Another good day, easy enough, 21.6 kms.
We left the hostal at 6.30am. Soon we were crossing the Roman Bridge over Mino’s River. Here I am setting out:
My companions went ahead and I had the day to myself.
The day was cloudy and overcast. The forecast was possible light showers. The former was good for walking, the latter would make walking more difficult, so I hoped I would be at my destination before the predicted showers.
Once out of the city, there was a steep climb of 300 metres over about 4kms. It soon had me warmed up and perspiring.
Upwards – on flagstones!
Upwards – on paving stones!!
Upwards – on tarmac!
Upwards – on a dirt road!
You have the drill by now. Imagine another 30 photos, all upwards. Did I mention it was a steep climb? Actually, it wasn’t too bad, not as bad as I feared, but I was still puffing as I made my way upwards. I was glad to top the final rise and see the road level out in front of me. Most of the rest of the day was easier terrain, some up and down, but nothing particularly steep, more or less maintaining the same height over the next 15kms.
Once over the rise, the camino path followed along the shoulder of the road. I followed along. After a while, I passed through a town that was not on my map! I was not too concerned, as the map and the guide book both seem out of date, neither of them coinciding with the actual path. But after a while, I realised I had not seen any arrow signs. Then I realised I was heading West, instead of North (thanks again, Deirdre, for the tip, of bringing a compass). I was lost! For the first time in weeks!!
It was the one day when I did not want to get lost. Firstly, my leg was still a bit sore. I wanted to rest it as much as possible. I did not want to walk any extra kilometres.
Also, the sky was dark and threatening rain, and I would sooner be indoors than walking in the rain, so wanted to get to my destination without any delays.
I checked my navigation on the mobile phone. I reckoned I could make it to one of the towns along the way, using the main road. But I preferred the camino path, if possible, as it tended to be rural. I reckoned the dirt and grassy tracks are softer to walk on than the tarmac/macadam shoulder of the road. So I decided to backtrack first to see if I could find the path.
I confirmed that there were no camino signs at the first intersection to which I tracked back. But then, before too long, as I continued back along the road, there was a camino sign in plain sight. I had missed it before.
Here’s the turn I missed. I was walking along the left shoulder of the road, so that I am facing the oncoming traffic. I can see them more easily, and they can see me. And the unseen traffic coming up behind me passes by on the other (right) side of the road. So it is the safest place to walk.
I must have had my head down, as I missed the two camino signs you can see on the right of the photo. But the sign you can see on the left of the photo is also a camino sign. The only trouble is, it was facing away from the direction in which I was walking, towards the oncoming traffic. Since it was away from me, I didn’t notice it and walked straight past. My usual practice is that if there are no signs and no intersections, I presume to continue straight on, which has usually worked for me. It is what I did in this case. But, as I say, I passed through a town that was not on the map, then found there were no signs, so turned back. In all, I travelled an extra couple of kilometres, taking up some 40 minutes or so. But after the backtrack, I was back on track. I was glad to on the camino path again.
I soon found the going more pleasant, sometimes along my more favoured path, the tree-shaded lane.
This stand of trees looked very familiar, and could have been in Australia, a stand of stringy bark gums.
I could just imagine my father commenting that there were some fine fence posts in those trees!
I passed through several small villages, many of them seeming quite derelict, ancient buildings partly in ruin, or at least, parts of them were derelict, with some people living in some maintained houses, and some new houses. There were very few people, and as someone commented, no children. It is an ageing population in these villages.
It was difficult to know where I actually was. Often the camino path comes in a back lane, or a side lane, not on the Main Street, so I didn’t have any name plates of the village to tell me where I was.
In one house in a village, the residents had provided this encouragement for pilgrims:
The figures include a pilgrim, the central figure with staff, gourd and conch shell. The message reads “Bon Viaxe” (Good Voyage), a variant of Buen Camino.
There were some spots of rain later in the morning. I actually stopped a couple of kms from destination and put on my rain jacket, not from necessity, because the drops of rain were very slight, but more as a precaution, as insurance against a sudden downpour. Also, the overcast sky and lack of sun breaking through kept it a bit chill, so it was good to have the jacket on to keep out the chill.
As I continued on, here’s a scene of a natural archway formed by the trees:
The sore leg seemed to “loosen up” a bit in the early afternoon, but was still sore. It did not like being jarred when I made a mis-step. As a result, I was conscious of “carrying” it a bit during the morning. It wasn’t easy, free-flowing walking. It wasn’t walking through a pain barrier or anything as dramatic as that. It wasn’t agony or constant pain, rather more a discomfort.
Despite the discomfort, I still managed to enjoy the wild flowers!
I was glad to arrive at the albergue about 2.15pm and settle in. I had covered the distance of 21.6kms (plus extra when I was lost, in just under 8 hours. It was a bit slower than the regulation 4kms an hour, but there was also the very steep climb first thing in the morning. All in all, not too bad.
Shortly after I arrived at the albergue it started raining! My guardian angels were looking after me. I was glad to be inside out of the rain!! I had a shower and rest. When it had cleared, I walked into the town and found a cafe for a meal and the blog.
Early to bed tonight, hopefully, to have a good rest, for me and for my leg, for whatever tomorrow holds.
Santiago is some 85kms away!!