15. Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimmed their clammy cells…

After resting awhile in our beautiful room, Maggie disappeared for a relaxing massage and I for the hot baths.. when in Rome and all that!

We returned refreshed and hungry and went in search of food.  It was 6.30 on a Sunday evening in a tiny village in very rural Spain… but we found a little bar, a beautiful church, the Bordeaux Guys and another bar with wifi, cold beer and a pilgrims menu for just 7.50 euros… fabulous!  I opted for my usual salad-pork-flan option… I’d been craving egg and chips all afternoon and I reckon st James was looking out for me as the pork came with homemade chips, 2 fried eggs and fabulous salty green peppers… how on earth do they manage to make a profit here?

We asked if he served breakfast and he said he opened at 6.30am and that he didn’t need much sleep so he was always open… what a lovely chap. He’s at the top of the village… follow the road up from the albergue.

Back in the Domus before 9.00pm I chatted to Gerry (my dear sweet husband who supports my crazy walking and keeps me on the straight and narrow)… I had a quick couple of messages from Matt and by then my eyelids were heavy and I bade them goodnight and fell into a deep sleep.

I woke refreshed at around 6.15am… Maggie as always was already awake.  We go about our business in quiet thought… I’m not really awake at this time of day and I like the silent routine we’ve developed… like some kind of camino ballet.  Dress, wash, tape feet, pack bag, put on shoes, put on pack, check we have everything… ready?  Let’s go!

We head back to the bar for breakfast. True to his word the owner was there and srill smiling.  Coffee and toast with butter and jam (more often than not margarine but it’s always very welcome). We buy a bottle of water and a cake each for elevensies… the owner and another customer ask where we’re going next… they said quite a bit but I couldn’t understand… I got out my phone app and showed them… they nodded and said there was fete tonight in town… but not for us as were in the monestry.  We laughed with mutual understanding… they waved us off as we set out into the morning dark.

WOW… it was cold!  Oh the joy of putting on my jacket and feeling the cold air on my face. .. autumn is coming to southern spain which hopefully means the days will be less hot.  We almost skipped out of town at the prospect.

We walked through more beautiful countryside… everyday a little different than before.  Everyday a new sunrise.  We leapfrogged the Dutch pilgrims and the Bordeaux guys for most of the day… we’d stop and they would pass… they would stop and we would pass.   There were new pilgrims too… 2 Italians and 3 Koreans… including Sun who, as you would expect, lights up the room with her smile.  There is also a trio of ladies walking together… 1 Dutch, 1 British and 1 french and all living in spain.

We were climbing all day but our stronger legs don’t notice… our packs feel lighter too.  The sun rose… out came molly and bruce and by midday we’d arrived at our destination… we’d walked a total of 22.14km … that was a good pace and a beautiful walk.

At one point I thought I saw a beautiful statue on the path… I couldn’t decide if it was a swan in flight or a girl dancing… as I got nearer I saw that it was actually a broken old tree… but inside I believed it was a swan in flight still… I told him as I passed.

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This walk is tough… much more so than the Camino Frances.  Yesterday Maggie asked what on earth drove us to walk 1000kms across this dry isolated corner of the globe… we couldn’t really find an answer.  Today I listened to Matt ‘s link… he sent it to me yesterday saying he really felt the same way as Kennedy did in his speech about space travel… I’m proud of the way Matt thinks and the man he’s growing into.  But he may have inadvertently answered Maggies question too… maybe we walk 1000km for the same reason as man travelled to the Moon?

We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept…

So here we are in Alcuéscar in the Acogida de Peregrinos de la Casa de la Misericordia de Alcuéscar… it’s a working monestry and were locked in until 4.30 as it’s time for rest.

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Naughty Gerry has been sending us rude messages to try and make us laugh but I forgive him as he’s posted my old shoes to Salamanca today… they’ll be waiting for me when I arrive in 12 days time.

Can anyone advice Re foot pain.  I am wearing Altro Lone Peak trail runners.  They are really comfortable and my foot feels great BUT when I stop walking I get a sharp pain in my foot.  It is on the top of the foot running from the my toes to the ankle… only my left foot and only left side of foot… it go easier when I swapped to the Teva’s…  Is it the Zero Drop?  Sadly my new Teva’s are causing blisters… I’ve got my old Salomons and my old Teva’s going to Salamanca but any advice will be welcome.

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5 thoughts on “15. Autumn

  1. Good luck …. but you seem to have a good rhythm with the feet – if you are lucky, twinges come and go but you seem to have a good rhythm so hopeful it will pass or at least lessen
    bill

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    • We’re having some lovely walks… it’s tough on our feet as the ground is hard like concrete but people are lovely and maggie is a good walking companion. Xx

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  2. Colleen I can hear the ‘joy’in your writing. You’ve really his that ‘easy’ phase now. The body is accostomed and the cares have dropped away.
    It’s a pity about your foot though. I sincerely hope the change of shoes will help.
    The paths on the VdlP can be quite stoney so harder soled shoes may be better. In saying that, a friend of mine walked the whole 1000km in Teva fabric sandals!
    Keep up the wonderful posts. Cheers grace

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    • Thanks for the kind words Grace… I am loving this path even though it’s a tough walk… but nonetheless beautiful. I’m hoping the foot pain is sorted too 🙂 xx

      Ps I hate spanish fiesta music 🙂

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