Well today was a much different day. We seem to have developed a pretty good routine/pace. We get up and packed, bring our luggage downstairs and then have a bite to eat. We return to our rooms. Enjoy a health break and then leave for our walk. We walk for about 5 hours, give or take, depending on breaks and photo ops before reaching our destination. We have a short rest and a light bite. Then hit the shops before dinner and try to be a sleep by midnight so we´re up and ready to go again for 7am.
Our distance was listed to be 14km but we actually travelled 15.8km. We took 21,061 steps and burned 829 calories. Today Elena and I journeyed together more. That was nice especially because the walk was a bit harder. We were warned there would be a few steep inclines and steep declines. OMG!!!!! That´s all it was. Up and down. Up and down. Down and up and then up and down repeated for almost 6 hours. We did stop more often and for longer periods just to rest the legs; and in truth the spirit too.
As we walked we tried to think how we could describe the terrain so you would have an idea what the conditions are like where we are walking. The best we could come up with was.... imagine walking from London to Sarnia (basically or at least 111km) but rather than being flatter lands picture the landscape you have walked across like the hills/mountains of the Hamilton area. Because there is such a wide audience reading my blog, here are some other comparisons. Northern Ontario, Pennsylvania, the California hills along the coast, Tennessee/Kentucky, Eastern Canada.... I hope these places give you some idea of it's like. Lots of rolling 'smoking mountain' type country side. Peaks and Valleys though! Now imagine walking up to the top of the highest point only to walk down the other side; only to walk up the next peak and down the other side of it over and over for hours on end day after day. I´m telling you...I chose the 'easy' way because I imagined it would NOT have this up and down thing going on but that it would be more of a level path. The saving grace is, most often the path is smooth and not too rugged.
Oh and I have to tell you about the ''green roof''. Elena and I had climbed the top of a hill and were looking over the scenery. At this point we had about 4.5km to go before we reached Azura. On the peak of the next hill (which looked VERY high and too far away to be within our range) I said, that green roof is our hotel. Elena said 'No way.' and it truth I didn´t really believe it was either. We got about half way down that hill and found a cafe. Like many other pilgrims we stopped there and rested - a long while - before continuing on. Finally we pulled it together, loaded up our items and headed off. Down, down, down we went. For a short while it levelled off and then...UP. From that point on the next hour was up, up, up. And yes...you guessed it....I turned to Elena and said, ''See. The green roof!'' We were standing across the street of the building with the green roof. I turned and took a picture of the hill top we came from. The building, for interest sake, is the Azura Co-Op.
Wow!!!! It´s funny, huh?! You look at something (like a hill in the distance) and think nope I could never make that walk and then...sure enough your standing in that distance place looking back where you were thinking WOW... I did it!!!! How many times do we do that in our life? Setting a goal; getting through a dark time; whatever it is. Each journey starts with one step. A mountain is moved with one shovel of dirt at a time. We can achieve ANYTHING if we are willing to be patient, committed and open.
At one point I wanted to take a picture of a flower that was beautiful and unique to me. I prepared my camera to take the photo but the screen wouldn´t turn on. Hmm thinks me...my battery must be dead. Elena and I stop to change the battery but...I can't find it. I emptied my backpack and was a bit bothered that I couldn´t find it. 'I must have put it in my suit case instead of my backpack' I said to Elena 'but this battery shouldn´t be dead.' I played with my camera a bit more and it worked. I must have hit a button and not realized it because I got my camera working again. Long story short...I found my battery pack in my 'money' pouch where I put it this morning to keep in safe and where I wouldn´t forget where I put it. Oops ; ) I do that so often....
