Monday, November 26, 2012

Day 39: The Beautiful Meseta

Dscn2579bSeptember 19: Rain never materialized overnight—nothing more than a few drops, at least. Strictly speaking, setting up my tarp wasn’t necessary, but it did give me a peace of mind that I wouldn’t have had without it.

 

Without anyone to hike with, I listened to my iPod for most of the day. While twirling around my trekking pole at one point, I accidently whacked myself pretty hard in the nose with it. I looked around to see if anyone saw that, but nobody did, but my nose hurt a bit for the rest of the day and I tried to be more careful about not whacking myself in the nose in the future. It would be kind of embarrassing if I had to get off the trail because I broke my own nose with my own trekking pole! =)

 

I arrived in the long, long town of Castrojeriz, but I didn’t stop to rest there. I pushed on out of town where the trail climbed a steep but exhilarating hill that I absolutely loved. I loved the strong wind through my hair, I loved the wide-open views and Walking on Sunshine became my Song of the Day. “And this is the ‘ugly’ part of the trail!” I would say to other pilgrims along the route, absolutely thrilled with the scenery. They all seemed to be in agreement that the section between Burgos and Leon—so far, at least—was absolutely wonderful. “Those folks who skipped on ahead to Leon are missing out!”

 

In Itero de la Vega, I caught up with Hilary and Brent again. I’d have liked to keep hiking with them out of town, but I still hadn’t found a good place to resupply my food since leaving Burgos and it was getting dangerously low. This town had a grocery store that I intended to hit before I left, even if it meant I had to wait for a couple of hours for the store to open. I hoped I wouldn’t have to wait for the store to open, but I would if I had to. I really needed more food in my pack if I wanted to camp overnight again, and I definitely intended to camp overnight again.

 

Fortunately, the store was open. They call themselves a “supermarket,” but there was absolutely nothing “super” about this “market.” I’ve seen 7-11s with a better food selection! But I made do with the food they had available—beggars can’t be choosers and all that—then hit the trail out of Itero hoping to catch up with Hilary and Brent quickly. Which I did. =)

 

Karolina was still MIA. I asked Hilary and Brent if they had seen her in Hontanus overnight, but they hadn’t. I had been thinking that Karolina was probably ahead of me, but the lack of Karolina sightings had me starting to think that maybe she was really behind me after all.

 

The landscape, for the most part, was completely and totally flat as far as the eye could see. Almost! Far to the north, I could see a distinct haze of rugged mountains, and I smiled knowing that the Atlantic Ocean was probably just on the other side of those mountains. Another Camino path followed along the north coast of Spain, and there were probably other Camino hikers over on the other side of those mountains. I could also see a smaller, less-rugged-looking mountain range to the south. And our path followed this flat area between the two ranges. The Meseta—what a beautiful place!

 

Dscn2581bI wound up hanging out in Boadilla del Camino for much of the later afternoon killing time before looking for a place to camp. Hilary and Brent bought sandwiches, but I decided to wait until later in the afternoon and get one for dinner given the poor food supplies I had left in my pack. When I did finally get up to order a sandwich a couple of hours later, I was told that they weren’t serving sandwiches anymore. ARGH!!!! “But I KNOW you have sandwiches! My friends ordered sandwiches from you!”

 

So I continued further into town where I knew there was a restaurant with an alburgue—I’d just get dinner there instead. Except when I walked into the alburgue, it was crowded with several dozen pilgrims lounging around. I felt positively claustrophobic in there and immediately decided I wanted no part of it. I turned around and left without dinner.

 

I did still have food in my pack, but it was getting pretty thin on food that I actually wanted to eat. But it would have to do….

 

The wind, like yesterday, was still mighty strong all day long and into the later afternoon, so when it came time to set up a campsite, I had to look for a place that was protected from the wind. The trail followed along the top of a berm that held in water from a canal, and I finally decided that the best place to camp was at the bottom of the berm, on the side opposite the canal. Some wind still got down to me, but the berm blocked the worst of it. The worst part of the location, though, was that I was in complete view of the hikers passing by in the morning. I liked my campsites to have a little privacy, but I knew there would be absolutely none of that come morning. On the other hand, I thought, if Karolina is behind me, she’ll have to walk along the trail here and she can’t possibly miss me camped on the side of the trail like this!

 

I really missed my camping buddy. It’s a lot lonelier to camp by oneself. I kept hoping when I was looking for a place to camp I’d look behind a tree and see her already camped there, but that never happened. The most surprising thing to me was that I hadn’t even found anyone who had seen Karolina since Burgos. Where the heck did she GO?! I hope she wasn’t trying to avoid me!

 

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The busting streets of Hontanus.

 

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I was a little disappointed that this fountain
didn’t seem to work. =(

 

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Beautiful! And this was considered the ‘ugly’ part of the trail? Ha!

 

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Arco de San Anton—the coolest ruins along the trail. No, wait—correction—
the coolest ruins ON the trail! The trail goes right through the
arch on the right. =)

 

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I stopped at these ruins for a quick sightseeing tour. =)

 

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Castrojeriz is a very long town that wraps around this
hill like a boa constrictor.

 

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The ridge ahead is the first non-flat section I’d seen in days.
The trail goes up the dirt road you see in the middle of the ridge.

 

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Yep, it’s gonna be steep! And I was looking forward to it! =)

 

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Looking back towards Castrojeriz. (The town is by the hill on the right
side of the photo.)

 

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And back down the other side of the ridge back to the flat ground.

 

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I saw a lot of this particular view. At least when I wasn’t
busy whacking myself in the nose with the trekking pole. =)

 

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A pilgrim rest area. I think the building here used to be an old
hospital for pilgrims back in the day.

 

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A beautiful bridge across the River Pisuerga.

 

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The view from the top of the bridge.

 

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There was nothing ‘super’ about this supermercado….

 

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I have absolutely no idea what this mural is supposed to represent….

 

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And back to the Meseta again….

 

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Art on the trail outside of Itero de la Vega. The wheel in the background
can be turned to get water.

 

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In Itero de la Vega.

 

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A tree-lined path out of Itero de la Vega.

 

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Then the trail followed by the Castilla Canal for several kilometers.

1 comment:

tiggermama said...

really enjoying your blogging. . .and today, for no apparent reason, there's an ad for a Vermont inn at the bottom.