One more day to go before we enter Santiago. Day 40 today. We have followed the signs from Sevilla. What a journey it has been. Sometimes we lost the signs, but we knew we had to go North. After tomorrow we will go back to the life we know. It would be easy if we had these physical signs in our life, but thankfully we are guided by our faith and convictions and i hope our spirituality has deepened by walking in silence and listening to the inner voice.
Day 36 gone. Last night we had lots of rain, so this morning we decided to walk on the road. I thought about the pilgrims who had walked this route before me. What about this journey, the fears of the unknown, the sorrows, tears, laughter, all kind of emotions happening throughout a day, not speaking about the physical pain. Many people walk this way to solve or digest a single problem. They put a stone at the foot of a cross somewhere. All very symbolic, so they leave something behind. In that sense what have i left behind?
Day 33, we have reached Galicia and we have covered 802 km. Still 198 km to do. It was a very exciting but tough day. We walked up hill for 5 km to reach a height of 1260m, we left Zamora behind and walked into Galicia. We had to navigate through a riverbed, loads of mud and water. But I had no time to think about sore legs or shoulders because I had to concentrate hard on where i was going. Even my backpack did not hinder me. So many things to be thankful for, the ability to do this, having the time and money to enjoy it and a voice to use for singing.
We are in Requejo de Sanabria, 1020 m high. It was a good day for walking, sunny but not hot. We started on tarmac, this was advised because of the wet weather lately. At the end of the day we found ourselves in the woods on a road obstructed by water and mud, so we had to find our own detour. Very exciting.
We are at a stage that we are wondering whether this journey needs to be as long as it is.
Via de la Plata was not a pilgrims way but a trade route from the south to Astorga. Now it has been extended to the west to make it into a pilgrimage.
Day 29, we walked 30 plus km to Rionegro del Puente. It was a good day for walking, dry and not too hot, although still wet in places. The thought for the day. It is Pentecost, we were surprised that the Spanish people we talked to were not even aware of it. However we were sharing a table last night with people from Denmark, Australia, UK, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Japan, France and Germany. We spoke all different languages but we could communicate with ease. We also travel the same road. Did not see a white dove to complete the picture.
Day 26. We have arrived in Montemarta, done 605 km. We left Zamora this morning, it was 6 C and it is about 15c now. Zamora is memorable for the graffiti, every where people scribbled on walls. I also saw a few nice tableaux on unexpected places. The walking is tough because it is so wet and i have seen enough mud for the time being. We both had the same thought last night, it is so difficult to reflect because the road takes all our concentration. Also the initial excitement of the unknown has gone. The next 400 km could be a new challenge, who knows.
Here are a few more pictures from Salamanca. What a beautiful city. We took the time to enjoy it. And that is the beauty of getting older, although time is running out, we have time to stand and stare.
Day 23, we have done 515 km and we have arrived in Salamanca, one of the most beautiful cities i have ever visited. The day started with heavy rain and we slithered through the mud, but we had the wind at our backs, so that made it easier. It was a difficult walk on a clay dirt road. When we entered Salamanca the sun was shining and we found a nice hotel. We had to clean our shoes and clothes, so no Albergue for us tonight. All is well. We visited the cathedral and met the people we started the journey with, but that story will be for another day.
Day 22, we are in San Pedro, a small village at 980 meters, the last stop before Salamanca. Today we walked 28 km and the highest point was 1140 meters. Imagine, higher than a munro. It was very cold, but we had the wind at our back. Last night we stayed in an Albergue which only asked for a donation, dinner and breakfast also provided. We arrived before the crowd and as a married couple we were put into a room with a matrimonial bed, which was the size of a single bed at home. As we were asked to make the bed in the morning, the cleanliness was in doubt and we slept in our sleeping bags. It rained all night, our room was damp and our clothes were slightly wet. Our American friend, who slept in a dormitory was very upset because the water was running along her bedroom wall and everything she possessed was soaking wet. What a disaster to start a long day.
