Monday 15 December 2014

The return of a backpack

We woke up well rested but my tendinitis problems were far from gone. Again, it was just a little bit better.

This was day 13 of our almost one month long Camino de Santiago adventure. Click on the Camino de Santiago label to see all related posts.

I was glad we managed to hike 34 kilometres on the previous day. I could have never made it with my backpack (we got it transferred to the place we were staying at). This morning... the backpack was back. Just as heavy as two days ago.

The way lead us through the centre of Fromista and on towards Población de Campos, Revenga de Campos, Carrión de los Condes and finally Calzadilla de la Cueza - our destination for the day. It was quite an ambitious plan. Since the distance between the last two towns is 17 kilometres, it was either 19 or 36 kilometres. Obviously we aimed for 36.

The start was quite hard and not too promising. Our bodies got used to walking with minimum weight throughout the previous day and were complaining about the change.

I was not the only one with problems. Despite those new silicon heel pads M. was also experiencing some pain. Nevertheless they did make the pain appear a couple of hours later then usually.

We pushed on and after another long day of pretty much uneventful scenery we made it to the recently renovated Albergue Municipal de peregrinos in Calzadilla de la Cueza. Just next door to it there is another good looking (and a couple of Euro more expensive) private albergue. The private one even has a pool but since it was not too hot and quite windy we did not care about it and opted for the cheaper one. We were satisfied with our choice.

Once again we saw quite a few familiar faces at dinner. Most pilgrims spending the night in the small village gathered at the only place serving Menú peregrino. We washed down a mediocre meal with a few glasses of OK red wine. We were starting to miss the good wines of Rioja.

We shared our plans with a few fellow pilgrims and despite some communication difficulties we were happy to discover we will probably run into eachother again.

After dinner and an extra glass of vino tinto it was time for some well deserved rest.


Wednesday 12 November 2014

Blood-red poppy of the Camino

Clicking on any one of above photos will reveal them both in a much more flattering resolution.


Thursday 6 November 2014

Lightweight hiking for a day

It was another cold morning on the Camino. After breakfast at the albergue we left Hontanas behind and ventured into the cold. At half past seven it was a mere 5 degrees Celsius (41 ºF). We were not expecting such cold mornings at the end of May. Actually we were at approximately 870 metres above sea level at that time and such temperatures are probably pretty usual for the time of year.

This was day 12 of our almost one month long Camino de Santiago adventure. Click on the Camino de Santiago label to see all related posts.

Luckily when sun got up we felt its warmth pretty quickly. It did not take long for air to warm up and we were forced to loose a few layers in a matter of minutes.

I had high hopes for this day. Despite my tendinitis problems I was expecting a relatively easy day without the weight of my almost 10 kilogram backpack. As I already mentioned we decided to fill my backpack with all our heavy stuff (obviously not counting my camera) and send it from the albergue in Hontanas, 34 kilometres ahead to Fromista.

I have to say I was a bit disappointed at the beginning of our daily hike. I hardly felt any difference despite the lack of my heavy backpack. My leg was still far from OK and I felt a sharp pain with every step I took.

Our first stop was at the ruins of the fifteenth century monastery dedicated to Saint Anthony (Convento de San Antón). It was one of the first pilgrim hospitals. It had to be a magnificent building at that time.

Flat landscape with endless wheat fields continued for the most of the day. From time to time bright red poppy patches could be seen in the distance.

The only exception were a few lonely hills just after the town of Castrojeriz. The road lead us right over them. Surprisingly going up and down was a nice variegation after a few monotonous days.
We both enjoyed climbing up the hill and loved the view from the top. I did however have a few problems going downhill. My leg was killing me and I tried everything to make it better. After zigzagging down the hill I even tried walking backwards for a while. It helped a bit but it still hurt. It was pretty funny though.

Most of the afternoon we walked along an old channel (Canal de Castilla). It was built at the end of 18th century to ease the wheat grain transport from the province of Castilla to the northern harbours and to transport other cargo inland from the coast. It had to be a huge project back then.
Nowadays the channel is used for irrigation of nearby fields.

There are even remains of a system of water lock gates between different water levels near the town of Fromista.

When we were closing in on our destination for the day we were getting pretty tired. The lack of a heavy backpack proved to be a great advantage especially towards the end of our walk. With a little additional help from anti-inflammatory medications it made the 34 kilometres just doable.

Towards the end of the day I was not the only one in pain. M. also began to feel pain in her heels. She had to take a few short breaks, while I kept slowly limping forward. For me it was easier keeping a slow, steady pace. My pace was really slow and it did not take long for her to catch up.

When we got to the albergue (Albergue Canal de Castilla) in Fromista where my backpack was waiting for us, we realised it was situated right next to the train station.

We were not impressed by the looks of it. I guess those bunk beds have seen better days. In spite of everything we were just too tired to go searching for another place. The food however was pretty good and it came in generous portions.

We decided to check out the centre of the town despite the sorry state we were in. It was pretty nice - definitely way better compared to the train station area we were spending the night in.
We also took the opportunity to look for a pair of silicon-gel shoe heel pads for M. Luckily the local pharmacy was very well stocked. Obviously M. was not the first (nor the last) pilgrim with similar problems.

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