to understand, whereas the men were talking and asking questions so rapidly, that I didn’t understand much. The bar-woman relayed what I had told her to the men, which caused a lot of talking and smiles and laughter.

It turned out that I was in the small pueblo of San Mamès de Campos about 4-5 km’s off the Camino where people had hardly seen a pilgrim before. Then appeared the second Camino Angel in the shape of a tall youngish man. He said something to the bar-woman, which she slowly relayed to me (nobody spoke any English, of course). It turned out that he lived in Carriòn de los Condes and offered to give me a ride when he was going back in a short while. He was standing at the bar drinking some clear liquid out of a small, flat bottle which wasn’t very reassuring, but at the state I was in I would have gladly accepted if the devil himself had offered me a ride. All went well; he dropped me off in front of the monesterio Zan Zoilo, gave me a ‘high five’ and raced off in his old car.

I spent the next hour sitting in the late afternoon sunshine wiping mud and dirt off my shoes and legs and shorts and picking off hundreds of small hard burdocks, which seemed to be glued onto my socks and t-shirt. This was carried out in the company of a large glass of cold beer and it didn’t take long before I had convinced myself, that this had been a good day after all.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#5
It’s not easy, but you can get lost on the Camino. It happened to me this year and maybe it happened to others as well. I guess it’s a case of bad decisions and stubbornness, but, anyway, here is my story of being lost on the Camino:

On the stage from Fromista to Carriòn de los Condes, you can take the Villovieco variant by turning right in Poblaciòn de Campos and so avoid walking along the main road for the remaining 15 kilometers or so. It’s a much nicer walk starting through flat fields and continuing on a nice path along the small Ucieza river –and only a few kilometers longer than the alternative.

At some point, I think after around 5 km, you cross a small, paved road where yellow arrows point to the left. Straight as I am, I followed the arrows only to discover that they were leading to some albergue and eventually back to the main road. So I turned back and resumed the path along the river. There were occasional Camino markers along the path, so though I was alone, I felt at ease.

After having walked for around another hour, I came to another small road perpendicular to the path with yellow arrows pointing to the left. But on the other side of the road, where the path seemed to continue, there was a signpost with information on the Camino, and I thought ‘Oh no, you won’t fool me again with those yellow arrows’ and I continued on the path along the small river.

The path got increasingly narrow until eventually it wasn’t really a path but only two faint wheel tracks with dry grass on them indicating, that they hadn’t been used for some time. This might have been a good time for the clear headed to turn back –but I didn’t. I had the (very hot) sun in my back and I was thinking something like ‘apparently not many have walked here, but I am generally walking in the right direction and if it gets a bit rough, I can handle it’.

So I kept walking for another 20 minutes or so, and then the tracks simply stopped. There was still a faint indication of a track, where the tall, dry grass seemed to have been bent down in the forward direction. This would have been another good point to decide to turn back, but I didn’t. Soon after, I found myself fighting my way through a wilderness of bushes and waist-high thistles and nettles, but somehow in my mind I had now gone beyond ‘the point of no return’ –no way was I going to walk back 5-6 kilometers through this terrain to pick up the yellow arrows.

So I bulldozed on and my right shin started to hurt quite badly (I had been treated some days before in Burgos for a bad case of Tendonitis), the sun was getting really hot, there was not a wind, I was low on water and around a zillion aggressive flies had decided, that the only aspiration in their lives was to sit on my face.

Shortly after came the point where after all maybe I had to turn back: A two-meter deep ditch with steep banks blocked the path and extended into the horizon on the left. The bottom was covered with weeds, so I couldn’t see how deep the water was. But I was getting stubborn (and perhaps a little desperate) so I slid down the side and into the water, which luckily was only ankle-deep. It was quite a hassle getting up on the other side with backpack, bum-bag and walking pole and I was wet and muddy and drenched in sweat.

The tree line along the river now took a turn to the right and two sights appeared: Across the fields in the distance, I could see the roofs of some houses and right in front of me an old, battered sign on a rotting wooden pole saying “Coto privado”. My first thought was why someone would put up a sign out here in the middle of nowhere, where apparently nobody had been for ages, and my second thought was “Coto privado” or not, I’m not going back. As it was, I don’t think that I could have gone back, that I could have crossed that ditch one more time. I was tired and dirty and thirsty and my right shin felt like it was on fire. At that point, my emergency plan was to cross over the fields directly towards the village, call a taxi and call it a day; but then I realized that I couldn’t do that. Because I was walking on higher ground relative to the fields on the left (and because I had plenty to do fighting through the vegetation) I had not noticed, that at some point the fields had changed from harvested crop fields into a vast field of semi-dead sunflowers. They were around two-and-a-half meters high, with stems as thick as my walking pole and there was no more than 15-20 centimeters between them. I wouldn’t have gotten far trying to walk through them and I guess it wouldn’t have been a popular thing to do – and I was already a trespasser.

So I just continued along the tree line by the river, there was not much else I could do. The tree line swung left and right, and the next time I had a view across the fields, the roofs of the small city had disappeared. These small cities on the Meseta have this way of suddenly appearing just to disappear again behind one of the low hills.

On I walked and I started to feel a bit dizzy and I have to admit, that the thought that I could just grab my phone and call for help crossed my mind. But no, you don’t do that.

Eventually I crashed through some thorny bushes and there, just in front of me, was a narrow, dusty dirt road. I never thought one could be so happy to see a narrow dirt road, but in my blurred mind was just the thought that a road, narrow and dusty or not, had to lead to somewhere. I sat down on a rock for a moment and tried to lick the last moisture out of my water bottle. I had lost all sense of direction and had no idea if I should turn left or right –there was nothing to see in either direction. Eventually I turned left for no reason in particular except that a sharp right turn would be against my general political attitude.

It was hot and it was dry and for every step, the powdery grey dust on the road whirled up and settled on my wet shoes and sweaty legs (I was walking in shorts), and the story of Lot’s wife came to mind.

The road was leading up a low hill and after just 15 minutes or so of walking, a church tower started to emerge slowly behind the hill and a few minutes later, there is was, a small pueblo –what a relief!

When, after another 20 minutes, I walked into the village, it was around 3 PM, high siesta-hour, and the streets were all deserted, there was not a sound, not a dog barking, not a cat lying in the shadow. It was actually a bit eerie walking through the streets in the heat and calmness and silence, with all the windows of the old houses blinded and all doors closed, while the inhabitants were probably taking an afternoon nap. I was so tired and so thirsty that I said to myself, that if I didn’t meet a living soul soon, I’d have to knock on some random door and ask for some water and if they’d call me a taxi.

I turned a corner, and there was a man in the street walking towards me. He was very well dressed in a shiny white shirt and tie, and somehow he looked a bit ‘out of context’ on the dusty street in this small, rural village. I asked him (in Spanish, I believe) if there was a bar or tienda or casa that was open, and after some attempts and some arm-flapping he finally got the message and made a random gesture up the street and around the corner.

I thanked him and proceeded as directed, and yes! I heard voices and yes! I saw a small group of people around some tables outside an old house. I wasn’t too aware of good manners at that point, so I just walked by and through the fly-curtain and into the bar room. There were 8-10 men standing at the bar, and for a brief moment, I felt like a stranger walking into a saloon in the Wild West: All conversation stopped and all faces turned towards me. And I must have been quite a sight: Drenched in sweat, covered in mud and dust, torn on arms and legs and probably looking a bit desperate. I dumped my backpack by the entrance, and staggered up to the bar.

Camino angels come in different shapes and disguises, and I met two that day. The first was the young woman behind the bar, who just looked at me and smiled, poured a big glass of cold water and pushed it across the bar towards me. It is remarkable how little it sometimes takes to recuperate. After that glass of water, and another one, I was no longer on the brink of falling flat on the floor and I asked the bar-woman where I was and told her how I got here and why I appeared the way I did. She quickly sensed that she had to speak slowly in order for me to understand, whereas the men were talking and asking questions so rapidly, that I didn’t understand much. The bar-woman relayed what I had told her to the men, which caused a lot of talking and smiles and laughter.

It turned out that I was in the small pueblo of San Mamès de Campos about 4-5 km’s off the Camino where people had hardly seen a pilgrim before. Then appeared the second Camino Angel in the shape of a tall youngish man. He said something to the bar-woman, which she slowly relayed to me (nobody spoke any English, of course). It turned out that he lived in Carriòn de los Condes and offered to give me a ride when he was going back in a short while. He was standing at the bar drinking some clear liquid out of a small, flat bottle which wasn’t very reassuring, but at the state I was in I would have gladly accepted if the devil himself had offered me a ride. All went well; he dropped me off in front of the monesterio Zan Zoilo, gave me a ‘high five’ and raced off in his old car.

I spent the next hour sitting in the late afternoon sunshine wiping mud and dirt off my shoes and legs and shorts and picking off hundreds of small hard burdocks, which seemed to be glued onto my socks and t-shirt. This was carried out in the company of a large glass of cold beer and it didn’t take long before I had convinced myself, that this had been a good day after all.
oh, how happy this post makes me! welcome home!
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#7
It’s not easy, but you can get lost on the Camino. It happened to me this year and maybe it happened to others as well. I guess it’s a case of bad decisions and stubbornness, but, anyway, here is my story of being lost on the Camino:

On the stage from Fromista to Carriòn de los Condes, you can take the Villovieco variant by turning right in Poblaciòn de Campos and so avoid walking along the main road for the remaining 15 kilometers or so. It’s a much nicer walk starting through flat fields and continuing on a nice path along the small Ucieza river –and only a few kilometers longer than the alternative.

At some point, I think after around 5 km, you cross a small, paved road where yellow arrows point to the left. Straight as I am, I followed the arrows only to discover that they were leading to some albergue and eventually back to the main road. So I turned back and resumed the path along the river. There were occasional Camino markers along the path, so though I was alone, I felt at ease.

After having walked for around another hour, I came to another small road perpendicular to the path with yellow arrows pointing to the left. But on the other side of the road, where the path seemed to continue, there was a signpost with information on the Camino, and I thought ‘Oh no, you won’t fool me again with those yellow arrows’ and I continued on the path along the small river.

The path got increasingly narrow until eventually it wasn’t really a path but only two faint wheel tracks with dry grass on them indicating, that they hadn’t been used for some time. This might have been a good time for the clear headed to turn back –but I didn’t. I had the (very hot) sun in my back and I was thinking something like ‘apparently not many have walked here, but I am generally walking in the right direction and if it gets a bit rough, I can handle it’.

So I kept walking for another 20 minutes or so, and then the tracks simply stopped. There was still a faint indication of a track, where the tall, dry grass seemed to have been bent down in the forward direction. This would have been another good point to decide to turn back, but I didn’t. Soon after, I found myself fighting my way through a wilderness of bushes and waist-high thistles and nettles, but somehow in my mind I had now gone beyond ‘the point of no return’ –no way was I going to walk back 5-6 kilometers through this terrain to pick up the yellow arrows.

So I bulldozed on and my right shin started to hurt quite badly (I had been treated some days before in Burgos for a bad case of Tendonitis), the sun was getting really hot, there was not a wind, I was low on water and around a zillion aggressive flies had decided, that the only aspiration in their lives was to sit on my face.

Shortly after came the point where after all maybe I had to turn back: A two-meter deep ditch with steep banks blocked the path and extended into the horizon on the left. The bottom was covered with weeds, so I couldn’t see how deep the water was. But I was getting stubborn (and perhaps a little desperate) so I slid down the side and into the water, which luckily was only ankle-deep. It was quite a hassle getting up on the other side with backpack, bum-bag and walking pole and I was wet and muddy and drenched in sweat.

The tree line along the river now took a turn to the right and two sights appeared: Across the fields in the distance, I could see the roofs of some houses and right in front of me an old, battered sign on a rotting wooden pole saying “Coto privado”. My first thought was why someone would put up a sign out here in the middle of nowhere, where apparently nobody had been for ages, and my second thought was “Coto privado” or not, I’m not going back. As it was, I don’t think that I could have gone back, that I could have crossed that ditch one more time. I was tired and dirty and thirsty and my right shin felt like it was on fire. At that point, my emergency plan was to cross over the fields directly towards the village, call a taxi and call it a day; but then I realized that I couldn’t do that. Because I was walking on higher ground relative to the fields on the left (and because I had plenty to do fighting through the vegetation) I had not noticed, that at some point the fields had changed from harvested crop fields into a vast field of semi-dead sunflowers. They were around two-and-a-half meters high, with stems as thick as my walking pole and there was no more than 15-20 centimeters between them. I wouldn’t have gotten far trying to walk through them and I guess it wouldn’t have been a popular thing to do – and I was already a trespasser.

So I just continued along the tree line by the river, there was not much else I could do. The tree line swung left and right, and the next time I had a view across the fields, the roofs of the small city had disappeared. These small cities on the Meseta have this way of suddenly appearing just to disappear again behind one of the low hills.

On I walked and I started to feel a bit dizzy and I have to admit, that the thought that I could just grab my phone and call for help crossed my mind. But no, you don’t do that.

Eventually I crashed through some thorny bushes and there, just in front of me, was a narrow, dusty dirt road. I never thought one could be so happy to see a narrow dirt road, but in my blurred mind was just the thought that a road, narrow and dusty or not, had to lead to somewhere. I sat down on a rock for a moment and tried to lick the last moisture out of my water bottle. I had lost all sense of direction and had no idea if I should turn left or right –there was nothing to see in either direction. Eventually I turned left for no reason in particular except that a sharp right turn would be against my general political attitude.

It was hot and it was dry and for every step, the powdery grey dust on the road whirled up and settled on my wet shoes and sweaty legs (I was walking in shorts), and the story of Lot’s wife came to mind.