Day 19, hot and humid. We walked 27 km, mostly on asphalt. Never mind, it changes all the time. We do the same most days, get up at 6.45, get ready and have some breakfast, if possible. That will be toasted baguette with fresh tomato pulp with garlic and pepper/salt. De coffee is very good, strong and hot. Then the walking starts. We try to stop every hour for a few minutes, have some fruit or a piece of chocolate. Today we are staying in a hotel, but most days we stay in an Albergue (10 to 12 euros) or a hostal ( also a special price for peregrinos). We often meet the people we started the walk with, for dinner, which will be around 9 o’clock. Late but that is the Spanish way. Rain forecast for the coming week. Not a problem for us ‘Scots’.
Day 18, we have walked just over 400 km. It is going well. No blisters, no pain. The day was beautiful, we walked through a national park, no sounds of traffic, just bird song and the call of the cuckoo. I walked on my own, nobody in front, nobody behind. I had time to do some standing, just being, no thoughts, feeling the connection between heaven and earth and beyond. Taking time to connect with the earth, so important for me. We have arrived in Caparra. All is well.
Day 15, we are in Galisteo. Today was good, a cool wind blew from the mountains, which were covered in snow. The scenery was beautiful. At the moment it is difficult to find a bed, because there is a fiesta on. But we managed for the night. Yesterday was very hard, 32 km. We had to cross a hill with a stoney surface, very hard on the feet. But we are fine and enjoying this not knowing where to go. Every day is an experience. I can recommend it to everybody. We see a lot of ‘pensionares’ or young people who walk before they start a job. It is a challenge but so worthwhile.
Day 13. The scenery is more or less the same as before: cork trees, olive trees, wild flowers and long roads ahead with no places to have a coffee. So i will send a few photo’s from the last week. We are close to 300 km. it is going well, no pain. The backpacks feels good, they are heavy with extra food and water and i carry warmer clothes for the evenings. We walked 27 km today and when we entered the village where we wanted to stay in the Albergue, they told us that the place was full. A lady in the village offered us a room, so all is well. Last night we stayed in a monastery in Alcuescar. 18 people in one room, imagine!
Day 11. We left Merida behind, a beautiful town full of Roman remains. It was a glorious day. Doing fine.
Thought of Day 10:
When i walked thus morning to Merida i thought about the following. Last night i read the sermon of Ian. It was a very powerful sermon and i enjoyed it. Later in the evening i read it to Peter and by doing that i really felt what Ian wrote and I became very emotional.
So i think when you listen to something, your mind can get fixed on part of the topic and then you miss the whole picture.
We had a great day, only 18 km, 21 C. Merida is an old Roman town. Yesterday we walked 27 km in hot weather on a Roman road. All is well, feet are good and the body gets stronger every day.
Day 9. It was a long day, 28 km through vineyards left and right. Walking along a roman road. Not much fun.
Day 8. We wish you all a good Sunday. Enjoy. We are well. Think about us when we are going for a long walk tomorrow (27km) . The weather is getting warmer. Sleep well. I send my love. Bx
Day 6. Dry and cool. We walked 21 km through the Extremadura. Wide views, gently un
dulating land, wild flowers along the path. We crossed a few fords and stayed dry. We found a fantastic hostel in Fuente de Cantos, 583 m high, so it is quite fresh.
Day 5: It was a wet, wet day but we found a great place to stay the night in Monesterio. We have done 110 km so far. Feet are great, all is well.
Today we have arrived in El Real de la Jara, it rains buckets. We are 90 km north of Seville. This is the 4th day and it is going well. We walk along roads, through woods with cork trees, through areas full if wild flowers. But most of the time I walk in silence, listen to the sound of birds, smelling the scent of lavender, rosemary and orange blossom. We start early, at first light. The rucksack is heavy, 10 kilos with water and food, but after a coffee all is well. Yesterday was tough, 30 km in soaring heat. Up a hill just at the end. For us ‘Scots’ that was not a problem though. No blisters, no pain. It is sooo good to be on the road. Hasta luego.
Day 3: Not a good signal on this 3rd day. We did 30 km in soaring heat, no cafe’s where we could have a coffee, walking on asphalt then through woods and up a hill before we arrived in Almaden de la Plata. Ready for a meal, sitting here with 2 German ladies and a man from Washington. Until tomorrow, forecast is rain.