Day 14: Hontanas to Fromista
I took a stone the size of a five cent piece out of my shoe today. It had worn through both pairs of socks and had begun to wear through the hard skin around my heel. That’s what you get when you combine boots that have worn through and have numerous holes, a stony path through the mesetas and a desire just to push on and ignore the protuberance. I need new boots but may need to walk a couple of long days to get to Leon (big city) by Saturday as Sunday everything is closed. Today I did 35 km, tomorrow will be the same only tomorrow I’m going to walk in shoes patched up with a combination of Dr Scholls insoles, plastic bags and sports strapping tape … I hope it holds together but I’m semi confident. It was that or walk in sandals and socks across rocky ground 😦
Today’s walk started early. I’d planned to walk with the Danish guy I walked with yesterday and we were out of the Albergue by 5am. It was perfect, cool, enough light from a partial moon and an easy path out of Hontanas. We walked hard and fast for a couple of hours before arriving in the castle on the hill town of Castrojeriz. With it’s ruined castle on the hill and the early morning swarm of swallows beginning their morning dance this was a perfect stop for desayunos (breakfast).
From there it was a sharp but shortish hike up the hill, over it and then we were on the mesetas. Almost two weeks in and we were walking at quite a pace with nary a squeak from our muscles which seem to have become attuned to the routine.
The mesetas again only this time we knew what to expect, it was still early and cloud cover kept the day cool and at perfect walking temperature. We marched forward, on and on not breaking stride and resting little. At one point we met up with an Irish couple and I spent a pleasant couple of hours on the, now rather hottish mesetas, talking rugby, economics and politics. This brought us all into a town and the 30km mark that had been my original stopping point for the day. We stopped for lunch and, as I was feeling good I decided to join my Danish friend and move onto Fromista a further 6km on.
From there the path began to vary and turned into a nice walk along the canal, across the lock and into the little town of Fromista about an hour later. We’d been on the road just under 7 hours with two food breaks covering about 35km’s. All in all, boots aside, it was a good day’s walking with enough variety to keep it interesting. While my knee still aches, the rest of the body, a few blisters aside, is going fine and I feel relatively fit. Today marked 2 weeks of walking and about 360km. Almost halfway there. We’re already beginning to see people leave, some burn out, some give up, some have bodies that pack it in and some have holidays that have ended. The latter are always reluctant to leave and find it difficult to go. I can imagine that I’ll find it just as difficult to give up the Camino at the end of the month.
While wandering around town in the afternoon after the ritual shower, washing of clothes and rest an elderly Spanish gent said hello in English. We got talking to him and it turns out he lived in Australia for 18 years and had worked on the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme back in the early sixties. We had quite an interesting chat about his life in Oz before he went on his way but not before wishing us a “Buen Camino”. The Camino is always surprising.