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Friday, August 22, 2014

Of Windmills and Lost Socks

I just sit down for a late lunch and before I notice it I have an open bottle of red wine plus a glass put in front of me. No questions asked about what I want. This is what you drink with your lunch. Fortunately I have already made my bed in the albergue next door and can sleep off my early drink after lunch. 

One of the few Spaniards who doesn't talk all day...
Two days ago I left Burgos and the trail immediately starts rising out of town. I am going up onto the meseta over which I will walk almost the entire next week. It is a high plateau, ranging between 800 meters and 1100 meters. Walking across the top of the table mountain is fine, but hiking up it at a12% slope. Or coming down it at 18% is hard and tiring. However the views across the top seem to go on for ever. Fortunately there is a little wind on top and that makes it quite pleasant because otherwise it can be extremely hot in August on the meseta. Most villages on the meseta are located in a fold of the terrain and you always have to hike down into them and after a drink or lunch back up to the top of the meseta. 

The Spaniards consider themselves great hunters and the result of it is that I have not seen a life animal expect cats and dogs anywhere. No birds in the sky except a few house wrens in the cities or swallows around a church. Not a dear, rabbit or anything else out in the field. Especially on weekends you constantly hear gun shots around you in the fields. What they are shooting at I have no idea because nothing has been left alive around here. Last February I was hiking in Andalusia in southern Spain and thought I noticed evidence of wild boars. However I was told the turned up soils were the result of farmers and their trained pigs looking for truffles. It is earily quiet everywhere you walk, no birds in the sky, no movement in the fields. 

On weekends there also is a noticeable increase in cyclists on the trail. The Spaniards love to go out biking and you better watch out as a hiker, although I must say, 99% of them are very polite. Except that a bike bell does not seem to be part of a mountain bike's equipment and they surprise you time and time again when they come up behind you. 

In one of the last blogs I wrote about how pilgrims travel. On Monday I walked into Burgos and noticed a 'pilgrim' getting on a city bus to take her from the edge of town to downtown. It was not a pretty part of the hike, 1 1/2 hour of walking through traffic and an industrial area, but taking the bus is not part of hiking the Camino in my opinion. 

One of the many changes I see now compared to 15 years ago are the forests of huge windmills. Just like in many other places in the world Spain has taken to building large windmill parks to generate electric power. Smart way to go, but it sure scars the viewscape of the countryside. The other change I may have mentioned, the Spaniards are spending billions on renovating older buildings and building new infrastructure. Everywhere, even over a small village, you see huge construction cranes swinging their loads through the air. 

Three days ago I lost a sock, it took me days to find a sports store that sold the kind of socks I want. Finally this morning I managed to buy a new pair of socks. A few hours later I slide into my sleeping bag to sleep of  the too-much-wine-at-lunch and what do I feel in the bottom of the bag, sure, the lost sock. Now I have at least an extra pair. 

The day I left Burgos I felt energetic and hiked 30 KM, I ended up in a quite village called Hontanas. This morning I did not feel as energetic and only did 20 km, so now I am in Itero de la Vega. (Population 190) so don't look for it on the world map.  

Need to do my laundry so talk to you later.

1 comment:

  1. Yah, so good you found the sock! Keep going, I am rooting for you