An interesting conversation.
Ran into the lady from the vegan place up on the mountain and had some more great vegan food, this time tempura vegetables in a spicy sesame sauce.
Today took everything I had, my poor ACL screaming at me at every step down this steep, rocky, hill. There is no denying it, I am getting older, but put into relation of having walked 500 kilometers to find a place that shows me my limits, I am happy.
I generally just walk head down in thought, but allowed myself some Stanford lectures on neuroscience today, parts of which might make it into a paper on the neuropsychology of the Camino, and some that will probably change how I approach my post-Camino life.
Despite eating a lot I am losing weight and feel better than I have in years. Early exposure to sunlight sets my circadian rhythm perfectly, the exercise combined with success markers at every stop helps modulate my mood.
The only minor speck on the otherwise great day is out albergue which is hot, sticky, and loud. But I have a hunch that I’ll be sleeping very well tonight 😀
Bring vegetarian on the Camino is hard. But every once in a while something cool comes along. Like this food truck.
After a few kilometers of uphill and somewhat hasty uses of shade, I am in Foncebadón. My bed feels soft and the mountain air wafts smells of a nearby campfire into the room.
The best part is the shower. It’s a normal shower, all right, but positioned under a large ceiling window that turns the whole experience into an outdoor event without the exposure. I really didn’t want to leave the lukewarm water and cold mountain wind combination.
Now I am headed across the street to take an early (7:30 is very early in this part of the country) dinner at the vegetarian place and maybe suck down a glass of tinto di verano for dessert.
Tomorrow morning it’s an early rise again to see the sun come up at the Cruz de Ferro.
Today I am giving my tortured legs a bit of a rest. I’ll be taking a bus past the industrial outskirts of Leon, which is essentially just a cat and mouse game against trucks and speeding cars on the freeway, and I pre-booked my bunk bed in an albergue to have a little more time to get there and see the town.
Yesterday’s 25 kilometers along the freeway, my boots pounding asphalt more than any other surface, led to slightly more discomfort than I am willing to admit (Mikka is getting old). If I want to make it to Astorga on the 4th and Foncebaddon on the 6th, it’s maybe not a bad idea to start fresher tomorrow.
With Leon I am slowly leaving the Meseta for the hilly final 250 kilometers towards Sarria. O Cebreiro and the Cruz de Ferro lie ahead, both nice day-long inclines to the highest and second highest point of my journey respectively, The landscape will turn green again, oak trees at first, followed by eucalyptus forests as the climate goes from desert to mountainous and then ocean.
I’ll certainly miss the gruff landscape and its equally gruff inhabitants. On the other hand, I can do with a little more shade, temperatures are forecast to soar again.
I don’t post very many pictures from the road lately. This is my view. It’s always the same, corn and sunflower fields, for miles.
That is shit for a picture journal, but I love it. My body is used to the walking by now, and my mind gets to soar.
Ten more kilometers, one more break in the middle of that, and I’ll be in Terradillos de Los Templarios.
The weather is amazing, a light wind drives me forward, and the road is light on the feet. I can’t seem to be able to wipe the smile off my dumb face, and I don’t want to. 350 down, 590 to go… and I intend to enjoy the shit out of every single one of them.
It’s almost 6:30 and I am not on the road yet. The bed was comfy and the dreams oh so sweet.
I was in fact woken up by the clattering of storks on the church nearby, a welcome change from pilgrims packing, and decided to skip coffee until Fromista, about six kilometers down the road.
The Meseta is the great divider of the Camino. Not just in terms of it being its midpoint, but also as the thing dividing emotions: some hate it for its wide fields of nothingness, others (like me) love it for the calm of mind and almost total lack of stimuli it brings.
Today was my second day in the Spanish high desert, taking me no further than to Castrojeriz, a town with a storied past and little else. But it is, as they all are, a camp along the dusty highways of the Meseta, a place to rest, drink, and reconnect with other pilgrims.
I admit, I have not found my „crowd“ yet, and maybe won’t at all, this time. This is the loneliest Meseta I have had so far, no evening guitars around a campfire, no laughter in six languages, no anecdotes from the road. Just the calm desert wind carrying the smells of the Meseta, the sound of birds going on one last sunset hunt, and the red light of a sinking sun turning everything into glowing desert ember.
Tomorrow I’ll walk to Boadilla de Camino, but for tonight I am going to enjoy the silence, hug my fleece tighter as the night brings the desert cold, and sit until the stars above me show me, as they do every night, the way to Santiago de Compostella.
1200000 years of human history have been found on this hill, from the first Europeans to the scars of the battle of Atapuerca and the graves of Franco’s reign of terror.
Breakfast with Maria and Esther and Gerhard from Spain and Holland.
Today we’re starting a little later and will stop on Burgos for the museum of human evolution.
Find Penguins is a project by a small Munich outfit. It lacks some basic features, such as RSS feeds and exports, but it is a valid effort to break some of the travel logging monopolies.
If you want to follow me on the Camino via Find Penguins.
Biomechanic, just a medic. Chasing fungi and other pathogens for fun and fame.
medic.cafe ist eine Mastodon Instanz für Angestellte im medizinischen Bereich (Pflege, Ärzt:innen, (Notfall-)Sanitäter:innen, aber auch Biomediziner:innen, Bioinformatiker:innen, Apotheker:innen).