Glorious! That was today in a word. If I had more words to describe it I would add that it was hot and quiet and beautiful and peaceful and HOT!
I started feeling like I was getting a cold last night and luckily I had brought a small supply of cold medication that would tide me over until I could get to a Farmacia. I slept well and felt better in the morning (although I am starting to fade again tonight). But the cold didn’t get in my way of walking and I was feeling really good; feet and all.
I just can’t get enough of these old buildings. I love examining how the stones fit together and how incredibly well built they are.
The building I stayed in last night was over 400 years old; they don’t know the exact age. I commented that it must be a nightmare to maintain, but then rethought my comment. 400 years ago it was simply a structure that was constructed out of stone. A box with a roof and some stairs and holes for windows. It has stood for over 400 years. The maintenance that takes a lot of work is all of the stuff associated with modern day conveniences – plumbing, heating, electricity.
Above is a picture of where I stayed last night.
One of the first things I walked past today was an ancient olive tree. Look at that trunk! I would love to know how old it is. And look at the way that new growth is bringing this granddaddy of a tree back to life.
Then as I walked down the hill out of town I noticed…
Elderberries to the left of me….
…grapes to the right…
…and there I was, stuck in the middle with me!
I have to keep reminding myself to turn around every now and then. Often the scenery behind me is as beautiful as what is in front of me. Here is the village I stayed in last night with that abandoned castle all the way up at the top. How in the world did they built it??
Then I saw my first almond tree!
I was so tempted to pull off an almond, crack it and see what it tasted like. The tree seemed to be growing wild. But, even so, if every pilgrim who walked the Camino took an almond from the tree there would be none; so I passed it by.
Next I passed a garden, out in the middle of no where. I had been seeing a lot of these artichoke looking plants as I have been walking past gardens, but I think that they are cardoon. I will need to do some research when I get home. Notice how dry and brown the ground is yet how lush and green the vegetables are. It is quite a striking contrast.
And, here is another mystery. What do you think is in the small screened box?
I think that it is Swiss chard, but what it needs that protection for, I have no idea.
I am surprised at the number of pilgrims who just walk by all of these amazing examples of agriculture without the slightest amount of interest. I am so happy that I have gained an appreciation for growing food over the past several years.
Here is one that really stumped me. If anyone knows what it is, please chime in.
Initially I thought that this was dill, but I rubbed some of the fronds between my fingers and there was no smell (unless my cold is so bad, I can’t smell it) and it’s growing habit isn’t the same as dill. Then I noticed a few red berries. I am stumped.
The Way was very quiet this morning with very few pilgrims. Part of the reason is being “off-stage” as I described yesterday. Part of it is because some people have Camino-ending injuries and rather than wait until they are better, they go home (a good argument for the importance of travel insurance!).
Today I would only be going through 2 towns on the way to my final destination of Torres del Rio. The first town was Los Arcos, but it was 12k away from where I started in the morning. On the Camino I have been walking about 3k an hour so that is 4 hours; a long time to go without a rest. And then this appeared.
So I stopped and had a cafe Americano, a fresh orange juice and a Jamon Boccadilo (cured Serrano ham on a delicious baguette).
I ate half the sandwich and saved the rest for later and headed on down the trail.
Soon I came across this! Does it look familiar?
It is what I used for the banner for this blog! But I hadn’t been on the Camino so I purchased it from iStockPhoto. And here it was!
I find these huge bales of hay that are stacked so high to be fascinating. I would love to see what equipment the use to get them stacked.
At last I was in Los Arcos and had a slice of vegetarian pizza for lunch.
While I was there Hugh and Urban who I wrote about a couple of days ago came along.
Urban had climbed up to that castle on the hill before starting his walk today. He showed me his pictures which were pretty amazing.
I quickly stepped into the church on the way out of town.
The next town would Sansol and my final destination, Torres Del Rio was less than a kilometer from there. The sun started getting pretty hot and I was disappointed I hadn’t dressed for a warmer day because I felt like I was baking.
There was very little shade.
But, there is nothing you can do but continue on. Ultreia is an ancient word that pilgrims use to mean forward or onward. So ultreia I did!
This was one of those days where you see the town in the distance and it never seems to get closer!
But eventually I found myself walking into Sansol and my town was literally just behind this town.
Sansol is up on the hill and I am taking the photo from the window of my room in Torres Del Rio.
The Alburgue I and many other pilgrims were staying at had a pool!!! I turned my sleeping clothes into a bathing suit and went for a dip. I wasn’t at all conscious of my “bathing suit” since some men were out there in their underwear. Who would want to carry the extra weight of a bathing suit?
Here are Steve and Kyle hanging out by the pool.
This was the 8th day of my Camino and I have seen so many people soldier on with blisters, sore knees, and after bouts of food poisoning. You simply don’t have an option. You are out in the middle of a field or climbing up a mountain and you just have to will yourself forward to the next stopping point. So, yes, I am bummed that I have this cold, but it can’t really stop me since I have to check out of the Alburgue by 8 am tomorrow. Either I can sit around until 2 and check into another Alburgue and lose a day of my Camino or I can move on. I just need to be careful not to spread my germs to others. Ultreia!