The road was leading up a low hill and after just 15 minutes or so of walking, a church tower started to emerge slowly behind the hill and a few minutes later, there is was, a small pueblo –what a relief!

When, after another 20 minutes, I walked into the village, it was around 3 PM, high siesta-hour, and the streets were all deserted, there was not a sound, not a dog barking, not a cat lying in the shadow. It was actually a bit eerie walking through the streets in the heat and calmness and silence, with all the windows of the old houses blinded and all doors closed, while the inhabitants were probably taking an afternoon nap. I was so tired and so thirsty that I said to myself, that if I didn’t meet a living soul soon, I’d have to knock on some random door and ask for some water and if they’d call me a taxi.

I turned a corner, and there was a man in the street walking towards me. He was very well dressed in a shiny white shirt and tie, and somehow he looked a bit ‘out of context’ on the dusty street in this small, rural village. I asked him (in Spanish, I believe) if there was a bar or tienda or casa that was open, and after some attempts and some arm-flapping he finally got the message and made a random gesture up the street and around the corner.

I thanked him and proceeded as directed, and yes! I heard voices and yes! I saw a small group of people around some tables outside an old house. I wasn’t too aware of good manners at that point, so I just walked by and through the fly-curtain and into the bar room. There were 8-10 men standing at the bar, and for a brief moment, I felt like a stranger walking into a saloon in the Wild West: All conversation stopped and all faces turned towards me. And I must have been quite a sight: Drenched in sweat, covered in mud and dust, torn on arms and legs and probably looking a bit desperate. I dumped my backpack by the entrance, and staggered up to the bar.

Camino angels come in different shapes and disguises, and I met two that day. The first was the young woman behind the bar, who just looked at me and smiled, poured a big glass of cold water and pushed it across the bar towards me. It is remarkable how little it sometimes takes to recuperate. After that glass of water, and another one, I was no longer on the brink of falling flat on the floor and I asked the bar-woman where I was and told her how I got here and why I appeared the way I did. She quickly sensed that she had to speak slowly in order for me to understand, whereas the men were talking and asking questions so rapidly, that I didn’t understand much. The bar-woman relayed what I had told her to the men, which caused a lot of talking and smiles and laughter.

It turned out that I was in the small pueblo of San Mamès de Campos about 4-5 km’s off the Camino where people had hardly seen a pilgrim before. Then appeared the second Camino Angel in the shape of a tall youngish man. He said something to the bar-woman, which she slowly relayed to me (nobody spoke any English, of course). It turned out that he lived in Carriòn de los Condes and offered to give me a ride when he was going back in a short while. He was standing at the bar drinking some clear liquid out of a small, flat bottle which wasn’t very reassuring, but at the state I was in I would have gladly accepted if the devil himself had offered me a ride. All went well; he dropped me off in front of the monesterio Zan Zoilo, gave me a ‘high five’ and raced off in his old car.

I spent the next hour sitting in the late afternoon sunshine wiping mud and dirt off my shoes and legs and shorts and picking off hundreds of small hard burdocks, which seemed to be glued onto my socks and t-shirt. This was carried out in the company of a large glass of cold beer and it didn’t take long before I had convinced myself, that this had been a good day after all.
I'm happy that everything ended without injury for you!
As we say over here "it can happen even in the best families". I have incredibly good sense of orientation but same as in your case that could be misleading when/if stubbornly following it. My most embarrassing moment of "getting lost" happend on extremely well signposted CF right after Belorado when you cross the highway. Despite 7 large arrows (from the memory) on the asphalt, house and the tree to turn right over the bridge I just continue straight. I might even walked on some of those arrows. Well, the direction was correct but I wasn't on Camino :)
I don't think I should mention other "getting lost" situations on less walked Caminos because there were plenty :D
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#12
I loved reading your story! Your detailed account made me feel like I was the one experiencing all the hardship, but like a good book...in the comfort of my recliner. Thankfully it ended so well! Maybe you can get lost again on your next camino (better you than me☺) and write another chapter for us!

For me, getting lost on the camino or 'surviving' some adverse weather, then having it all turn out well in the end, has provided for some of my most vivid and exciting memories!
 
Last edited:

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#13
It’s not easy, but you can get lost on the Camino. It happened to me this year and maybe it happened to others as well. I guess it’s a case of bad decisions and stubbornness, but, anyway, here is my story of being lost on the Camino:

On the stage from Fromista to Carriòn de los Condes, you can take the Villovieco variant by turning right in Poblaciòn de Campos and so avoid walking along the main road for the remaining 15 kilometers or so. It’s a much nicer walk starting through flat fields and continuing on a nice path along the small Ucieza river –and only a few kilometers longer than the alternative.

At some point, I think after around 5 km, you cross a small, paved road where yellow arrows point to the left. Straight as I am, I followed the arrows only to discover that they were leading to some albergue and eventually back to the main road. So I turned back and resumed the path along the river. There were occasional Camino markers along the path, so though I was alone, I felt at ease.

After having walked for around another hour, I came to another small road perpendicular to the path with yellow arrows pointing to the left. But on the other side of the road, where the path seemed to continue, there was a signpost with information on the Camino, and I thought ‘Oh no, you won’t fool me again with those yellow arrows’ and I continued on the path along the small river.

The path got increasingly narrow until eventually it wasn’t really a path but only two faint wheel tracks with dry grass on them indicating, that they hadn’t been used for some time. This might have been a good time for the clear headed to turn back –but I didn’t. I had the (very hot) sun in my back and I was thinking something like ‘apparently not many have walked here, but I am generally walking in the right direction and if it gets a bit rough, I can handle it’.

So I kept walking for another 20 minutes or so, and then the tracks simply stopped. There was still a faint indication of a track, where the tall, dry grass seemed to have been bent down in the forward direction. This would have been another good point to decide to turn back, but I didn’t. Soon after, I found myself fighting my way through a wilderness of bushes and waist-high thistles and nettles, but somehow in my mind I had now gone beyond ‘the point of no return’ –no way was I going to walk back 5-6 kilometers through this terrain to pick up the yellow arrows.

So I bulldozed on and my right shin started to hurt quite badly (I had been treated some days before in Burgos for a bad case of Tendonitis), the sun was getting really hot, there was not a wind, I was low on water and around a zillion aggressive flies had decided, that the only aspiration in their lives was to sit on my face.

Shortly after came the point where after all maybe I had to turn back: A two-meter deep ditch with steep banks blocked the path and extended into the horizon on the left. The bottom was covered with weeds, so I couldn’t see how deep the water was. But I was getting stubborn (and perhaps a little desperate) so I slid down the side and into the water, which luckily was only ankle-deep. It was quite a hassle getting up on the other side with backpack, bum-bag and walking pole and I was wet and muddy and drenched in sweat.

The tree line along the river now took a turn to the right and two sights appeared: Across the fields in the distance, I could see the roofs of some houses and right in front of me an old, battered sign on a rotting wooden pole saying “Coto privado”. My first thought was why someone would put up a sign out here in the middle of nowhere, where apparently nobody had been for ages, and my second thought was “Coto privado” or not, I’m not going back. As it was, I don’t think that I could have gone back, that I could have crossed that ditch one more time. I was tired and dirty and thirsty and my right shin felt like it was on fire. At that point, my emergency plan was to cross over the fields directly towards the village, call a taxi and call it a day; but then I realized that I couldn’t do that. Because I was walking on higher ground relative to the fields on the left (and because I had plenty to do fighting through the vegetation) I had not noticed, that at some point the fields had changed from harvested crop fields into a vast field of semi-dead sunflowers. They were around two-and-a-half meters high, with stems as thick as my walking pole and there was no more than 15-20 centimeters between them. I wouldn’t have gotten far trying to walk through them and I guess it wouldn’t have been a popular thing to do – and I was already a trespasser.

So I just continued along the tree line by the river, there was not much else I could do. The tree line swung left and right, and the next time I had a view across the fields, the roofs of the small city had disappeared. These small cities on the Meseta have this way of suddenly appearing just to disappear again behind one of the low hills.

On I walked and I started to feel a bit dizzy and I have to admit, that the thought that I could just grab my phone and call for help crossed my mind. But no, you don’t do that.

Eventually I crashed through some thorny bushes and there, just in front of me, was a narrow, dusty dirt road. I never thought one could be so happy to see a narrow dirt road, but in my blurred mind was just the thought that a road, narrow and dusty or not, had to lead to somewhere. I sat down on a rock for a moment and tried to lick the last moisture out of my water bottle. I had lost all sense of direction and had no idea if I should turn left or right –there was nothing to see in either direction. Eventually I turned left for no reason in particular except that a sharp right turn would be against my general political attitude.

It was hot and it was dry and for every step, the powdery grey dust on the road whirled up and settled on my wet shoes and sweaty legs (I was walking in shorts), and the story of Lot’s wife came to mind.

The road was leading up a low hill and after just 15 minutes or so of walking, a church tower started to emerge slowly behind the hill and a few minutes later, there is was, a small pueblo –what a relief!

When, after another 20 minutes, I walked into the village, it was around 3 PM, high siesta-hour, and the streets were all deserted, there was not a sound, not a dog barking, not a cat lying in the shadow. It was actually a bit eerie walking through the streets in the heat and calmness and silence, with all the windows of the old houses blinded and all doors closed, while the inhabitants were probably taking an afternoon nap. I was so tired and so thirsty that I said to myself, that if I didn’t meet a living soul soon, I’d have to knock on some random door and ask for some water and if they’d call me a taxi.

I turned a corner, and there was a man in the street walking towards me. He was very well dressed in a shiny white shirt and tie, and somehow he looked a bit ‘out of context’ on the dusty street in this small, rural village. I asked him (in Spanish, I believe) if there was a bar or tienda or casa that was open, and after some attempts and some arm-flapping he finally got the message and made a random gesture up the street and around the corner.

I thanked him and proceeded as directed, and yes! I heard voices and yes! I saw a small group of people around some tables outside an old house. I wasn’t too aware of good manners at that point, so I just walked by and through the fly-curtain and into the bar room. There were 8-10 men standing at the bar, and for a brief moment, I felt like a stranger walking into a saloon in the Wild West: All conversation stopped and all faces turned towards me. And I must have been quite a sight: Drenched in sweat, covered in mud and dust, torn on arms and legs and probably looking a bit desperate. I dumped my backpack by the entrance, and staggered up to the bar.

Camino angels come in different shapes and disguises, and I met two that day. The first was the young woman behind the bar, who just looked at me and smiled, poured a big glass of cold water and pushed it across the bar towards me. It is remarkable how little it sometimes takes to recuperate. After that glass of water, and another one, I was no longer on the brink of falling flat on the floor and I asked the bar-woman where I was and told her how I got here and why I appeared the way I did. She quickly sensed that she had to speak slowly in order for me to understand, whereas the men were talking and asking questions so rapidly, that I didn’t understand much. The bar-woman relayed what I had told her to the men, which caused a lot of talking and smiles and laughter.

It turned out that I was in the small pueblo of San Mamès de Campos about 4-5 km’s off the Camino where people had hardly seen a pilgrim before. Then appeared the second Camino Angel in the shape of a tall youngish man. He said something to the bar-woman, which she slowly relayed to me (nobody spoke any English, of course). It turned out that he lived in Carriòn de los Condes and offered to give me a ride when he was going back in a short while. He was standing at the bar drinking some clear liquid out of a small, flat bottle which wasn’t very reassuring, but at the state I was in I would have gladly accepted if the devil himself had offered me a ride. All went well; he dropped me off in front of the monesterio Zan Zoilo, gave me a ‘high five’ and raced off in his old car.

I spent the next hour sitting in the late afternoon sunshine wiping mud and dirt off my shoes and legs and shorts and picking off hundreds of small hard burdocks, which seemed to be glued onto my socks and t-shirt. This was carried out in the company of a large glass of cold beer and it didn’t take long before I had convinced myself, that this had been a good day after all.
Great story! Thanks for sharing.
 

Aurigny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés, 2016; Português Central, 2017; Port. Interior, 2017; Primitivo, 2018; Port. Coastal, 2018.
#14
I've posted this elsewhere on the site, but it seems relevant here too: Once I had a conversation with a member of a Swiss Alpine rescue team. He told me that the people who survive when lost in the mountains are the ones who, once they realise they don't know where they are, turn around and go back the way they came. The people who try to mend their course rather than retrace their steps are the ones who die.

That's unlikely to happen on the Francés, to be sure, but the larger point holds good just the same.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#15
I've posted this elsewhere on the site, but it seems relevant here too: Once I had a conversation with a member of a Swiss Alpine rescue team. He told me that the people who survive when lost in the mountains are the ones who, once they realise they don't know where they are, turn around and go back the way they came. The people who try to mend their course rather than retrace their steps are the ones who die.

That's unlikely to happen on the Francés, to be sure, but the larger point holds good just the same.
So very true what your friend told you. I can confirm that as a climber in my younger years. What is the problem here is the moment when you decide to turn back. I know for mountains but in this case I think the right/last moment would be when the path/road was no longer easily passable. But it's very easy to be smart after "the storm" ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Invierno (2019)
Camino Frances (2021)
#17
It’s not easy, but you can get lost on the Camino. It happened to me this year and maybe it happened to others as well. I guess it’s a case of bad decisions and stubbornness, but, anyway, here is my story of being lost on the Camino:

On the stage from Fromista to Carriòn de los Condes, you can take the Villovieco variant by turning right in Poblaciòn de Campos and so avoid walking along the main road for the remaining 15 kilometers or so. It’s a much nicer walk starting through flat fields and continuing on a nice path along the small Ucieza river –and only a few kilometers longer than the alternative.

