Day 15: Fromista to Carrion de las Condes
I found myself lisping and limping today…The limping came as a result of shoes that have finally worn through in several places. The lisping came about when saying thank you, gracias, which ended up sounding like “gra thi us” after being given my morning cafe con leche. It is still slightly bizarre to hear everyone lisp when speaking and I’ve obviously been here long enough to start doing it myself ;-)
Today started off with a plan to walk 37km. With that in mind we left early and walked hard. It was a tough morning made tougher because my shoes are falling apart and because the scenery was mind numbingly dull. The first 20km this morning were flat and straight and alongside a country road. We made few stops as nothing was open and arrived in the largish town of Carrion de las Condes at about 9am.
I then changed plans. The town had a shoe shop and I decided to stop here the night, go shoe shopping and then head on tomorrow. This means I won’t make Leon on a Saturday (bummer as Sunday will see everything closed in Leon) however I am still on track to arrive in Santiago de Compostela on the 31st.
The shops opened around 10am and I found one selling trekking boots. I dread new boots and am not looking forward to the next few days of blisters as I break them in however, as the photographs and my feet attest to, my existing boots are beginning to be a liability. Using broken Spanish and with the help of a friendly lady in the sportshop I tried on several boots before choosing a pair. They’re excellent boots but still stiff and I’ll have to strap up my feet with surgical tape before marching off tomorrow.
Then I went looking for a place to stay. A sign indicating a Hostal with a bano shared between only 4 for only €9 attracted my attention and I wandered off to see this Hostal. I love the Albergues and the instant camaraderie of fellow peregrinos but I was also keen to try another option at least once. Whilst there I rather whimsically enquired about the cost of a single room and, before you know it I was in a room to myself. Best gift I could have given myself at the halfway mark. I luxuriated in my a bath in my own bathroom. I look forward to clean sheets, no snoring companions and a bed that doesn’t contain another occupant either above or below. It’s amazing how simple pleasures can become complete luxuries if you’ve been without them for awhile. Another lesson learned while on the Camino ;-)
In the afternoon I bought some new headphones for my iPod (I’d lost my original ones earlier on) and tested out my new boots by walking around the town. I was feeling good and the combination of a private room, music and decent boots has come at just the right time to give me a boost through what is one of the more challenging parts of the walk. Many people skip this part (Burgos to Leon) and it is a mentally tough stage. My Danish friend, who is now one day ahead of me, had the Camino described to him as three clear stages. Stage 1, the first 10 days or so, is the physically challenging part and this was certainly true. Stage 2, generally the leg I’m doing now, is the mentally challenging part as tough and dull landscape with long sections of heat and nothingness challenge your will power. Stage 3, the last 10 days is the groove. Your mind and body fit and where you’re almost regretting every step as it brings you closer to having to finish. I can definitely understand Stage 2 but I can also see Stage 3 as I lie here on the bed typing this. I’m itching to start walking again. I’ve had a wonderfully relaxing day and am beginning to feel a little lazy. I look forward to getting up early, strapping my feet, grabbing my walking stick and heading out into the early morning :-)