Sunflower

Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun,
and I say, It’s all right
George Harrison, 1969

Camino Day 17, Jueves 24th Setiembre. 395 klms. Legidos, Palencia, Castile y León, España.

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We stepped out of our hotel this morning into the cold pre-dawn light. A quick left turn into the Plaza de los Regentes and then another into the secret alleyway alongside the Iglesia de Santiago and then out into the Plaza del Generalisimo and right onto Calle J A Primo de Rivera and we were on our way. All this in silence, joining then shuffling along with the procession of colourful ants each on their way along the Camino de Santiago.

In our case though, not for long, as the first order of the day was to be desayuno at a nearby café. Tortilla and café con leche of course. The TV blaring from the wall; two Guardia Civil officers at the counter (normally the only place I see them as at the cafés); and they and the three other patrons loudly discussing the Catalonian parliamentary election to be held this coming Sunday.

Then out into the cold again, across the bridge over the Río Carrión, past the 10th century Monestorio San Zoilo, the scene of dastardly deeds past, and now a pretty swish hotel, and we are finally on our way. Frozen fingers await the sun.

Those who know Janet and me well would think that I have painted an unlikely picture. Intellectually we know that predawn exists, but it is a thing rarely experienced.

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With the sun now at our backs we started one of the the most unusual walks.
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We rarely walk more than about 7 klms without passing through a village. Today was to be a 17 klm stretch between start and the next town, Calzadilla de la Cueza.

The unexpected highlight of this walk was the 12 klm walk along the Via Aquitana (or Via Aquitania). This stretch has been a part of the Camino since its inception. Constructed by the Romans in 118 BC, the path runs dead straight apart from one bend. I could not help but marvel at whatever engineering technology the Romans used which enabled them to construct their roads this way. And then to think that maybe 2,000,000 people had walked this very path over the ensuing two millenia.
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It puts me as an individual into a perspective which I rarely get (take!) in my day to day life.

All this time we had been walking in a light(ish) fog, which sort of added to the overall magic of the scene.

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Oh, walking along the Roman road no traffic is expected. Sure, the occasional tractor or other farm implement – they have to get to their paddocks somehow. Part way along I heard car coming up behind us. As it got closer it looked official. Sure enough. It was the Guardia Civil officers from the café earlier this morning! Not that I feel the Camino is even remotely unsafe (even allowing for recent events), it’s good to know that the authorities are all the same keeping an eye on things.

The rest of the day sort of just unfolded. Lunch was at Calzadilla de la Cueza, where we sat with a young lady from Estonia (a country about which I know next to nothing), and then Kyran from Redfern (Sydney) turned up and then a little later Helen from Scottsdale. This really is a social experience, something which remains somewhat outside my normal way of being.

We once again took the path less travelled into our current town of Ledigos, arriving after a very civilised ~5 hours walk (rest/lunch breaks removed).

We have a private room at the Albergue La Morena, and I am finishing this post sitting on the roadway out the front. I just did a quick calculation. We just enjoyed a coffee and a vino tinto each. If one could do such a thing in Perth/Dunsborough, I figure the wines would cost $9 each (conservatively) and the coffees $5 each. A total outlay of $28 – let’s call that €18. Today’s actual cost? Well let’s make it a competition … you, dear reader, tell me. The answer will be declared in a day or two. And maybe a prize for the closest.
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Legidos is a tiny village. We don’t always get a chance to look closely at the small villages; today we created that opportunity. Half a dozen criss-cross streets. Quietness redefined. Very run down old houses. Newish and extremely well maintained houses. Traditional round grain storage constructions in the middle of the village. Brand new cars. Old iglesia in much need of some tlc. The adjoining cemetery as well maintained as any I have seen. Evidence of modern agricultural systems. A sizable solar array just over yonder. As with so much that we have seen in España, enigmatic. A series of photos follow, hopefully showing some of the contrasts.
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To close for the day. We have now walked for 17 of our planned 33 walking days, and covered 395 of our 776 klm journey. We therefore crossed the halfway mark today – I like to think that it was on the Roman road. The bodies are strong (minimal blisters and my leg has retreated to a dull ache which improves daily), the minds are both relaxed and focused (?), and the spirits are strong. This journey is proving to be everything and more that we had hoped.

Tomorrow is a biggish 26 klm day, but really …

2 thoughts on “Sunflower

  1. susanawee

    I’m going for 5euro…
    Have really enjoyed reading all the posts so far and the photos have been amazing….continue to travel well you two….Buen Camino….

    Like

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