At some point, I think after around 5 km, you cross a small, paved road where yellow arrows point to the left. Straight as I am, I followed the arrows only to discover that they were leading to some albergue and eventually back to the main road. So I turned back and resumed the path along the river. There were occasional Camino markers along the path, so though I was alone, I felt at ease.

After having walked for around another hour, I came to another small road perpendicular to the path with yellow arrows pointing to the left. But on the other side of the road, where the path seemed to continue, there was a signpost with information on the Camino, and I thought ‘Oh no, you won’t fool me again with those yellow arrows’ and I continued on the path along the small river.

The path got increasingly narrow until eventually it wasn’t really a path but only two faint wheel tracks with dry grass on them indicating, that they hadn’t been used for some time. This might have been a good time for the clear headed to turn back –but I didn’t. I had the (very hot) sun in my back and I was thinking something like ‘apparently not many have walked here, but I am generally walking in the right direction and if it gets a bit rough, I can handle it’.

So I kept walking for another 20 minutes or so, and then the tracks simply stopped. There was still a faint indication of a track, where the tall, dry grass seemed to have been bent down in the forward direction. This would have been another good point to decide to turn back, but I didn’t. Soon after, I found myself fighting my way through a wilderness of bushes and waist-high thistles and nettles, but somehow in my mind I had now gone beyond ‘the point of no return’ –no way was I going to walk back 5-6 kilometers through this terrain to pick up the yellow arrows.

So I bulldozed on and my right shin started to hurt quite badly (I had been treated some days before in Burgos for a bad case of Tendonitis), the sun was getting really hot, there was not a wind, I was low on water and around a zillion aggressive flies had decided, that the only aspiration in their lives was to sit on my face.

Shortly after came the point where after all maybe I had to turn back: A two-meter deep ditch with steep banks blocked the path and extended into the horizon on the left. The bottom was covered with weeds, so I couldn’t see how deep the water was. But I was getting stubborn (and perhaps a little desperate) so I slid down the side and into the water, which luckily was only ankle-deep. It was quite a hassle getting up on the other side with backpack, bum-bag and walking pole and I was wet and muddy and drenched in sweat.

The tree line along the river now took a turn to the right and two sights appeared: Across the fields in the distance, I could see the roofs of some houses and right in front of me an old, battered sign on a rotting wooden pole saying “Coto privado”. My first thought was why someone would put up a sign out here in the middle of nowhere, where apparently nobody had been for ages, and my second thought was “Coto privado” or not, I’m not going back. As it was, I don’t think that I could have gone back, that I could have crossed that ditch one more time. I was tired and dirty and thirsty and my right shin felt like it was on fire. At that point, my emergency plan was to cross over the fields directly towards the village, call a taxi and call it a day; but then I realized that I couldn’t do that. Because I was walking on higher ground relative to the fields on the left (and because I had plenty to do fighting through the vegetation) I had not noticed, that at some point the fields had changed from harvested crop fields into a vast field of semi-dead sunflowers. They were around two-and-a-half meters high, with stems as thick as my walking pole and there was no more than 15-20 centimeters between them. I wouldn’t have gotten far trying to walk through them and I guess it wouldn’t have been a popular thing to do – and I was already a trespasser.

So I just continued along the tree line by the river, there was not much else I could do. The tree line swung left and right, and the next time I had a view across the fields, the roofs of the small city had disappeared. These small cities on the Meseta have this way of suddenly appearing just to disappear again behind one of the low hills.

On I walked and I started to feel a bit dizzy and I have to admit, that the thought that I could just grab my phone and call for help crossed my mind. But no, you don’t do that.

Eventually I crashed through some thorny bushes and there, just in front of me, was a narrow, dusty dirt road. I never thought one could be so happy to see a narrow dirt road, but in my blurred mind was just the thought that a road, narrow and dusty or not, had to lead to somewhere. I sat down on a rock for a moment and tried to lick the last moisture out of my water bottle. I had lost all sense of direction and had no idea if I should turn left or right –there was nothing to see in either direction. Eventually I turned left for no reason in particular except that a sharp right turn would be against my general political attitude.

It was hot and it was dry and for every step, the powdery grey dust on the road whirled up and settled on my wet shoes and sweaty legs (I was walking in shorts), and the story of Lot’s wife came to mind.

The road was leading up a low hill and after just 15 minutes or so of walking, a church tower started to emerge slowly behind the hill and a few minutes later, there is was, a small pueblo –what a relief!

When, after another 20 minutes, I walked into the village, it was around 3 PM, high siesta-hour, and the streets were all deserted, there was not a sound, not a dog barking, not a cat lying in the shadow. It was actually a bit eerie walking through the streets in the heat and calmness and silence, with all the windows of the old houses blinded and all doors closed, while the inhabitants were probably taking an afternoon nap. I was so tired and so thirsty that I said to myself, that if I didn’t meet a living soul soon, I’d have to knock on some random door and ask for some water and if they’d call me a taxi.

I turned a corner, and there was a man in the street walking towards me. He was very well dressed in a shiny white shirt and tie, and somehow he looked a bit ‘out of context’ on the dusty street in this small, rural village. I asked him (in Spanish, I believe) if there was a bar or tienda or casa that was open, and after some attempts and some arm-flapping he finally got the message and made a random gesture up the street and around the corner.

I thanked him and proceeded as directed, and yes! I heard voices and yes! I saw a small group of people around some tables outside an old house. I wasn’t too aware of good manners at that point, so I just walked by and through the fly-curtain and into the bar room. There were 8-10 men standing at the bar, and for a brief moment, I felt like a stranger walking into a saloon in the Wild West: All conversation stopped and all faces turned towards me. And I must have been quite a sight: Drenched in sweat, covered in mud and dust, torn on arms and legs and probably looking a bit desperate. I dumped my backpack by the entrance, and staggered up to the bar.

Camino angels come in different shapes and disguises, and I met two that day. The first was the young woman behind the bar, who just looked at me and smiled, poured a big glass of cold water and pushed it across the bar towards me. It is remarkable how little it sometimes takes to recuperate. After that glass of water, and another one, I was no longer on the brink of falling flat on the floor and I asked the bar-woman where I was and told her how I got here and why I appeared the way I did. She quickly sensed that she had to speak slowly in order for me to understand, whereas the men were talking and asking questions so rapidly, that I didn’t understand much. The bar-woman relayed what I had told her to the men, which caused a lot of talking and smiles and laughter.

It turned out that I was in the small pueblo of San Mamès de Campos about 4-5 km’s off the Camino where people had hardly seen a pilgrim before. Then appeared the second Camino Angel in the shape of a tall youngish man. He said something to the bar-woman, which she slowly relayed to me (nobody spoke any English, of course). It turned out that he lived in Carriòn de los Condes and offered to give me a ride when he was going back in a short while. He was standing at the bar drinking some clear liquid out of a small, flat bottle which wasn’t very reassuring, but at the state I was in I would have gladly accepted if the devil himself had offered me a ride. All went well; he dropped me off in front of the monesterio Zan Zoilo, gave me a ‘high five’ and raced off in his old car.

I spent the next hour sitting in the late afternoon sunshine wiping mud and dirt off my shoes and legs and shorts and picking off hundreds of small hard burdocks, which seemed to be glued onto my socks and t-shirt. This was carried out in the company of a large glass of cold beer and it didn’t take long before I had convinced myself, that this had been a good day after all.
Wow 😮 glad you met some Camino angels.
In 2012 we got lost hiking over Dragonte and ended up in a completely empty town 20 km in the wrong direction. But we also met some Camino angels 👼🏻
 
Camino(s) past & future
April (2017)
#18
It’s not easy, but you can get lost on the Camino. It happened to me this year and maybe it happened to others as well. I guess it’s a case of bad decisions and stubbornness, but, anyway, here is my story of being lost on the Camino:

On the stage from Fromista to Carriòn de los Condes, you can take the Villovieco variant by turning right in Poblaciòn de Campos and so avoid walking along the main road for the remaining 15 kilometers or so. It’s a much nicer walk starting through flat fields and continuing on a nice path along the small Ucieza river –and only a few kilometers longer than the alternative.

At some point, I think after around 5 km, you cross a small, paved road where yellow arrows point to the left. Straight as I am, I followed the arrows only to discover that they were leading to some albergue and eventually back to the main road. So I turned back and resumed the path along the river. There were occasional Camino markers along the path, so though I was alone, I felt at ease.

After having walked for around another hour, I came to another small road perpendicular to the path with yellow arrows pointing to the left. But on the other side of the road, where the path seemed to continue, there was a signpost with information on the Camino, and I thought ‘Oh no, you won’t fool me again with those yellow arrows’ and I continued on the path along the small river.

The path got increasingly narrow until eventually it wasn’t really a path but only two faint wheel tracks with dry grass on them indicating, that they hadn’t been used for some time. This might have been a good time for the clear headed to turn back –but I didn’t. I had the (very hot) sun in my back and I was thinking something like ‘apparently not many have walked here, but I am generally walking in the right direction and if it gets a bit rough, I can handle it’.

So I kept walking for another 20 minutes or so, and then the tracks simply stopped. There was still a faint indication of a track, where the tall, dry grass seemed to have been bent down in the forward direction. This would have been another good point to decide to turn back, but I didn’t. Soon after, I found myself fighting my way through a wilderness of bushes and waist-high thistles and nettles, but somehow in my mind I had now gone beyond ‘the point of no return’ –no way was I going to walk back 5-6 kilometers through this terrain to pick up the yellow arrows.

So I bulldozed on and my right shin started to hurt quite badly (I had been treated some days before in Burgos for a bad case of Tendonitis), the sun was getting really hot, there was not a wind, I was low on water and around a zillion aggressive flies had decided, that the only aspiration in their lives was to sit on my face.

Shortly after came the point where after all maybe I had to turn back: A two-meter deep ditch with steep banks blocked the path and extended into the horizon on the left. The bottom was covered with weeds, so I couldn’t see how deep the water was. But I was getting stubborn (and perhaps a little desperate) so I slid down the side and into the water, which luckily was only ankle-deep. It was quite a hassle getting up on the other side with backpack, bum-bag and walking pole and I was wet and muddy and drenched in sweat.

The tree line along the river now took a turn to the right and two sights appeared: Across the fields in the distance, I could see the roofs of some houses and right in front of me an old, battered sign on a rotting wooden pole saying “Coto privado”. My first thought was why someone would put up a sign out here in the middle of nowhere, where apparently nobody had been for ages, and my second thought was “Coto privado” or not, I’m not going back. As it was, I don’t think that I could have gone back, that I could have crossed that ditch one more time. I was tired and dirty and thirsty and my right shin felt like it was on fire. At that point, my emergency plan was to cross over the fields directly towards the village, call a taxi and call it a day; but then I realized that I couldn’t do that. Because I was walking on higher ground relative to the fields on the left (and because I had plenty to do fighting through the vegetation) I had not noticed, that at some point the fields had changed from harvested crop fields into a vast field of semi-dead sunflowers. They were around two-and-a-half meters high, with stems as thick as my walking pole and there was no more than 15-20 centimeters between them. I wouldn’t have gotten far trying to walk through them and I guess it wouldn’t have been a popular thing to do – and I was already a trespasser.

So I just continued along the tree line by the river, there was not much else I could do. The tree line swung left and right, and the next time I had a view across the fields, the roofs of the small city had disappeared. These small cities on the Meseta have this way of suddenly appearing just to disappear again behind one of the low hills.

On I walked and I started to feel a bit dizzy and I have to admit, that the thought that I could just grab my phone and call for help crossed my mind. But no, you don’t do that.

Eventually I crashed through some thorny bushes and there, just in front of me, was a narrow, dusty dirt road. I never thought one could be so happy to see a narrow dirt road, but in my blurred mind was just the thought that a road, narrow and dusty or not, had to lead to somewhere. I sat down on a rock for a moment and tried to lick the last moisture out of my water bottle. I had lost all sense of direction and had no idea if I should turn left or right –there was nothing to see in either direction. Eventually I turned left for no reason in particular except that a sharp right turn would be against my general political attitude.

It was hot and it was dry and for every step, the powdery grey dust on the road whirled up and settled on my wet shoes and sweaty legs (I was walking in shorts), and the story of Lot’s wife came to mind.

The road was leading up a low hill and after just 15 minutes or so of walking, a church tower started to emerge slowly behind the hill and a few minutes later, there is was, a small pueblo –what a relief!

When, after another 20 minutes, I walked into the village, it was around 3 PM, high siesta-hour, and the streets were all deserted, there was not a sound, not a dog barking, not a cat lying in the shadow. It was actually a bit eerie walking through the streets in the heat and calmness and silence, with all the windows of the old houses blinded and all doors closed, while the inhabitants were probably taking an afternoon nap. I was so tired and so thirsty that I said to myself, that if I didn’t meet a living soul soon, I’d have to knock on some random door and ask for some water and if they’d call me a taxi.

I turned a corner, and there was a man in the street walking towards me. He was very well dressed in a shiny white shirt and tie, and somehow he looked a bit ‘out of context’ on the dusty street in this small, rural village. I asked him (in Spanish, I believe) if there was a bar or tienda or casa that was open, and after some attempts and some arm-flapping he finally got the message and made a random gesture up the street and around the corner.

I thanked him and proceeded as directed, and yes! I heard voices and yes! I saw a small group of people around some tables outside an old house. I wasn’t too aware of good manners at that point, so I just walked by and through the fly-curtain and into the bar room. There were 8-10 men standing at the bar, and for a brief moment, I felt like a stranger walking into a saloon in the Wild West: All conversation stopped and all faces turned towards me. And I must have been quite a sight: Drenched in sweat, covered in mud and dust, torn on arms and legs and probably looking a bit desperate. I dumped my backpack by the entrance, and staggered up to the bar.

