Another day of long, straight, flat, sandy, gravelly tracks. Accompanied by the brightest blue sky I have ever seen, chilly to start but soon warming and becoming quite hot as the day progressed.
At one point we saw ahead of us a huge mound of rubbish and as we came closer we could see that it was packaged bread with lots of packaging spread far and wide. We were wondering why anyone would come all this way into the middle of nowhere to dump their rubbish, when all became clear. The field at the side of the track was home to several dozen pigs – big pigs, absolutely gigantic pigs, small pigs and tiny pigs. They all came running when they thought there was a chance of an unexpected feed. Marilyn and Eli threw some stale loaves into the enclosure and even more piggies came running up with much oinking and squealing. The larger specimens looked more like wild boar with long coarse hairs on their faces and tusk like teeth barely concealed.
As we walked away alongside the enclosure we noticed three bouncy, lollopy pups running towards us. These pups were the size of labradors, with massive feet. They were the spanish Mastin breed, which typically have double dew-claws on their back legs. They were adorable and literally lapped up the attention we gave them.
The first village that we reached was Castromonte, where we found the only bar and ordered a hot drink. This is another village with an impressive church and many very old buildings. We passed an albergue that looked as if it would be very nice.
We strode on through the increasingly warm day stopping for a photo shoot at a field full of poppies and continuing to the next village of Valverde de Campos with yet another oversized church – we popped inside and were rewarded by a statue of Santiago (edit: not Santiago I have been informed, but San Roque / Roch, the Patron Saint of dogs). We found a couple of benches in the shade and shared what food we had before setting off on the last leg of today’s journey.
We could see Medina de Rioseco from a long way off, but it was a very long last three kms to reach the outskirts of town. The albergue is situated in the Convento de Santa Clara, run by nuns. We have a nice room with ten places, a good bathroom with fabulous showers and a decent kitchen. We can use the lovely grounds to relax or wander into the large town to admire the ancient buildings overhanging the pavements and supported by stone and wooden pillars. Quite charming. Only around 5,000 inhabitants, but it seems much larger.
The Swiss peregrina from last night arrived some time after us, and also a Spanish guy.
Today’s distance 25.6 km
Accumulated uphill elevation 40 m
Accumulated downhill elevation 140 m
Total distance 280.7 km
Average per day 25.5 km