27th May 23:54
I think I'll just make one post and update it from time to time. (My Dad, who has no religion but very long legs, has just retired, and is walking across northern Spain by the ancient pilgrims' route from France to Santiago de Compostela. He is communicating by text message, which has its own charm as a literary genre — like a return to the telegraph). The links are from Google Maps.
20th May: Saint Jean Pied-de-Port, France.
21st May: Splits first leg, crossing mountains, in two. "Scenery amazing buzzards and kites just need hardening love".
22nd May: Roncesvalles, Spain. Scenery amazing. Feet OK. Optimistic. Sends vaguely-addressed postcard.
23rd May: Rain. Scenery still amazing. Basques not inimical.
24th May: Pamplona. Only 700 kilometres to go.
25th May: Resting in Pamplona after rain, steep paths, waterfalls, mudslides. Feet still OK.
26th May: Puente La Reina. Roman bridge. Storks nesting on church. Town asleep till 5pm. [No link because Google Maps appears to have the wrong place].
27th May: Estella. Sits on steps waiting for Tourist Information to open.
Updates begin: 28th May 20:18
28th May: Los Arcos. Slept badly in pilgrim hostel last night, so sleeps in hotel. Here's the flash map again, with the local information and culinary advice, which in this case includes roast sucking pig, trout, and "renowned cheeses".
29th May: a postcard arrives. It sketches the pilgrims, walking alone or in small scattered groups, admiring the view or photographing each other against local shrines. There is no pressure to walk together, and no competitive spirit. Very friendly, open and pleasant. Text message: feeling good, 29k to Logrono.
30th May: another postcard, from Pamplona, showing a bunch of Basques doing something really insane with some cattle, and on the written side a drawing of a very small child standing on tiptoes trying to operate the button of a water pump which will drench him if he succeeds. Text message: the Rioja; red earth, flowers, goldfinches.
31st May: eating chocolate in Santo Domingo de la Calzada. Good coffee. Rain.
1st June: Phone call. Weather terrible, socks wet and difficult to dry. Pilgrim hostels have their humourous moments. The plan is for a rest day and a night in a proper hotel once a week. Speculations on why people do this, and in particular why some people do it more than once. Romanesque churches reminiscent of one another. Appreciations of home from a distance. Happy voice.
2nd June: Weather somewhat better. Flowers beautiful. 27k. Saw a redstart. Used washing machine. Smell better but wetter.
3rd June: in Burgos. Accommodation in huts. Hotel tomorrow. 550k to go.
4th June: rest day in Burgos. Sent some stuff to friend's house. Now on meseta, flattish terrain for several days. Room to self tonight, bliss.
5th June: Horrible 30k flog through rain and mud.
6th June: Itero de la Vega. Nice weather, but feeling sick. After 20k took room to self, 2hrs sleep.
7th June: 14k to Frómista. Feeling much better, slept 14hrs. Lovely romanesque church.
8th June: 1st two hours flat, boring, damp. But easy day. Convent room. Think OK. [Edit 25th June: picture added, Carillon de los Condes, left].
9th June: Passed half way! Over 390k so far. Endless plain of meseta, 800m above sea level, cold North wind. About three days from León. Missing everyone.
10th June: Holed up in Sahagón with tendonitis. Seen doc, very kind. at least engaging with language and country. Have to reduce km and hope it will go away. All part of fun.
11th June: Leg getting better, still in Sahagun, try 10k tomorrow. Fiesta tonight with bull running, will try to take pictures. [Edit 25th June: added picture, right, "Crazy fiesta in Sahagún"]
12th June: 10k to Bercianos. Problem tomorrow, either 8k or 23k. May try 23 slow with long pause. Can't get into emails with spanish keyboard @.
13 June: Managed 21k. Very tired, weather good, walking easy but just ticking off days. Sent postcard. León tomorrow.
14 June: Watching Spain v Sweden in bar in León. 26k, ok. Spanish families dressed to kill. Nice atmosphere.
15th June: 20k further on, weather better, sleeping on veranda of nice albergue by choice, hope wind doesn't change. "A baby sparrow came and sat on my hand he's been hopping about enjoying the novelty of being a bird these are such quiet places love x".
Sunday, 15 June 2008
27th May 23:54