Camino angels come in different shapes and disguises, and I met two that day. The first was the young woman behind the bar, who just looked at me and smiled, poured a big glass of cold water and pushed it across the bar towards me. It is remarkable how little it sometimes takes to recuperate. After that glass of water, and another one, I was no longer on the brink of falling flat on the floor and I asked the bar-woman where I was and told her how I got here and why I appeared the way I did. She quickly sensed that she had to speak slowly in order for me to understand, whereas the men were talking and asking questions so rapidly, that I didn’t understand much. The bar-woman relayed what I had told her to the men, which caused a lot of talking and smiles and laughter.

It turned out that I was in the small pueblo of San Mamès de Campos about 4-5 km’s off the Camino where people had hardly seen a pilgrim before. Then appeared the second Camino Angel in the shape of a tall youngish man. He said something to the bar-woman, which she slowly relayed to me (nobody spoke any English, of course). It turned out that he lived in Carriòn de los Condes and offered to give me a ride when he was going back in a short while. He was standing at the bar drinking some clear liquid out of a small, flat bottle which wasn’t very reassuring, but at the state I was in I would have gladly accepted if the devil himself had offered me a ride. All went well; he dropped me off in front of the monesterio Zan Zoilo, gave me a ‘high five’ and raced off in his old car.

I spent the next hour sitting in the late afternoon sunshine wiping mud and dirt off my shoes and legs and shorts and picking off hundreds of small hard burdocks, which seemed to be glued onto my socks and t-shirt. This was carried out in the company of a large glass of cold beer and it didn’t take long before I had convinced myself, that this had been a good day after all.
What an adventure! One you won't soon forget. Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
future
#19
I've posted this elsewhere on the site, but it seems relevant here too: Once I had a conversation with a member of a Swiss Alpine rescue team. He told me that the people who survive when lost in the mountains are the ones who, once they realise they don't know where they are, turn around and go back the way they came. The people who try to mend their course rather than retrace their steps are the ones who die.

That's unlikely to happen on the Francés, to be sure, but the larger point holds good just the same.
So true. Turning back feels just wrong on the camino (or elsewhere) but it almost never is the wrong thing to do. Was saved by an angel farmer of the male variety after walking an extra 6 km on a 35km day on the Primitivo. I will not forget that day and turning back now sounds very appealing if I am uncertain ;) Thanks for sharing and I'm glad the story ended happily.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis, Fall 2016
#20
It’s not easy, but you can get lost on the Camino. It happened to me this year and maybe it happened to others as well. I guess it’s a case of bad decisions and stubbornness, but, anyway, here is my story of being lost on the Camino:

On the stage from Fromista to Carriòn de los Condes, you can take the Villovieco variant by turning right in Poblaciòn de Campos and so avoid walking along the main road for the remaining 15 kilometers or so. It’s a much nicer walk starting through flat fields and continuing on a nice path along the small Ucieza river –and only a few kilometers longer than the alternative.

At some point, I think after around 5 km, you cross a small, paved road where yellow arrows point to the left. Straight as I am, I followed the arrows only to discover that they were leading to some albergue and eventually back to the main road. So I turned back and resumed the path along the river. There were occasional Camino markers along the path, so though I was alone, I felt at ease.

After having walked for around another hour, I came to another small road perpendicular to the path with yellow arrows pointing to the left. But on the other side of the road, where the path seemed to continue, there was a signpost with information on the Camino, and I thought ‘Oh no, you won’t fool me again with those yellow arrows’ and I continued on the path along the small river.

The path got increasingly narrow until eventually it wasn’t really a path but only two faint wheel tracks with dry grass on them indicating, that they hadn’t been used for some time. This might have been a good time for the clear headed to turn back –but I didn’t. I had the (very hot) sun in my back and I was thinking something like ‘apparently not many have walked here, but I am generally walking in the right direction and if it gets a bit rough, I can handle it’.

So I kept walking for another 20 minutes or so, and then the tracks simply stopped. There was still a faint indication of a track, where the tall, dry grass seemed to have been bent down in the forward direction. This would have been another good point to decide to turn back, but I didn’t. Soon after, I found myself fighting my way through a wilderness of bushes and waist-high thistles and nettles, but somehow in my mind I had now gone beyond ‘the point of no return’ –no way was I going to walk back 5-6 kilometers through this terrain to pick up the yellow arrows.

So I bulldozed on and my right shin started to hurt quite badly (I had been treated some days before in Burgos for a bad case of Tendonitis), the sun was getting really hot, there was not a wind, I was low on water and around a zillion aggressive flies had decided, that the only aspiration in their lives was to sit on my face.

Shortly after came the point where after all maybe I had to turn back: A two-meter deep ditch with steep banks blocked the path and extended into the horizon on the left. The bottom was covered with weeds, so I couldn’t see how deep the water was. But I was getting stubborn (and perhaps a little desperate) so I slid down the side and into the water, which luckily was only ankle-deep. It was quite a hassle getting up on the other side with backpack, bum-bag and walking pole and I was wet and muddy and drenched in sweat.

The tree line along the river now took a turn to the right and two sights appeared: Across the fields in the distance, I could see the roofs of some houses and right in front of me an old, battered sign on a rotting wooden pole saying “Coto privado”. My first thought was why someone would put up a sign out here in the middle of nowhere, where apparently nobody had been for ages, and my second thought was “Coto privado” or not, I’m not going back. As it was, I don’t think that I could have gone back, that I could have crossed that ditch one more time. I was tired and dirty and thirsty and my right shin felt like it was on fire. At that point, my emergency plan was to cross over the fields directly towards the village, call a taxi and call it a day; but then I realized that I couldn’t do that. Because I was walking on higher ground relative to the fields on the left (and because I had plenty to do fighting through the vegetation) I had not noticed, that at some point the fields had changed from harvested crop fields into a vast field of semi-dead sunflowers. They were around two-and-a-half meters high, with stems as thick as my walking pole and there was no more than 15-20 centimeters between them. I wouldn’t have gotten far trying to walk through them and I guess it wouldn’t have been a popular thing to do – and I was already a trespasser.

So I just continued along the tree line by the river, there was not much else I could do. The tree line swung left and right, and the next time I had a view across the fields, the roofs of the small city had disappeared. These small cities on the Meseta have this way of suddenly appearing just to disappear again behind one of the low hills.

On I walked and I started to feel a bit dizzy and I have to admit, that the thought that I could just grab my phone and call for help crossed my mind. But no, you don’t do that.

Eventually I crashed through some thorny bushes and there, just in front of me, was a narrow, dusty dirt road. I never thought one could be so happy to see a narrow dirt road, but in my blurred mind was just the thought that a road, narrow and dusty or not, had to lead to somewhere. I sat down on a rock for a moment and tried to lick the last moisture out of my water bottle. I had lost all sense of direction and had no idea if I should turn left or right –there was nothing to see in either direction. Eventually I turned left for no reason in particular except that a sharp right turn would be against my general political attitude.

It was hot and it was dry and for every step, the powdery grey dust on the road whirled up and settled on my wet shoes and sweaty legs (I was walking in shorts), and the story of Lot’s wife came to mind.

The road was leading up a low hill and after just 15 minutes or so of walking, a church tower started to emerge slowly behind the hill and a few minutes later, there is was, a small pueblo –what a relief!

When, after another 20 minutes, I walked into the village, it was around 3 PM, high siesta-hour, and the streets were all deserted, there was not a sound, not a dog barking, not a cat lying in the shadow. It was actually a bit eerie walking through the streets in the heat and calmness and silence, with all the windows of the old houses blinded and all doors closed, while the inhabitants were probably taking an afternoon nap. I was so tired and so thirsty that I said to myself, that if I didn’t meet a living soul soon, I’d have to knock on some random door and ask for some water and if they’d call me a taxi.

I turned a corner, and there was a man in the street walking towards me. He was very well dressed in a shiny white shirt and tie, and somehow he looked a bit ‘out of context’ on the dusty street in this small, rural village. I asked him (in Spanish, I believe) if there was a bar or tienda or casa that was open, and after some attempts and some arm-flapping he finally got the message and made a random gesture up the street and around the corner.

I thanked him and proceeded as directed, and yes! I heard voices and yes! I saw a small group of people around some tables outside an old house. I wasn’t too aware of good manners at that point, so I just walked by and through the fly-curtain and into the bar room. There were 8-10 men standing at the bar, and for a brief moment, I felt like a stranger walking into a saloon in the Wild West: All conversation stopped and all faces turned towards me. And I must have been quite a sight: Drenched in sweat, covered in mud and dust, torn on arms and legs and probably looking a bit desperate. I dumped my backpack by the entrance, and staggered up to the bar.

Camino angels come in different shapes and disguises, and I met two that day. The first was the young woman behind the bar, who just looked at me and smiled, poured a big glass of cold water and pushed it across the bar towards me. It is remarkable how little it sometimes takes to recuperate. After that glass of water, and another one, I was no longer on the brink of falling flat on the floor and I asked the bar-woman where I was and told her how I got here and why I appeared the way I did. She quickly sensed that she had to speak slowly in order for me to understand, whereas the men were talking and asking questions so rapidly, that I didn’t understand much. The bar-woman relayed what I had told her to the men, which caused a lot of talking and smiles and laughter.

It turned out that I was in the small pueblo of San Mamès de Campos about 4-5 km’s off the Camino where people had hardly seen a pilgrim before. Then appeared the second Camino Angel in the shape of a tall youngish man. He said something to the bar-woman, which she slowly relayed to me (nobody spoke any English, of course). It turned out that he lived in Carriòn de los Condes and offered to give me a ride when he was going back in a short while. He was standing at the bar drinking some clear liquid out of a small, flat bottle which wasn’t very reassuring, but at the state I was in I would have gladly accepted if the devil himself had offered me a ride. All went well; he dropped me off in front of the monesterio Zan Zoilo, gave me a ‘high five’ and raced off in his old car.

I spent the next hour sitting in the late afternoon sunshine wiping mud and dirt off my shoes and legs and shorts and picking off hundreds of small hard burdocks, which seemed to be glued onto my socks and t-shirt. This was carried out in the company of a large glass of cold beer and it didn’t take long before I had convinced myself, that this had been a good day after all.

Ha! ha! . . . great story and funny . . . after the fact. Getting lost is what makes the Camino an adventure and creator of great stories and memories.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#21
Wow 😮 glad you met some Camino angels.
In 2012 we got lost hiking over Dragonte and ended up in a completely empty town 20 km in the wrong direction. But we also met some Camino angels 👼🏻
I'd love to hear THAT story! Lost by 20k on the most difficult alternate route on the Frances!...yikes!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2007,2009,2011,2012,2013,2014.2015,2016
#24
What a story.
Afterwards it is exiting to remember. But not when you are in the middle of it. I think the sence of having lost control, is frustrating.
One person in this Forum once wrote, that he never loses his way, because he is always standing on it!
I will think of that in the future.
I never got really lost but twice this summer on the Camino Aragones, I got very, very, wrong, once because of road works where the camino simply disappeared, but was situated in the middle of the roadwork. Saved by two caminoangels, roadworkers, who in their car took me back the way I came from, a couple of kilometers, showed me the way through a field, and there was the camino. The second time this year was on the way to Eunate, the arrow was hidden in tall grass, as you, I should have turned round, but walked along an hour in the burning midday sun, before I decided to do so. I broke my own rule about: Not being able to remember where the last arrow was, I have to go back to be sure. I think every day has got its angel on the camino, somehow or another.
 

Camino3

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#27
Wow. A very well-told exciting story. I would have panicked. Sometimes I still do when in the middle of nowhere and there is not a single soul in sight other than me and some companions.

I pride myself in being able to navigate a map but there have been several times (not on the Camino) when I just chickened out early and backtracked or called for help after not being sure where I am. A previous incident that saw me and my family driving on an unfamiliar mountain road that slowly but surely led to a teeny tiny one-car size road, has taught me to be more cautious.

We followed a guide during our camino but happened to see another pilgrim who was probably too lost in his thoughts and missed the arrows that instructed us to turn right at the cross roads. By some divine providence, we had just talked to him and got his name minutes before this incident (he walked much faster) so we were able to call him when whistles from other pilgrims failed to catch his attention.

Lesson learned:
- There is a reason for every acquaintance you make on the camino.
- Some of the most seemingly insignificant events can allow you to help others in future.
- Look up and look around! Sometimes the arrows are not where you expect them to be.
 
Last edited:

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#28
...
- Look up and look around! Sometimes the arrows are not where you expect them to be.
Absolutely true!

- the best place for the arrows to be painted is either on the ground (only where they can't be overgrown) or approx. the line of our eyes (half a meter of height doesn't really make a difference) which is even more important in the towns because arrows painted on curbs can be hidden by parked cars etc.
- not so on Frances but other less walked Caminos have a problem that signage is/was made by people that knows the route by heart and more or less every turn is logical for them and they don't paint arrows on such spots or as I experienced on early Levante there are a lot of arrows after the turns just to confirm your decision and not to lead you.
- many times there are yellow arrow marked turns for bars/restaurants without clearly stating it's just for business and not the Camino. I find it very unfair from the owners if not even some sort of a non-legal doing.
- road/AVE works (and there are quite a few in Spain) can really make a mess so it's better to check about the road in general for one stage ahead with hospitaleros.
- sometimes Caminos are not really "fully" marked with arrows because they are overlapping on some stretches with other walking routes like GR239 or Ruta Quixote on Levante and where are signs for these routes many times there were no arrows but you can be still on the Camino. So it's better to know if such would happen on next stage to avoid complications.

I found it very useful to keep that in mind.

Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#30
Jill, this is something of a new 'rule' to learn for me, but I will 'tuck it in my cap' to remember the next time I feel like I'm getting lost, which I did twice on the Le Puy route last June!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre and Muxia 2017, Camino Aragones 2018
#31
Recently when walking in the mountains on the Aragones I was "lost", and only realized it when the road/trail I was walking on seemed "too nice", not enough ruts and rocks, to be the correct path. I turned around and went back. After awhile two large dogs indicated to me the correct signed path where I had missed a turn. Good dogs! Always talk nicely and remove your hat for the dogs, they just might be your camino angels!
 
Last edited:

stgcph

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
#32
ALWAYS go back to the last way-marker on ANY camino / path / trail when you suddenly realize that you haven’t seen a way-marker for a while. It is Rule Number One. Glad it ended well for you @stgcph :D.
Jill
Thanks. There’s no doubt that making sure you stay on the beaten track is the safe option. On the other hand, I can’t help thinking about what the world would look like today if we’d all done that at all times. This of course is a kind of paradox: In the extreme scenario, there wouldn’t be any beaten tracks…:eek:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#33
Always talk nicely and remove your hat for the dogs!
Especially the gorgeous Border Collie in your avatar pic, @Sparrow in Texas! Lovely: a 'home angel.' ;)

This of course is a kind of paradox: In the extreme scenario, there wouldn’t be any beaten tracks…:eek:
A track is just an empty space made by travelers - so @stgcph , you simply stumbled upon the track less traveled. Which of became no empty space.
Turning around gets harder and harder the more energy one has expended in following the wrong way. The bottom line is to let it go anyway! Or end up trying to thread your way through a densely planted field of sunflowers.;)
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
#35
This is a great story!

A smartphone with GPS and an offline map normally helps that you do not need to go back to the last yellow arrow and do not get lost.

But not always... if I have a litte bit more time I can tell my camino-story of getting lost with GPS...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#37
Thanks. There’s no doubt that making sure you stay on the beaten track is the safe option. On the other hand, I can’t help thinking about what the world would look like today if we’d all done that at all times. This of course is a kind of paradox: In the extreme scenario, there wouldn’t be any beaten tracks…:eek:
...Or humans left on the planet! :oops:
EDit:...I mean if they continued stubbornly on the NOT beaten path (like you did, turtle back). 😉
 
Last edited:

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
#38
I started in Somport... some weeks later I was only hours and about 10 kilometers before Santiago de Compostela (coming from the southeast / Camino de Invierno / Bandeiro).
In a small village the yellow arrows pointed me to a bar in the village... but I could not find the arrows that showed me the way back to my camino. As many times before I looked on my smartphone and followed the red path on the map... back to the main street. The street became a path and the path a narrow path. I thought... well, the last yellow arrow was in the small village... but why should I go back half an hour? I followed the narrow path into the forest and it became a path only used by animals... hmmm... I looked on the map again... in only 200 meters there is a road and there should be a path for the pilgrims on the other side of the road as well. I went through undergrowth and blackberries with spines... then I saw the street but it did not help me that much... the street was about 5 meters below me... and it was very steep and no bushes for holding on... and the street was very close... the idea of falling down, lieing on the street and the next car coming immediately was not that funny... so I went another 300 meters through the undergrowth, blackberries and spines... where I was only 3 meters above the street and where I could hold on a bush. So I climbed down...
about 2 kilometers later the camino and the yellow arrows came back to my route from the right hand side.

So I think the camino got a different route and I lost it at the bar in the small village. And the smartphone with offline map and gps... that had helped me so many times, especially in the darkness of the night... had led me to the wrong, old way this time.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#39
It’s not easy, but you can get lost on the Camino. It happened to me this year and maybe it happened to others as well. I guess it’s a case of bad decisions and stubbornness, but, anyway, here is my story of being lost on the Camino:

On the stage from Fromista to Carriòn de los Condes, you can take the Villovieco variant by turning right in Poblaciòn de Campos and so avoid walking along the main road for the remaining 15 kilometers or so. It’s a much nicer walk starting through flat fields and continuing on a nice path along the small Ucieza river –and only a few kilometers longer than the alternative.

At some point, I think after around 5 km, you cross a small, paved road where yellow arrows point to the left. Straight as I am, I followed the arrows only to discover that they were leading to some albergue and eventually back to the main road. So I turned back and resumed the path along the river. There were occasional Camino markers along the path, so though I was alone, I felt at ease.

After having walked for around another hour, I came to another small road perpendicular to the path with yellow arrows pointing to the left. But on the other side of the road, where the path seemed to continue, there was a signpost with information on the Camino, and I thought ‘Oh no, you won’t fool me again with those yellow arrows’ and I continued on the path along the small river.

The path got increasingly narrow until eventually it wasn’t really a path but only two faint wheel tracks with dry grass on them indicating, that they hadn’t been used for some time. This might have been a good time for the clear headed to turn back –but I didn’t. I had the (very hot) sun in my back and I was thinking something like ‘apparently not many have walked here, but I am generally walking in the right direction and if it gets a bit rough, I can handle it’.

So I kept walking for another 20 minutes or so, and then the tracks simply stopped. There was still a faint indication of a track, where the tall, dry grass seemed to have been bent down in the forward direction. This would have been another good point to decide to turn back, but I didn’t. Soon after, I found myself fighting my way through a wilderness of bushes and waist-high thistles and nettles, but somehow in my mind I had now gone beyond ‘the point of no return’ –no way was I going to walk back 5-6 kilometers through this terrain to pick up the yellow arrows.

So I bulldozed on and my right shin started to hurt quite badly (I had been treated some days before in Burgos for a bad case of Tendonitis), the sun was getting really hot, there was not a wind, I was low on water and around a zillion aggressive flies had decided, that the only aspiration in their lives was to sit on my face.

Shortly after came the point where after all maybe I had to turn back: A two-meter deep ditch with steep banks blocked the path and extended into the horizon on the left. The bottom was covered with weeds, so I couldn’t see how deep the water was. But I was getting stubborn (and perhaps a little desperate) so I slid down the side and into the water, which luckily was only ankle-deep. It was quite a hassle getting up on the other side with backpack, bum-bag and walking pole and I was wet and muddy and drenched in sweat.

The tree line along the river now took a turn to the right and two sights appeared: Across the fields in the distance, I could see the roofs of some houses and right in front of me an old, battered sign on a rotting wooden pole saying “Coto privado”. My first thought was why someone would put up a sign out here in the middle of nowhere, where apparently nobody had been for ages, and my second thought was “Coto privado” or not, I’m not going back. As it was, I don’t think that I could have gone back, that I could have crossed that ditch one more time. I was tired and dirty and thirsty and my right shin felt like it was on fire. At that point, my emergency plan was to cross over the fields directly towards the village, call a taxi and call it a day; but then I realized that I couldn’t do that. Because I was walking on higher ground relative to the fields on the left (and because I had plenty to do fighting through the vegetation) I had not noticed, that at some point the fields had changed from harvested crop fields into a vast field of semi-dead sunflowers. They were around two-and-a-half meters high, with stems as thick as my walking pole and there was no more than 15-20 centimeters between them. I wouldn’t have gotten far trying to walk through them and I guess it wouldn’t have been a popular thing to do – and I was already a trespasser.

So I just continued along the tree line by the river, there was not much else I could do. The tree line swung left and right, and the next time I had a view across the fields, the roofs of the small city had disappeared. These small cities on the Meseta have this way of suddenly appearing just to disappear again behind one of the low hills.

On I walked and I started to feel a bit dizzy and I have to admit, that the thought that I could just grab my phone and call for help crossed my mind. But no, you don’t do that.

Eventually I crashed through some thorny bushes and there, just in front of me, was a narrow, dusty dirt road. I never thought one could be so happy to see a narrow dirt road, but in my blurred mind was just the thought that a road, narrow and dusty or not, had to lead to somewhere. I sat down on a rock for a moment and tried to lick the last moisture out of my water bottle. I had lost all sense of direction and had no idea if I should turn left or right –there was nothing to see in either direction. Eventually I turned left for no reason in particular except that a sharp right turn would be against my general political attitude.

It was hot and it was dry and for every step, the powdery grey dust on the road whirled up and settled on my wet shoes and sweaty legs (I was walking in shorts), and the story of Lot’s wife came to mind.

The road was leading up a low hill and after just 15 minutes or so of walking, a church tower started to emerge slowly behind the hill and a few minutes later, there is was, a small pueblo –what a relief!

When, after another 20 minutes, I walked into the village, it was around 3 PM, high siesta-hour, and the streets were all deserted, there was not a sound, not a dog barking, not a cat lying in the shadow. It was actually a bit eerie walking through the streets in the heat and calmness and silence, with all the windows of the old houses blinded and all doors closed, while the inhabitants were probably taking an afternoon nap. I was so tired and so thirsty that I said to myself, that if I didn’t meet a living soul soon, I’d have to knock on some random door and ask for some water and if they’d call me a taxi.

I turned a corner, and there was a man in the street walking towards me. He was very well dressed in a shiny white shirt and tie, and somehow he looked a bit ‘out of context’ on the dusty street in this small, rural village. I asked him (in Spanish, I believe) if there was a bar or tienda or casa that was open, and after some attempts and some arm-flapping he finally got the message and made a random gesture up the street and around the corner.

I thanked him and proceeded as directed, and yes! I heard voices and yes! I saw a small group of people around some tables outside an old house. I wasn’t too aware of good manners at that point, so I just walked by and through the fly-curtain and into the bar room. There were 8-10 men standing at the bar, and for a brief moment, I felt like a stranger walking into a saloon in the Wild West: All conversation stopped and all faces turned towards me. And I must have been quite a sight: Drenched in sweat, covered in mud and dust, torn on arms and legs and probably looking a bit desperate. I dumped my backpack by the entrance, and staggered up to the bar.

Camino angels come in different shapes and disguises, and I met two that day. The first was the young woman behind the bar, who just looked at me and smiled, poured a big glass of cold water and pushed it across the bar towards me. It is remarkable how little it sometimes takes to recuperate. After that glass of water, and another one, I was no longer on the brink of falling flat on the floor and I asked the bar-woman where I was and told her how I got here and why I appeared the way I did. She quickly sensed that she had to speak slowly in order for me to understand, whereas the men were talking and asking questions so rapidly, that I didn’t understand much. The bar-woman relayed what I had told her to the men, which caused a lot of talking and smiles and laughter.

It turned out that I was in the small pueblo of San Mamès de Campos about 4-5 km’s off the Camino where people had hardly seen a pilgrim before. Then appeared the second Camino Angel in the shape of a tall youngish man. He said something to the bar-woman, which she slowly relayed to me (nobody spoke any English, of course). It turned out that he lived in Carriòn de los Condes and offered to give me a ride when he was going back in a short while. He was standing at the bar drinking some clear liquid out of a small, flat bottle which wasn’t very reassuring, but at the state I was in I would have gladly accepted if the devil himself had offered me a ride. All went well; he dropped me off in front of the monesterio Zan Zoilo, gave me a ‘high five’ and raced off in his old car.

I spent the next hour sitting in the late afternoon sunshine wiping mud and dirt off my shoes and legs and shorts and picking off hundreds of small hard burdocks, which seemed to be glued onto my socks and t-shirt. This was carried out in the company of a large glass of cold beer and it didn’t take long before I had convinced myself, that this had been a good day after all.

Hola, @stgcph . Well we pilgrims can be a stubborn lot. I truly congratulate you for your persistence. But I have to ask the question: did you have any usable map or guide book?? Brierley and a number of other books very clearly indicate that when you reach the second road, about 5 km west of Villovieco that you should turn left and head for Villalcazar de Sirga. (BTW I know the false turn to the Amanecer Albergue that you thought trapped you - but its less than 500/600 metres from the trail),. In fact from memory the road into Villalcazar was a sealed road with a church off to your right a couple of hundred metres up the road.
Anyway you have a real tale to tell,. Buen Camino!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#40
I started in Somport... some weeks later I was only hours and about 10 kilometers before Santiago de Compostela (coming from the southeast / Camino de Invierno / Bandeiro).
In a small village the yellow arrows pointed me to a bar in the village... but I could not find the arrows that showed me the way back to my camino. As many times before I looked on my smartphone and followed the red path on the map... back to the main street. The street became a path and the path a narrow path. I thought... well, the last yellow arrow was in the small village... but why should I go back half an hour? I followed the narrow path into the forest and it became a path only used by animals... hmmm... I looked on the map again... in only 200 meters there is a road and there should be a path for the pilgrims on the other side of the road as well. I went through undergrowth and blackberries with spines... then I saw the street but it did not help me that much... the street was about 5 meters below me... and it was very steep and no bushes for holding on... and the street was very close... the idea of falling down, lieing on the street and the next car coming immediately was not that funny... so I went another 300 meters through the undergrowth, blackberries and spines... where I was only 3 meters above the street and where I could hold on a bush. So I climbed down...
about 2 kilometers later the camino and the yellow arrows came back to my route from the right hand side.

So I think the camino got a different route and I lost it at the bar in the small village. And the smartphone with offline map and gps... that had helped me so many times, especially in the darkness of the night... had led me to the wrong, old way this time.
can't like this because it was not funny, but glad to know you did finally manage a safe return to the path...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#41
I started in Somport... some weeks later I was only hours and about 10 kilometers before Santiago de Compostela (coming from the southeast / Camino de Invierno / Bandeiro).
In a small village the yellow arrows pointed me to a bar in the village... but I could not find the arrows that showed me the way back to my camino. As many times before I looked on my smartphone and followed the red path on the map... back to the main street. The street became a path and the path a narrow path. I thought... well, the last yellow arrow was in the small village... but why should I go back half an hour? I followed the narrow path into the forest and it became a path only used by animals... hmmm... I looked on the map again... in only 200 meters there is a road and there should be a path for the pilgrims on the other side of the road as well. I went through undergrowth and blackberries with spines... then I saw the street but it did not help me that much... the street was about 5 meters below me... and it was very steep and no bushes for holding on... and the street was very close... the idea of falling down, lieing on the street and the next car coming immediately was not that funny... so I went another 300 meters through the undergrowth, blackberries and spines... where I was only 3 meters above the street and where I could hold on a bush. So I climbed down...
about 2 kilometers later the camino and the yellow arrows came back to my route from the right hand side.

