Rionegro del Puente to Asturianos

Another good day! Some 26kms walked. I was away by 8.00am. Here’s a view of the day ahead:

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Another still, sunny, warm to hot day.

I will let the figures speak for themselves:

Arrived Mombuey (8.5kms) at 10.30am i.e. two and a half hours. I had a half-hour break here for breakfast.

Arrived Valdemerilla (5kms) at 12.10 i.e. one hour and 10 minutes

Arrived Cernadilla (3.5kms) at 1.00pm i.e. fifty minutes

Arrived San Salvador de Palazuelos (2km) i.e. 45 minutes

Arrived Entrepenas (3.5kms) i.e. one hour and five minutes, where I had another break and a late snack

Arrived Asturianos (3km) at 4.00pm i.e. fifty minutes.

As you can see, it was pretty steady walking most of the day. I am surprised myself at the ability to keep going. About 5 weeks ago this would have been impossible. I guess it is the stamina that I have been able to build in the past weeks. I guess it is also in part McInerney stoicism, getting on with the job, getting on with what needs to be done. I guess it is in part Fitzgerald (my mother’s maiden name) character, the motto of the family crest being Crom abu, which I am told means “Never give up”.

I walked alone all day, but not lonely. The Austrian couple caught up with me at a couple of points, but where they rested, I went on, till finally they overtook me at the point where I had a break but they went on.

I would like to say that I crossed the terrain lost in my thoughts, but the truth is that on a long walk, the mind tends to get mesmerised, monitoring the metronomic pace of the walking and the sound of footsteps and the walking poles. Incidentally, these are “thwack” and “dhwump” – the walking poles have hard metal tips for digging in, but usually are capped with a rubber cap to prevent scratching. I seem to have lost one of the caps, getting stuck in the mud somewhere before Salamanca. I only noticed it when one pole was slipping on the flagstones in Salamanca because the metal tip could not get any grip!

But yes, I did spend some time thinking. I am begging to think of the end of the journey, which is now less than two weeks away. I am also beginning to think about what the journey means. No doubt I will share more about this when my thoughts have matured. Perhaps the camino will be a well from which I will continue to draw in the months and years ahead.

But along the way, I also took time to enjoy the scenery.

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Some flowers in one of the towns through which I passed.

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The wild flowers continue to be in bloom.

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At one stage, I passed through a wooded lane. It was lovely. The shade, the greenery, the passage.

My outstanding memory of the day as I passed through the terrain was the peace and serenity of the countryside. Even the several small villages through which I passed, each not far from the next, as the figures show, were quiet, sleepy, peaceful, on a sunny Sunday afternoon. But it was the peace of the country that was the most outstanding memory.

When I arrived at Asturianos I settled in to the albergue. It was pointed out that the oak tree outside was over 500 years old.

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The albergue was part of a sporting clomplex. The 6 places (3 double bunks) were all taken, so I was given a mattress on the floor. It was actually quite comfortable.

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I had missed the Mass the previous night. The hostal managers had told us Mass would be when the church bells rang. So we ordered our meal at once so we could be ready to go when the bells rang. But when the bells rang, they told us not to rush, as the Rosary would be first. So I finished my meal and my blog, arrived at the church, and the Rosary was going on, but it was the Rosary after the Mass, not before it. So I missed out.

Since it was Sunday, I wanted to celebrate Mass. I intended to do the wine/bread service as I had done previously, and mentioned this to a Spanish pilgrim who had good English. We went to the bar to check out possibilities, and were informed that the parish priest was in the bar along with another priest, presumably from an adjacent parish. The parish priest offered to open the church for us (a small chapel, rather than the parish church). So when we were showered, we went to the church. We were two Spanish male pilgrims, one single Irish woman pilgrim, the parish priest acting as altar boy, and myself. Afterwards, we had a wine together, then later a meal. Hence I was not able to compose my usual blog before it was time to go to bed.

Ultreia!!

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