Last night, Elena I travelled in to town, Melide, to try some of the local specials; octopus and these cookie/donut pastries. It was NOT worth the half hour walk I'll tell you. The recommended pastry store was the first stop. I'm so sure we were bothering the lady. Literally she tossed a small bowl at us with three of these morsels in it. We tried them and....they tasted like an incredibly stale mini eclair without any flavour, icing, chocolate nothing. They were horribly bland. We didn´t even eat a whole one. It took forever to get her attention AGAIN to ask how much we owed her. Finally we approached her to ask. She scowled and waved her hand - 'denoda' (which mean nothing) as if to say get of out my store. And we left. Then we went to the recommended cafe to try the 'best' pulpo (octopus). Desperately thirsty we sat at a table and waited. Keep in mind....service here in Spain is nothing like the service we expect in Canada or the US. It was already 7:45 and we were both tired so neither of us wanted to wait long. Plus Elena wasn´t really interested in trying the pulpo anyway, but she did want a cappuccino. After 5 minutes of nothing...we left and went back to the hotel. While we did pick up a couple trinkets...the extra 3km walk was not fruitful.
Funny thing about today...we didn´t see many of our usual fellow travellers. We did meet some new ones though. One was a very talk, straight, soft spoken man who is travelling alone. We learned he is from the southern part of Ireland and a recently retired piano teacher. His students came from all around the world to learn from him in order to earn a higher achievement. I loved his voice. Our paths crossed continuously through out the day. Remember the Irish family I told you about...well their daughters ran past us earlier in the day and later we met the mom and dad enjoy cervesa (beer).
At the hill cafe where we enjoyed a long rest, we met a trio travelling together. One of the men was was from Jasper Ab. His travelling companions were an older man and his daughter, both from Colorado. Apparently the granddaughter and a friend had ran a head. Running???? Really what is up with that?????
The weather continues to be our friend. While it does get quite hot when walking in the direct sun, there is most always a cool breeze. The times we're not in the sun, the shade is beautiful. While walking through the wooded trails the air is fresh, clear and moist. Oh... and I saw this HUGE beetle. It must have been the size of my thumb. Normally I would have picked it up but...it had pinchers and I wasn´t sure if it was safe or not. I did get a great photo of it though. It was so quick when it walked too. I watched it for a few moments before realizing I needed to keep moving. I also saw a worm today. That was strange?! Maybe it survived a bird's attempted to eat it and the bird dropped it???? A calf we saw had a cast on its leg. Jemima, my butterfly, bumble bee and red beetle made their presences know several times for me too today.
Three more days and 38km before we reach our destination, Santiago de Compostella. Tomorrow we walk 18km (as the crow flies). Breakfast doesn´t start till 8 so I suspect Elena and I will pass on the breakfast. We´re hoping to get an early start while the air is still cool. Shortly we´ll go into town to do some shopping, maybe even pick up our own breakfast so we'll have something in our bellies before we head out! As well, we´re hoping to get to bed earlier tonight. Our room is on the back side of the building; over looking the last hill we conquered, and is much quieter than the hwy view room we had last night.
Just quickly, between yesterday and today we saw many medieval buildings and bridges. We saw the oldest cross, went inside the oldest church and covered the oldest bridge in Spain. And yes I did get pictures. It was so amazing cross the bridge over the 'river' though. For a second I felt as if...well what I felt was, as if I were in a long black dress with a whitish bonnet on. My steps felt restricted but there were so many others on the bridge with me. It was crowded and very noisy. Then I thought...this is strange and the feeling was gone. I felt so at home in that area.
Before I close for the day...the one thing I see here in Spain that warms my heart so... is how during the afternoon, during their 'down time' generations are interacting together. Most often people are smiling and laughing; hugging and kissing. I'm sure they have their issues; especially when you consider the economic situation in Spain right now. but from an outsider's prespective..one would not know there was an issue. And today was the first time I've seen the policia (police) since arriving in Spain. They were in a car travelling the dirt road of the Camino with no apparent intention to anything. I feel SO safe here!
Until tomorrow my fellow pilgrims...blessings and sweet dreams. Lots of love, Carleana xo