So I think the camino got a different route and I lost it at the bar in the small village. And the smartphone with offline map and gps... that had helped me so many times, especially in the darkness of the night... had led me to the wrong, old way this time.
@martin1ws
I took exactly the same route walking in from the Sanabres last fall, with the same adventure. But I had less excuse than you did. I saw the new yellow markings straight ahead and the old ones crossed out at an intersection, but I chose to continue following the route marked on my map, which had brought me there all the way from Seville on the VdlP/Sanabres, instead of trusting the new markings. I now know that deliberate new markings may be more reliable than old ones crossed out, but then they could have been just an enterprising business person's directions to a bar. I have seen enough of that, too.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#42
I got lost twice - both times because I followed other pilgrims instead of looking for the arrows myself. The second time was a year later after vowing after the first time to look for arrows myself.
Whats worse, there were two of us!
The first time it involved a backtrack of only a couple of kms.
The second time I did what the OP did, forged ahead, spend 3 more hours walking than planned, and it was only due to meeting a Camino angel that I eventually found the Camino again.
 

stgcph

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
#43
But I have to ask the question: did you have any usable map or guide book?? Brierley and a number of other books very clearly indicate that when you reach the second road
Hola @Saint Mike II. No, I don’t bring guides when I walk. I read through guides and other literature before I go to learn about the history and cultural and religious places and sights as well as general directional advice. After that, I rely on my good memory (which frequently fails) and my sharp vision to spot the yellow arrows (which apparently I sometimes choose to ignore) 🐢 😋
 

stgcph

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
#44
...Or humans left on the planet! :oops:
EDit:...I mean if they continued stubbornly on the NOT beaten path (like you did, turtle back). 😉
Don’t worry –some of us will actually survive; even some of those did, who once sailed out to the horizon convinced that the Earth was flat, and that if they got too close to the edge they’d fall off and into??… o_O
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
camino frances,camino del norte,camino frances
#45
It’s not easy, but you can get lost on the Camino. It happened to me this year and maybe it happened to others as well. I guess it’s a case of bad decisions and stubbornness, but, anyway, here is my story of being lost on the Camino:

On the stage from Fromista to Carriòn de los Condes, you can take the Villovieco variant by turning right in Poblaciòn de Campos and so avoid walking along the main road for the remaining 15 kilometers or so. It’s a much nicer walk starting through flat fields and continuing on a nice path along the small Ucieza river –and only a few kilometers longer than the alternative.

At some point, I think after around 5 km, you cross a small, paved road where yellow arrows point to the left. Straight as I am, I followed the arrows only to discover that they were leading to some albergue and eventually back to the main road. So I turned back and resumed the path along the river. There were occasional Camino markers along the path, so though I was alone, I felt at ease.

After having walked for around another hour, I came to another small road perpendicular to the path with yellow arrows pointing to the left. But on the other side of the road, where the path seemed to continue, there was a signpost with information on the Camino, and I thought ‘Oh no, you won’t fool me again with those yellow arrows’ and I continued on the path along the small river.

The path got increasingly narrow until eventually it wasn’t really a path but only two faint wheel tracks with dry grass on them indicating, that they hadn’t been used for some time. This might have been a good time for the clear headed to turn back –but I didn’t. I had the (very hot) sun in my back and I was thinking something like ‘apparently not many have walked here, but I am generally walking in the right direction and if it gets a bit rough, I can handle it’.

So I kept walking for another 20 minutes or so, and then the tracks simply stopped. There was still a faint indication of a track, where the tall, dry grass seemed to have been bent down in the forward direction. This would have been another good point to decide to turn back, but I didn’t. Soon after, I found myself fighting my way through a wilderness of bushes and waist-high thistles and nettles, but somehow in my mind I had now gone beyond ‘the point of no return’ –no way was I going to walk back 5-6 kilometers through this terrain to pick up the yellow arrows.

So I bulldozed on and my right shin started to hurt quite badly (I had been treated some days before in Burgos for a bad case of Tendonitis), the sun was getting really hot, there was not a wind, I was low on water and around a zillion aggressive flies had decided, that the only aspiration in their lives was to sit on my face.

Shortly after came the point where after all maybe I had to turn back: A two-meter deep ditch with steep banks blocked the path and extended into the horizon on the left. The bottom was covered with weeds, so I couldn’t see how deep the water was. But I was getting stubborn (and perhaps a little desperate) so I slid down the side and into the water, which luckily was only ankle-deep. It was quite a hassle getting up on the other side with backpack, bum-bag and walking pole and I was wet and muddy and drenched in sweat.

The tree line along the river now took a turn to the right and two sights appeared: Across the fields in the distance, I could see the roofs of some houses and right in front of me an old, battered sign on a rotting wooden pole saying “Coto privado”. My first thought was why someone would put up a sign out here in the middle of nowhere, where apparently nobody had been for ages, and my second thought was “Coto privado” or not, I’m not going back. As it was, I don’t think that I could have gone back, that I could have crossed that ditch one more time. I was tired and dirty and thirsty and my right shin felt like it was on fire. At that point, my emergency plan was to cross over the fields directly towards the village, call a taxi and call it a day; but then I realized that I couldn’t do that. Because I was walking on higher ground relative to the fields on the left (and because I had plenty to do fighting through the vegetation) I had not noticed, that at some point the fields had changed from harvested crop fields into a vast field of semi-dead sunflowers. They were around two-and-a-half meters high, with stems as thick as my walking pole and there was no more than 15-20 centimeters between them. I wouldn’t have gotten far trying to walk through them and I guess it wouldn’t have been a popular thing to do – and I was already a trespasser.

So I just continued along the tree line by the river, there was not much else I could do. The tree line swung left and right, and the next time I had a view across the fields, the roofs of the small city had disappeared. These small cities on the Meseta have this way of suddenly appearing just to disappear again behind one of the low hills.

On I walked and I started to feel a bit dizzy and I have to admit, that the thought that I could just grab my phone and call for help crossed my mind. But no, you don’t do that.

Eventually I crashed through some thorny bushes and there, just in front of me, was a narrow, dusty dirt road. I never thought one could be so happy to see a narrow dirt road, but in my blurred mind was just the thought that a road, narrow and dusty or not, had to lead to somewhere. I sat down on a rock for a moment and tried to lick the last moisture out of my water bottle. I had lost all sense of direction and had no idea if I should turn left or right –there was nothing to see in either direction. Eventually I turned left for no reason in particular except that a sharp right turn would be against my general political attitude.

It was hot and it was dry and for every step, the powdery grey dust on the road whirled up and settled on my wet shoes and sweaty legs (I was walking in shorts), and the story of Lot’s wife came to mind.

The road was leading up a low hill and after just 15 minutes or so of walking, a church tower started to emerge slowly behind the hill and a few minutes later, there is was, a small pueblo –what a relief!

When, after another 20 minutes, I walked into the village, it was around 3 PM, high siesta-hour, and the streets were all deserted, there was not a sound, not a dog barking, not a cat lying in the shadow. It was actually a bit eerie walking through the streets in the heat and calmness and silence, with all the windows of the old houses blinded and all doors closed, while the inhabitants were probably taking an afternoon nap. I was so tired and so thirsty that I said to myself, that if I didn’t meet a living soul soon, I’d have to knock on some random door and ask for some water and if they’d call me a taxi.

I turned a corner, and there was a man in the street walking towards me. He was very well dressed in a shiny white shirt and tie, and somehow he looked a bit ‘out of context’ on the dusty street in this small, rural village. I asked him (in Spanish, I believe) if there was a bar or tienda or casa that was open, and after some attempts and some arm-flapping he finally got the message and made a random gesture up the street and around the corner.

I thanked him and proceeded as directed, and yes! I heard voices and yes! I saw a small group of people around some tables outside an old house. I wasn’t too aware of good manners at that point, so I just walked by and through the fly-curtain and into the bar room. There were 8-10 men standing at the bar, and for a brief moment, I felt like a stranger walking into a saloon in the Wild West: All conversation stopped and all faces turned towards me. And I must have been quite a sight: Drenched in sweat, covered in mud and dust, torn on arms and legs and probably looking a bit desperate. I dumped my backpack by the entrance, and staggered up to the bar.

Camino angels come in different shapes and disguises, and I met two that day. The first was the young woman behind the bar, who just looked at me and smiled, poured a big glass of cold water and pushed it across the bar towards me. It is remarkable how little it sometimes takes to recuperate. After that glass of water, and another one, I was no longer on the brink of falling flat on the floor and I asked the bar-woman where I was and told her how I got here and why I appeared the way I did. She quickly sensed that she had to speak slowly in order for me to understand, whereas the men were talking and asking questions so rapidly, that I didn’t understand much. The bar-woman relayed what I had told her to the men, which caused a lot of talking and smiles and laughter.

It turned out that I was in the small pueblo of San Mamès de Campos about 4-5 km’s off the Camino where people had hardly seen a pilgrim before. Then appeared the second Camino Angel in the shape of a tall youngish man. He said something to the bar-woman, which she slowly relayed to me (nobody spoke any English, of course). It turned out that he lived in Carriòn de los Condes and offered to give me a ride when he was going back in a short while. He was standing at the bar drinking some clear liquid out of a small, flat bottle which wasn’t very reassuring, but at the state I was in I would have gladly accepted if the devil himself had offered me a ride. All went well; he dropped me off in front of the monesterio Zan Zoilo, gave me a ‘high five’ and raced off in his old car.

I spent the next hour sitting in the late afternoon sunshine wiping mud and dirt off my shoes and legs and shorts and picking off hundreds of small hard burdocks, which seemed to be glued onto my socks and t-shirt. This was carried out in the company of a large glass of cold beer and it didn’t take long before I had convinced myself, that this had been a good day after all.
Enhorabuena peregrino,so glad you were safe at the end.Love the walking into a saloon like John Wayne.
 

stevov

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
walked the portuguese way (senda littoral). from porto, vila do conde via viana and redondela Jun 17
#46
It’s not easy, but you can get lost on the Camino. It happened to me this year and maybe it happened to others as well. I guess it’s a case of bad decisions and stubbornness, but, anyway, here is my story of being lost on the Camino:

On the stage from Fromista to Carriòn de los Condes, you can take the Villovieco variant by turning right in Poblaciòn de Campos and so avoid walking along the main road for the remaining 15 kilometers or so. It’s a much nicer walk starting through flat fields and continuing on a nice path along the small Ucieza river –and only a few kilometers longer than the alternative.

At some point, I think after around 5 km, you cross a small, paved road where yellow arrows point to the left. Straight as I am, I followed the arrows only to discover that they were leading to some albergue and eventually back to the main road. So I turned back and resumed the path along the river. There were occasional Camino markers along the path, so though I was alone, I felt at ease.

After having walked for around another hour, I came to another small road perpendicular to the path with yellow arrows pointing to the left. But on the other side of the road, where the path seemed to continue, there was a signpost with information on the Camino, and I thought ‘Oh no, you won’t fool me again with those yellow arrows’ and I continued on the path along the small river.

The path got increasingly narrow until eventually it wasn’t really a path but only two faint wheel tracks with dry grass on them indicating, that they hadn’t been used for some time. This might have been a good time for the clear headed to turn back –but I didn’t. I had the (very hot) sun in my back and I was thinking something like ‘apparently not many have walked here, but I am generally walking in the right direction and if it gets a bit rough, I can handle it’.

So I kept walking for another 20 minutes or so, and then the tracks simply stopped. There was still a faint indication of a track, where the tall, dry grass seemed to have been bent down in the forward direction. This would have been another good point to decide to turn back, but I didn’t. Soon after, I found myself fighting my way through a wilderness of bushes and waist-high thistles and nettles, but somehow in my mind I had now gone beyond ‘the point of no return’ –no way was I going to walk back 5-6 kilometers through this terrain to pick up the yellow arrows.

So I bulldozed on and my right shin started to hurt quite badly (I had been treated some days before in Burgos for a bad case of Tendonitis), the sun was getting really hot, there was not a wind, I was low on water and around a zillion aggressive flies had decided, that the only aspiration in their lives was to sit on my face.

Shortly after came the point where after all maybe I had to turn back: A two-meter deep ditch with steep banks blocked the path and extended into the horizon on the left. The bottom was covered with weeds, so I couldn’t see how deep the water was. But I was getting stubborn (and perhaps a little desperate) so I slid down the side and into the water, which luckily was only ankle-deep. It was quite a hassle getting up on the other side with backpack, bum-bag and walking pole and I was wet and muddy and drenched in sweat.

The tree line along the river now took a turn to the right and two sights appeared: Across the fields in the distance, I could see the roofs of some houses and right in front of me an old, battered sign on a rotting wooden pole saying “Coto privado”. My first thought was why someone would put up a sign out here in the middle of nowhere, where apparently nobody had been for ages, and my second thought was “Coto privado” or not, I’m not going back. As it was, I don’t think that I could have gone back, that I could have crossed that ditch one more time. I was tired and dirty and thirsty and my right shin felt like it was on fire. At that point, my emergency plan was to cross over the fields directly towards the village, call a taxi and call it a day; but then I realized that I couldn’t do that. Because I was walking on higher ground relative to the fields on the left (and because I had plenty to do fighting through the vegetation) I had not noticed, that at some point the fields had changed from harvested crop fields into a vast field of semi-dead sunflowers. They were around two-and-a-half meters high, with stems as thick as my walking pole and there was no more than 15-20 centimeters between them. I wouldn’t have gotten far trying to walk through them and I guess it wouldn’t have been a popular thing to do – and I was already a trespasser.

