It was much warmer today when we set off, a bit earlier than recently. No need to put on my jacket. The day was quite hazy, but with a clear pale blue sky.
We had options – either a track following a busy road to our destination or a slightly longer route over tracks and on quiet roads. We opted for the second, and got it right this time.
We started on a track through scrub land, then continued on a road over a motorway, back onto a track through scrub and cultivated land, and to a pretty village with some benches in the sunshine where we stopped for a bite of beakfast from our supplies. I have decided that today I will take pics of the ugly as well as the good, to better illustrate the landscape we are walking through.
Then there was a long stretch on a country road – there were lots of storks around, nesting, walking through the pasture and flying.
It seemed that every tractor in the area was out and working this morning.
We passed through another village and then followed a railway track for quite a way.
There are a lot of water towers in this area, presumably because it is so flat. Most of them are very utilitarian but this one was pretty.
There are also canals carrying water to the gullies that surround the fields.
During the day’s walk we passed lots more of these hobbit houses, most seemed to have been deserted, we went close to have a look and found that from the entrance very steep stairs led to what appeared to be a spacious area below. They are very odd and we can’t work them out. I have looked on the Internet but can’t find any information about them.
The albergue is ok. Two dormitories, there are 22 beds in ours, over 11 bunks. We had reserved so fortunately have lower bunks. They are very close together with barely room to move between the beds. The shower cubicles, wc’s and wash basins are on an open landing between the dormitories which give absolutely no privacy whatsoever. They are clean and function well but I hate the fact that it is all so open.
Today was quite hard on my feet. Walking on asphalt seems to draw your feet through the soles of your boots. Now that we don’t have the discipline of walking with Søren, we are not stopping to rest regularly. We left this morning at 7:30am and arrived at the albergue at about 2:30pm, we took three breaks totalling 1hr 10mins, so were walking solidly at a fast pace for 5hrs and 50 mins. Ella doesn’t like to stop because she finds it hard and painful to get going again, but I really benefit from a short stop at regular intervals. Ella’s feet are getting a bit better now so perhaps I can persuade her to rest more regularly in future.
As far as the terrain goes, we have had more than a week of fairly level walking, but we start to face steep inclines again as from tomorrow, working our way towards the highest point of the camino the following day, and then a tremendous descent after reaching the peak. I am really not looking forward to this because it will be very hard on my knees. I have significant swelling and pain in my right knee which is triggered by walking downhill, amongst other things. I have already had to restock with ibuprofen which controls the pain quite well.
I think this is quite normal procedure amongst the pilgrims of a certain age, whose knees have already taken a lifetime of abuse.
The various guide books, maps and other information we found have stated a distance for today’s walk of between 25 and 30 km, so I have opted for middle ground and stated 27, although to be honest it felt more like 30!
We have now walked over 500 km. If we make it to Finisterre we will be walking virtually 400 km more. In this one town alone, we have seen three signs each stating three different distances to Santiago, but all are under 300 km.