Here - There - Somewhere travel blog

Bloom One

Bloom Two

Vegies One

Bloom Three

Fruit One

Fruit Two

Bloom Four

Fruit Three

Fruit Four

Bloom Five

Beatle

Bloom Six

Vegies Two

Bloom Seven


By the time we had worked our way through the crowd deserting the bull stadium and set foot in our hotel, the time had moved to just after 9 pm. We were one of the first groups in the restaurant. The Spanish eat late, stay up late, go to work on time (whatever that is), have a siesta in the afternoon (very sensible) and then work late.

We had tomorrow’s walk though and wanted to leave still earlier than previously. The feet, particularly the right foot, were in poor shape. What was happening to me? The Camino is by no means a difficult walk (although arduous in the heat of the day) so I concluded that it is the soft boots on the unrelenting hard surfaces that is the cause of my angst. I vow to replace them. But when?

Nurse Peggy inspected the wounded flesh and declared that it would be wise to take a day off. I resited until she determined that another 23 km today followed by 29 km the next day might do so much damage that I may not start, let alone the finish, the Coast To Coast walk we are planning to do in England. This is a longer and more challenging walk but should be easier on the essential feet. I bow to her greater wisdom, she tends to the damage with patches and tape and iodine, and we agree to take the 9.50 am bus to Los Arcos the next day.

As we depart the hotel, pack on back, to stumble the 1 km or so to the bus station, we hear a roar of voices. On approaching the bull ring, we are able to see through the entry doors that another few hours of bull slaughter is about to begin. I ponder that the bulls must be pretty busy with the cows before being sent off to war otherwise their specie would be extinct in this part of the world. The town remains in festive mode and it looks like the bulls will be running down the streets again soon since barricades have appeared for such an event.

What takes 5 hours to walk is only 30 minutes in the bus. The country is similar to the previous day; open, undulating and mainly dry. The ‘track’ appears occasionally with a lonely walker or two as we whip by in air-conditioned comfort. We arrive at the small hotel too early; the owner has just arrived too and is cleaning the pavement down so we agree to return in an hour or so.

Los Arcos is a very small town, a village really, and owes its existence like many along this way to the hoards of pilgrims that flooded the Camino in bygone days. These towns and villages often sprung up a day’s walk apart to supply shelter and sustenance to the penitent souls of yesteryear. It was small enough to wander in less than an hour before settling into an outside chair at our inn and logging into someone’s unsecured wireless network whilst we awaited our mates who walked the day.

One thing that had been very noticeable over the previous few days’ walking was the number of wild flowers in bloom, small market or home gardens being tended, fruit trees fruiting, berries in their early stages of ripening, plots of asparagus plantings, rows of potato foliage and other unidentified rural pleasures. What we didn’t see much of was life of the moving variety except for cows and sheep and the occasional rabbit. Birds were few and other creatures rare. Back in the Pyrenees the most magnificent creature was a Griffon Vulture which soars like an eagle or kite, having a wing span of up to metre, as it searches for carrion far below its lofty glide. A beetle, a bee, a bumble bee, a few sparrows and a barking dog or two were all that we encountered. Perhaps, the thousands of pilgrims that had trodden these paths over the centuries had scared all wildlife elsewhere.

That evening we dined well although the local apple cider would have been better put to use as a torturing mechanism and we vowed to make the final 29 km walk on the morrow come what may. We aimed to set forth at 6 am.



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