So I just continued along the tree line by the river, there was not much else I could do. The tree line swung left and right, and the next time I had a view across the fields, the roofs of the small city had disappeared. These small cities on the Meseta have this way of suddenly appearing just to disappear again behind one of the low hills.

On I walked and I started to feel a bit dizzy and I have to admit, that the thought that I could just grab my phone and call for help crossed my mind. But no, you don’t do that.

Eventually I crashed through some thorny bushes and there, just in front of me, was a narrow, dusty dirt road. I never thought one could be so happy to see a narrow dirt road, but in my blurred mind was just the thought that a road, narrow and dusty or not, had to lead to somewhere. I sat down on a rock for a moment and tried to lick the last moisture out of my water bottle. I had lost all sense of direction and had no idea if I should turn left or right –there was nothing to see in either direction. Eventually I turned left for no reason in particular except that a sharp right turn would be against my general political attitude.

It was hot and it was dry and for every step, the powdery grey dust on the road whirled up and settled on my wet shoes and sweaty legs (I was walking in shorts), and the story of Lot’s wife came to mind.

The road was leading up a low hill and after just 15 minutes or so of walking, a church tower started to emerge slowly behind the hill and a few minutes later, there is was, a small pueblo –what a relief!

When, after another 20 minutes, I walked into the village, it was around 3 PM, high siesta-hour, and the streets were all deserted, there was not a sound, not a dog barking, not a cat lying in the shadow. It was actually a bit eerie walking through the streets in the heat and calmness and silence, with all the windows of the old houses blinded and all doors closed, while the inhabitants were probably taking an afternoon nap. I was so tired and so thirsty that I said to myself, that if I didn’t meet a living soul soon, I’d have to knock on some random door and ask for some water and if they’d call me a taxi.

I turned a corner, and there was a man in the street walking towards me. He was very well dressed in a shiny white shirt and tie, and somehow he looked a bit ‘out of context’ on the dusty street in this small, rural village. I asked him (in Spanish, I believe) if there was a bar or tienda or casa that was open, and after some attempts and some arm-flapping he finally got the message and made a random gesture up the street and around the corner.

I thanked him and proceeded as directed, and yes! I heard voices and yes! I saw a small group of people around some tables outside an old house. I wasn’t too aware of good manners at that point, so I just walked by and through the fly-curtain and into the bar room. There were 8-10 men standing at the bar, and for a brief moment, I felt like a stranger walking into a saloon in the Wild West: All conversation stopped and all faces turned towards me. And I must have been quite a sight: Drenched in sweat, covered in mud and dust, torn on arms and legs and probably looking a bit desperate. I dumped my backpack by the entrance, and staggered up to the bar.

Camino angels come in different shapes and disguises, and I met two that day. The first was the young woman behind the bar, who just looked at me and smiled, poured a big glass of cold water and pushed it across the bar towards me. It is remarkable how little it sometimes takes to recuperate. After that glass of water, and another one, I was no longer on the brink of falling flat on the floor and I asked the bar-woman where I was and told her how I got here and why I appeared the way I did. She quickly sensed that she had to speak slowly in order for me to understand, whereas the men were talking and asking questions so rapidly, that I didn’t understand much. The bar-woman relayed what I had told her to the men, which caused a lot of talking and smiles and laughter.

It turned out that I was in the small pueblo of San Mamès de Campos about 4-5 km’s off the Camino where people had hardly seen a pilgrim before. Then appeared the second Camino Angel in the shape of a tall youngish man. He said something to the bar-woman, which she slowly relayed to me (nobody spoke any English, of course). It turned out that he lived in Carriòn de los Condes and offered to give me a ride when he was going back in a short while. He was standing at the bar drinking some clear liquid out of a small, flat bottle which wasn’t very reassuring, but at the state I was in I would have gladly accepted if the devil himself had offered me a ride. All went well; he dropped me off in front of the monesterio Zan Zoilo, gave me a ‘high five’ and raced off in his old car.

I spent the next hour sitting in the late afternoon sunshine wiping mud and dirt off my shoes and legs and shorts and picking off hundreds of small hard burdocks, which seemed to be glued onto my socks and t-shirt. This was carried out in the company of a large glass of cold beer and it didn’t take long before I had convinced myself, that this had been a good day after all.
Here is mine from the camino portugues coastal...
After Povoa I end up walking into trouble. Firstly, after a while and from time to time, the boardwalks just end, and with no clear path and with no arrows or way signs to help, I start to think I am getting a bit lost. This becomes a bit of a pattern, but after god knows how many kms, my food and more importantly, water is all gone, the sun has been blazing on my uncovered head, and I can’t see anything now of the coast.
I seem to walk endlessly, assuming I will come across a town with shop or cafe, but actually after walking through agricultural land I’m now in the wooded Parque Natural …and getting a bit dehydrated …
By the time I find some civilisation (Fao), it turns out I am only 3 kms from Esposende. I’m a little shocked when I realise that I have walked about 18k in the blazing heat without stopping!
I drag myself into the nearest cafe (seems to be a youth spot) and get some water straight away (I ask for a full litre from the fridge!). The young people don’t seem at all bothered by my presence which helps given the state I’m in. I rest a little and then finish the walk. Exhausted by the time I reach Esposende, I go straight into a restaurant for a much needed meal …I haven’t eaten since my fruit and biscuit break in Povoa this morning!…

After I check in at the guest house I clean up and then simply crash out…I am suffering from heat exhaustion, my head is thumping and I have a seriously sunburnt neck from not wearing a hat.
 

stgcph

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
#47
Here is mine from the camino portugues coastal...
After Povoa I end up walking into trouble. Firstly, after a while and from time to time, the boardwalks just end, and with no clear path and with no arrows or way signs to help, I start to think I am getting a bit lost. This becomes a bit of a pattern, but after god knows how many kms, my food and more importantly, water is all gone, the sun has been blazing on my uncovered head, and I can’t see anything now of the coast.
I seem to walk endlessly, assuming I will come across a town with shop or cafe, but actually after walking through agricultural land I’m now in the wooded Parque Natural …and getting a bit dehydrated …
By the time I find some civilisation (Fao), it turns out I am only 3 kms from Esposende. I’m a little shocked when I realise that I have walked about 18k in the blazing heat without stopping!
I drag myself into the nearest cafe (seems to be a youth spot) and get some water straight away (I ask for a full litre from the fridge!). The young people don’t seem at all bothered by my presence which helps given the state I’m in. I rest a little and then finish the walk. Exhausted by the time I reach Esposende, I go straight into a restaurant for a much needed meal …I haven’t eaten since my fruit and biscuit break in Povoa this morning!…

After I check in at the guest house I clean up and then simply crash out…I am suffering from heat exhaustion, my head is thumping and I have a seriously sunburnt neck from not wearing a hat.
Great story –and great adventure. It can be a little worrying while happening, but these are some of the days you remember.:)
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF (SJPdP to Santiago) March 15, 2018
#48
QUOTE]

I am glad everything turned out great for you and what a great Camino story that you have now certainly not the average one. The great thing is there are good people all over the world that are willing to help another. We to were turned around on the CF as well but not that severely, locals putting their own arrows so they can get business to their business, though frustrating we never got angry as how can you feel anger to someone that probably just wants to feed their family and added to our Camino Story. We heard others taking wrong turns that would take then off the normal way and they ended up walking an hour or two in the not planned areas.
 

4 Eyes

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF from SJPP 14, VDLP from Seville 15, DN&P from Irun 16, Portuguese from Lisbon 17
#49
You certainly are stubborn but you are a good story teller. Yes I too have been lost many times on several caminos. Each time there were camino angles to help me too but I'm not a good story teller.
Yes, once I had a dog angel on the VDLP to help me too, but not from getting lost. It walked me from the start of the village to the end of the village passing a pack of mean barking dogs. My angel dog barked at them and held them back for me. Once I got through the village it looked at me then turned around and returned to the village.
 

Ernesto.IT

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
#50
Hi stgcph, thank you for sharing. By reading you, a chill run down my spine, I thought I was reading one of my adventure in one of my camino, the only difference I did find myself 15 Km out and at the bar I reached I had 5 pint of cool clara. When I did loose myself ( and it did happen many time ) I call out to James and believe me or not, it appear someone from somewhere to indicate me the right way. This is the magic of the pilgrimage that I have learned to love in all my camino.
Ultrea
 
Last edited:

Karinhi

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(Sept. 2017) SJPDP to Burgos.
(Sept. 2019) plan to complete the Camino Frances.
#51
It’s not easy, but you can get lost on the Camino. It happened to me this year and maybe it happened to others as well. I guess it’s a case of bad decisions and stubbornness, but, anyway, here is my story of being lost on the Camino:

On the stage from Fromista to Carriòn de los Condes, you can take the Villovieco variant by turning right in Poblaciòn de Campos and so avoid walking along the main road for the remaining 15 kilometers or so. It’s a much nicer walk starting through flat fields and continuing on a nice path along the small Ucieza river –and only a few kilometers longer than the alternative.

At some point, I think after around 5 km, you cross a small, paved road where yellow arrows point to the left. Straight as I am, I followed the arrows only to discover that they were leading to some albergue and eventually back to the main road. So I turned back and resumed the path along the river. There were occasional Camino markers along the path, so though I was alone, I felt at ease.

After having walked for around another hour, I came to another small road perpendicular to the path with yellow arrows pointing to the left. But on the other side of the road, where the path seemed to continue, there was a signpost with information on the Camino, and I thought ‘Oh no, you won’t fool me again with those yellow arrows’ and I continued on the path along the small river.

The path got increasingly narrow until eventually it wasn’t really a path but only two faint wheel tracks with dry grass on them indicating, that they hadn’t been used for some time. This might have been a good time for the clear headed to turn back –but I didn’t. I had the (very hot) sun in my back and I was thinking something like ‘apparently not many have walked here, but I am generally walking in the right direction and if it gets a bit rough, I can handle it’.

So I kept walking for another 20 minutes or so, and then the tracks simply stopped. There was still a faint indication of a track, where the tall, dry grass seemed to have been bent down in the forward direction. This would have been another good point to decide to turn back, but I didn’t. Soon after, I found myself fighting my way through a wilderness of bushes and waist-high thistles and nettles, but somehow in my mind I had now gone beyond ‘the point of no return’ –no way was I going to walk back 5-6 kilometers through this terrain to pick up the yellow arrows.

So I bulldozed on and my right shin started to hurt quite badly (I had been treated some days before in Burgos for a bad case of Tendonitis), the sun was getting really hot, there was not a wind, I was low on water and around a zillion aggressive flies had decided, that the only aspiration in their lives was to sit on my face.

Shortly after came the point where after all maybe I had to turn back: A two-meter deep ditch with steep banks blocked the path and extended into the horizon on the left. The bottom was covered with weeds, so I couldn’t see how deep the water was. But I was getting stubborn (and perhaps a little desperate) so I slid down the side and into the water, which luckily was only ankle-deep. It was quite a hassle getting up on the other side with backpack, bum-bag and walking pole and I was wet and muddy and drenched in sweat.

The tree line along the river now took a turn to the right and two sights appeared: Across the fields in the distance, I could see the roofs of some houses and right in front of me an old, battered sign on a rotting wooden pole saying “Coto privado”. My first thought was why someone would put up a sign out here in the middle of nowhere, where apparently nobody had been for ages, and my second thought was “Coto privado” or not, I’m not going back. As it was, I don’t think that I could have gone back, that I could have crossed that ditch one more time. I was tired and dirty and thirsty and my right shin felt like it was on fire. At that point, my emergency plan was to cross over the fields directly towards the village, call a taxi and call it a day; but then I realized that I couldn’t do that. Because I was walking on higher ground relative to the fields on the left (and because I had plenty to do fighting through the vegetation) I had not noticed, that at some point the fields had changed from harvested crop fields into a vast field of semi-dead sunflowers. They were around two-and-a-half meters high, with stems as thick as my walking pole and there was no more than 15-20 centimeters between them. I wouldn’t have gotten far trying to walk through them and I guess it wouldn’t have been a popular thing to do – and I was already a trespasser.

So I just continued along the tree line by the river, there was not much else I could do. The tree line swung left and right, and the next time I had a view across the fields, the roofs of the small city had disappeared. These small cities on the Meseta have this way of suddenly appearing just to disappear again behind one of the low hills.

On I walked and I started to feel a bit dizzy and I have to admit, that the thought that I could just grab my phone and call for help crossed my mind. But no, you don’t do that.

Eventually I crashed through some thorny bushes and there, just in front of me, was a narrow, dusty dirt road. I never thought one could be so happy to see a narrow dirt road, but in my blurred mind was just the thought that a road, narrow and dusty or not, had to lead to somewhere. I sat down on a rock for a moment and tried to lick the last moisture out of my water bottle. I had lost all sense of direction and had no idea if I should turn left or right –there was nothing to see in either direction. Eventually I turned left for no reason in particular except that a sharp right turn would be against my general political attitude.

It was hot and it was dry and for every step, the powdery grey dust on the road whirled up and settled on my wet shoes and sweaty legs (I was walking in shorts), and the story of Lot’s wife came to mind.

The road was leading up a low hill and after just 15 minutes or so of walking, a church tower started to emerge slowly behind the hill and a few minutes later, there is was, a small pueblo –what a relief!

