Camino de Santiago in Photos: Part 4: the long, flat road to Leon (well almost)

After leaving Ollie and Selina, Anthony and I head on alone for the first time. We leave without breakfast as the town we stayed in has no shops and no restuarants that are open.  We head for the next town, San Bol, which is 7km away. Turns out that the town of San Bol is just one building.
Thanks for letting us know John.
And the town of San Bol is now closed.
 
 We carry on to the next town, and all we can find is some stale bread and these!
Camino buscuits!
After walking for a few hours in the rain we get close to our final town of the day.
“Beware of the dog”
We found out the reason for these skull and cross bones but I was a bit drunk and have forgotten.
We stayed in a donativo, which was beautiful and sad.
Two friends who walked the Camino de Santiago decided that when they finished, they wanted to set up a donativo so people with little money could afford to stay. The train they took back from Santiago crashed and they both died. Their friends set this donativo up in their memory. The room is full of their incredible photographs.
 
 As we were eating our dinner that evening Ollie and Selina walked through the door. They had decided to continue at their own pace and finish the Camino. Huzzah!
After leaving them with a strange goodbye that morning we got to say goodbye properly, in the knowledge that they would finish the Camino afterall.
All high fives the following morning to exit in style.
This was the start of one of our longest and hardest days walking. It stared raining when we left the alburge and just got worse from then on.
Anthony’s waterproof jacket has soaked through at this point.
 My waterproof trousers have soaked through at this stage.
 
“Courage”. You only start to see this at this part of the Camino. This is supposed to be the hardest part, and in many ways it is.
This part is not as physically challenging as the begining, but this is where the mental challenge begins. Not even half way through, everything begins to ache and bar this day, it is pretty much straight and flat with few towns all the way to Leon.
 We reach a town after 30 km but decide to push on as it is still early, it has stopped raining and we need to find a camp spot.
 The sky looks more ominous than ever,
 leaving us with the challenge of finding a camp spot before it rains.
 After walking another 8 km we do it,
we finally walk so far that we walk out of the rain and into blue skies!
We have walked for about an hour trying to find a camp spot.
It is the season for the farmers to turn there fields so this coupled with the flat open landscape and lack of woodland makes it hard to camp.
I won’t camp in town (I don’t like free camping near people), and so after a lot of walking and deliberation we decide to walk through a river to a perfect spot away from people and farmers.
 The river bed hasn’t been disturbed for a VERY long time and each step creates a black fog of stench.
Sunset at our camp.
Sunrise at camp.
Drying the tent out.
This is when I lost one of my purple gloves. Anthony walked back about a 1 km to try and find it. On the way back he bumped into a handsome Spanish chap called Juan who said “Is yours?” holding out my purple glove. He had seen it on the way and decided to pick it up in case someone was looking for it. We chat for a while and then he speeds off.
Love you Juan the glove man.
 We bought 1 kg of couscous at this town, and had to eat it for the next six meals to get rid of the weight. We also bumped into Juan the glove man at this Alburge.
After 20 km in the morning we started the 17 km killer stretch.
No towns, no shops, nothing for 17 km.
Striaght, flat road as far as the eye can see in both directions, surrounded by flat fields as far as the eye can see in the other two directions. And only us for the next 48 hours.
But it had stopped raining.
Almost everyone we met on the Camino wore big heavy walking boots, and almost everyone on the Camino got blisters. Ollie, Anthony and I chose Merrell’s trail gloves as they where lightweight, comfortable and quick drying. None of us got any blisters.
We did, however, get wet feet, but they were warm due to Anthony’s sock system of neoprene (wetsuit) socks with a merino wool base layer. Yeah, thats right, gear chat.
My feet and legs started to cramp up at this point.
No bueno.
So some pilgrams can’t hold onto there litter for 17km until they reach the next town and thought it was a good idea to just dump it here.
Seriously, its like thee-four hours walking, just carry it.
This was our hardest day psychologically. The Camino plays tricks with you on this stretch. As you can’t see anything for hours and hours but road, time starts to slow down. There are two slight hills on the road that trick you into thinking you are there, and on both summits you just see more road.
The final town is hidden down a blind hill and you don’t see it until you are on top of it. I am very happy by this point as eveything hurts a lot, including my sunburned face.
 We walk through the town and take an alternitive route through some woods to find a camp spot where we have…..couscous! We do stuff peppers though, which were amazing.
Second course of couscous.
This was an incredible morning. We start cooking our breakfast and lunch couscous when three deer appear from the woods right by our tent, only 10 feet from us, and gallop across the open flats to the other woods.
Got to love wild camping!
Wild camping does mean that there are no washing facilities though, but we were lucky on this morning and found a tap.
More big skies and flat long paths. It was stunning though.
 I am glad someone clarified the way here,
I thought we might get lost on this single, straight road.
 We found a bird watchers box to eat the last 500g of couscous in.
This was taken just before I started getting pain in my left ankle. For the whole Camino I had suffered with pain in my left ankle which was caused by a road traffic accident I was in five months previous. A transit van had hit me, from behind, when I was cycling home in London.
I was on crutches for a month and spent the next few months getting my walking back.  A few weeks before the Camino I could’nt walk more than 5 miles before the pain was too much. On this day the pain came back but was different. It was sharp shooting pain up my shin, and after 20 minutes it was unbearable. I was very worried as I have been walking 38 km days with pain, but nothing like this.
Luckily the next town was only 1 km away. We decided to rest there for a few hours instead of pushing onto the next town as we had planned. When we arrived  to our suprise we saw that Juan the glove man was there! He was waiting for his friends.
That afternoon I cried as I was certian we would have to stop the Camino due to my injury. That night we met Juan’s friends. We all had a great time in the Alburge, drinking copious amounts of vino and eating a lot of good food. Anthony and I made friends with Juan the glove man and his friends, Vale, Stella, JongSe, Junghee, Greg, Timo and Thomas.
 It was an evening that was to change the course of our Camino.
Advertisements

One thought on “Camino de Santiago in Photos: Part 4: the long, flat road to Leon (well almost)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s