When, after another 20 minutes, I walked into the village, it was around 3 PM, high siesta-hour, and the streets were all deserted, there was not a sound, not a dog barking, not a cat lying in the shadow. It was actually a bit eerie walking through the streets in the heat and calmness and silence, with all the windows of the old houses blinded and all doors closed, while the inhabitants were probably taking an afternoon nap. I was so tired and so thirsty that I said to myself, that if I didn’t meet a living soul soon, I’d have to knock on some random door and ask for some water and if they’d call me a taxi.

I turned a corner, and there was a man in the street walking towards me. He was very well dressed in a shiny white shirt and tie, and somehow he looked a bit ‘out of context’ on the dusty street in this small, rural village. I asked him (in Spanish, I believe) if there was a bar or tienda or casa that was open, and after some attempts and some arm-flapping he finally got the message and made a random gesture up the street and around the corner.

I thanked him and proceeded as directed, and yes! I heard voices and yes! I saw a small group of people around some tables outside an old house. I wasn’t too aware of good manners at that point, so I just walked by and through the fly-curtain and into the bar room. There were 8-10 men standing at the bar, and for a brief moment, I felt like a stranger walking into a saloon in the Wild West: All conversation stopped and all faces turned towards me. And I must have been quite a sight: Drenched in sweat, covered in mud and dust, torn on arms and legs and probably looking a bit desperate. I dumped my backpack by the entrance, and staggered up to the bar.

Camino angels come in different shapes and disguises, and I met two that day. The first was the young woman behind the bar, who just looked at me and smiled, poured a big glass of cold water and pushed it across the bar towards me. It is remarkable how little it sometimes takes to recuperate. After that glass of water, and another one, I was no longer on the brink of falling flat on the floor and I asked the bar-woman where I was and told her how I got here and why I appeared the way I did. She quickly sensed that she had to speak slowly in order for me to understand, whereas the men were talking and asking questions so rapidly, that I didn’t understand much. The bar-woman relayed what I had told her to the men, which caused a lot of talking and smiles and laughter.

It turned out that I was in the small pueblo of San Mamès de Campos about 4-5 km’s off the Camino where people had hardly seen a pilgrim before. Then appeared the second Camino Angel in the shape of a tall youngish man. He said something to the bar-woman, which she slowly relayed to me (nobody spoke any English, of course). It turned out that he lived in Carriòn de los Condes and offered to give me a ride when he was going back in a short while. He was standing at the bar drinking some clear liquid out of a small, flat bottle which wasn’t very reassuring, but at the state I was in I would have gladly accepted if the devil himself had offered me a ride. All went well; he dropped me off in front of the monesterio Zan Zoilo, gave me a ‘high five’ and raced off in his old car.

I spent the next hour sitting in the late afternoon sunshine wiping mud and dirt off my shoes and legs and shorts and picking off hundreds of small hard burdocks, which seemed to be glued onto my socks and t-shirt. This was carried out in the company of a large glass of cold beer and it didn’t take long before I had convinced myself, that this had been a good day after all.
I really enjoyed your tale! You are a good story teller. Your words brought back snippets of memories of my own Camino moments, although I was never as lost as you were. Your final sentence really summed up my feelings after several difficult days, on the Camino and at other times in my life.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#52
So interesting to read these stories of getting lost, but then always found again...by camino angels, our own intuition, eventually finding the yellow arrows, or using a gps! Even more interesting is that in spite of the insecurity and lack of control we feel at the time....we always long to return to the Camino for a second, third, or even tenth time!! :)
 

stgcph

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
#54
So interesting to read these stories of getting lost, but then always found again...by camino angels, our own intuition, eventually finding the yellow arrows, or using a gps! Even more interesting is that in spite of the insecurity and lack of control we feel at the time....we always long to return to the Camino for a second, third, or even tenth time!! :)
Yes, that is interesting. There is another thread going on (Camino as a source of joy) about some of the deeper sentiments that draw us back to the Camino. Perhaps, on another level, this lack of control that you mention, is another factor which (subconsciously?) we find attractive as an alternative to the quite controlled lives that most of lead normally.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF September (2018)
#55
It’s not easy, but you can get lost on the Camino. It happened to me this year and maybe it happened to others as well. I guess it’s a case of bad decisions and stubbornness, but, anyway, here is my story of being lost on the Camino:

On the stage from Fromista to Carriòn de los Condes, you can take the Villovieco variant by turning right in Poblaciòn de Campos and so avoid walking along the main road for the remaining 15 kilometers or so. It’s a much nicer walk starting through flat fields and continuing on a nice path along the small Ucieza river –and only a few kilometers longer than the alternative.

At some point, I think after around 5 km, you cross a small, paved road where yellow arrows point to the left. Straight as I am, I followed the arrows only to discover that they were leading to some albergue and eventually back to the main road. So I turned back and resumed the path along the river. There were occasional Camino markers along the path, so though I was alone, I felt at ease.

After having walked for around another hour, I came to another small road perpendicular to the path with yellow arrows pointing to the left. But on the other side of the road, where the path seemed to continue, there was a signpost with information on the Camino, and I thought ‘Oh no, you won’t fool me again with those yellow arrows’ and I continued on the path along the small river.

The path got increasingly narrow until eventually it wasn’t really a path but only two faint wheel tracks with dry grass on them indicating, that they hadn’t been used for some time. This might have been a good time for the clear headed to turn back –but I didn’t. I had the (very hot) sun in my back and I was thinking something like ‘apparently not many have walked here, but I am generally walking in the right direction and if it gets a bit rough, I can handle it’.

So I kept walking for another 20 minutes or so, and then the tracks simply stopped. There was still a faint indication of a track, where the tall, dry grass seemed to have been bent down in the forward direction. This would have been another good point to decide to turn back, but I didn’t. Soon after, I found myself fighting my way through a wilderness of bushes and waist-high thistles and nettles, but somehow in my mind I had now gone beyond ‘the point of no return’ –no way was I going to walk back 5-6 kilometers through this terrain to pick up the yellow arrows.

So I bulldozed on and my right shin started to hurt quite badly (I had been treated some days before in Burgos for a bad case of Tendonitis), the sun was getting really hot, there was not a wind, I was low on water and around a zillion aggressive flies had decided, that the only aspiration in their lives was to sit on my face.

Shortly after came the point where after all maybe I had to turn back: A two-meter deep ditch with steep banks blocked the path and extended into the horizon on the left. The bottom was covered with weeds, so I couldn’t see how deep the water was. But I was getting stubborn (and perhaps a little desperate) so I slid down the side and into the water, which luckily was only ankle-deep. It was quite a hassle getting up on the other side with backpack, bum-bag and walking pole and I was wet and muddy and drenched in sweat.

The tree line along the river now took a turn to the right and two sights appeared: Across the fields in the distance, I could see the roofs of some houses and right in front of me an old, battered sign on a rotting wooden pole saying “Coto privado”. My first thought was why someone would put up a sign out here in the middle of nowhere, where apparently nobody had been for ages, and my second thought was “Coto privado” or not, I’m not going back. As it was, I don’t think that I could have gone back, that I could have crossed that ditch one more time. I was tired and dirty and thirsty and my right shin felt like it was on fire. At that point, my emergency plan was to cross over the fields directly towards the village, call a taxi and call it a day; but then I realized that I couldn’t do that. Because I was walking on higher ground relative to the fields on the left (and because I had plenty to do fighting through the vegetation) I had not noticed, that at some point the fields had changed from harvested crop fields into a vast field of semi-dead sunflowers. They were around two-and-a-half meters high, with stems as thick as my walking pole and there was no more than 15-20 centimeters between them. I wouldn’t have gotten far trying to walk through them and I guess it wouldn’t have been a popular thing to do – and I was already a trespasser.

So I just continued along the tree line by the river, there was not much else I could do. The tree line swung left and right, and the next time I had a view across the fields, the roofs of the small city had disappeared. These small cities on the Meseta have this way of suddenly appearing just to disappear again behind one of the low hills.

On I walked and I started to feel a bit dizzy and I have to admit, that the thought that I could just grab my phone and call for help crossed my mind. But no, you don’t do that.

Eventually I crashed through some thorny bushes and there, just in front of me, was a narrow, dusty dirt road. I never thought one could be so happy to see a narrow dirt road, but in my blurred mind was just the thought that a road, narrow and dusty or not, had to lead to somewhere. I sat down on a rock for a moment and tried to lick the last moisture out of my water bottle. I had lost all sense of direction and had no idea if I should turn left or right –there was nothing to see in either direction. Eventually I turned left for no reason in particular except that a sharp right turn would be against my general political attitude.

It was hot and it was dry and for every step, the powdery grey dust on the road whirled up and settled on my wet shoes and sweaty legs (I was walking in shorts), and the story of Lot’s wife came to mind.

The road was leading up a low hill and after just 15 minutes or so of walking, a church tower started to emerge slowly behind the hill and a few minutes later, there is was, a small pueblo –what a relief!

When, after another 20 minutes, I walked into the village, it was around 3 PM, high siesta-hour, and the streets were all deserted, there was not a sound, not a dog barking, not a cat lying in the shadow. It was actually a bit eerie walking through the streets in the heat and calmness and silence, with all the windows of the old houses blinded and all doors closed, while the inhabitants were probably taking an afternoon nap. I was so tired and so thirsty that I said to myself, that if I didn’t meet a living soul soon, I’d have to knock on some random door and ask for some water and if they’d call me a taxi.

I turned a corner, and there was a man in the street walking towards me. He was very well dressed in a shiny white shirt and tie, and somehow he looked a bit ‘out of context’ on the dusty street in this small, rural village. I asked him (in Spanish, I believe) if there was a bar or tienda or casa that was open, and after some attempts and some arm-flapping he finally got the message and made a random gesture up the street and around the corner.

I thanked him and proceeded as directed, and yes! I heard voices and yes! I saw a small group of people around some tables outside an old house. I wasn’t too aware of good manners at that point, so I just walked by and through the fly-curtain and into the bar room. There were 8-10 men standing at the bar, and for a brief moment, I felt like a stranger walking into a saloon in the Wild West: All conversation stopped and all faces turned towards me. And I must have been quite a sight: Drenched in sweat, covered in mud and dust, torn on arms and legs and probably looking a bit desperate. I dumped my backpack by the entrance, and staggered up to the bar.

Camino angels come in different shapes and disguises, and I met two that day. The first was the young woman behind the bar, who just looked at me and smiled, poured a big glass of cold water and pushed it across the bar towards me. It is remarkable how little it sometimes takes to recuperate. After that glass of water, and another one, I was no longer on the brink of falling flat on the floor and I asked the bar-woman where I was and told her how I got here and why I appeared the way I did. She quickly sensed that she had to speak slowly in order for me to understand, whereas the men were talking and asking questions so rapidly, that I didn’t understand much. The bar-woman relayed what I had told her to the men, which caused a lot of talking and smiles and laughter.

It turned out that I was in the small pueblo of San Mamès de Campos about 4-5 km’s off the Camino where people had hardly seen a pilgrim before. Then appeared the second Camino Angel in the shape of a tall youngish man. He said something to the bar-woman, which she slowly relayed to me (nobody spoke any English, of course). It turned out that he lived in Carriòn de los Condes and offered to give me a ride when he was going back in a short while. He was standing at the bar drinking some clear liquid out of a small, flat bottle which wasn’t very reassuring, but at the state I was in I would have gladly accepted if the devil himself had offered me a ride. All went well; he dropped me off in front of the monesterio Zan Zoilo, gave me a ‘high five’ and raced off in his old car.

I spent the next hour sitting in the late afternoon sunshine wiping mud and dirt off my shoes and legs and shorts and picking off hundreds of small hard burdocks, which seemed to be glued onto my socks and t-shirt. This was carried out in the company of a large glass of cold beer and it didn’t take long before I had convinced myself, that this had been a good day after all.
I might have had a similar experience (dont recall where...somewhere before sarria) had i not referred to myTrekRite camino frances app when i figured out something wasnt quite right. It was just after a tunnel/underpass. I instinctively headed left with the path, not realizing there was a large sign i missed on the tunnel exit wall that directed walkers to the right. It was also dark so i was using a headlamp. They say you cant get lost on the camino, just follow the signs. Not always true. I also got lost in a city when following the signs through a park in daylight and on exiting the path, no signs, but four directions to choose from. I didnt use this app often for navigating, but when i did, it saved me a lot of trouble!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo,2017,Argonne and salvador,sept.2019
#57
So true. Turning back feels just wrong on the camino (or elsewhere) but it almost never is the wrong thing to do. Was saved by an angel farmer of the male variety after walking an extra 6 km on a 35km day on the Primitivo. I will not forget that day and turning back now sounds very appealing if I am uncertain ;) Thanks for sharing and I'm glad the story ended happily.
I did the same thing on the way to fonsegrada,turned left at a cemetery,and walked 3 km down a small paved road,until I met a man on a tractor who told me the error of my ways. The funny part was that my companion and I were laughing about the lack of posts and arrows! DUH!
 

OLDER threads on this topic



Most read today


A few items available from the Camino Forum Store



Advertisement

Booking.com

Most read today

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 11 1.4%
  • February

    Votes: 5 0.6%
  • March

    Votes: 35 4.4%
  • April

    Votes: 117 14.8%
  • May

    Votes: 192 24.3%
  • June

    Votes: 55 7.0%
  • July

    Votes: 15 1.9%
  • August

    Votes: 12 1.5%
  • September

    Votes: 236 29.9%
  • October

    Votes: 96 12.2%
  • November

    Votes: 11 1.4%
  • December

    Votes: 5 0.6%
Top