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PeterS - Camino De Santiago Journal - 2015

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Peter Shaw
City: Rancho Palos Verdes
State: Ca
Country: US
Begins: Apr 25, 2015
Direction: Westbound

Daily Summary
Date: Mon, May 4th, 2015

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 537
Journal Visits: 8,635
Guestbook Views: 352
Guestbook Entrys: 15

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St Anthony's Archway

Day 10

Having the room to myself was very convenient as I could call back home without disturbing anyone else early in "my" morning. So I was up a little early to make the call and then was out on the trail by 7:00 am. I met a Frenchman as I walked out of town and he was essentially running the Camino - this was his sixth day. He was tired from a long run yesterday so he was walking for a while and we had a chance to chat as we hiked to Hornillos del Camino. When we reached this village we parted as I decided I needed breakfast. I had my traditional Spanish omelet bocadillo and coffee Americano. I also had figured out that last night's spot message didn't go through so I sent another one outside the restaurant. It wasn't quite where I slept but it wasn't far away. Then, another couple walked in and we started to chat only to find out that they grew up in the same town that we lived in after we came to the US. The lady also graduated in the same class as a good friend of ours. What a small world!

From there the trail was on what the book calls earth track and I call dirt. It was essentially farming roads in between the endless fields of wheat that stretched to the horizon in every direction. It was a beautiful green so I wasn't complaining because the French runner told me by August everything is brown - just like southern California. I did get caught in two little thunderstorms but I resisted the raingear because I didn't think they would last more than a minute and that was a good call. But a little later the rain was more consistent and eventually I had to succumb and pull out the rain jacket and pants. Then there was a section where it was really muddy. The soil is still heavily clay based and that means it clumps and is very sticky. The result is the mud builds up on the sole until it's about a kilogram of extra weight on each foot and then its weight overcomes the adhesion to the shoe sole and it flies off only to build up again. This made for some tough hiking trying to avoid the mud in the first place and then trying to get it off the shoe. Eventually I came to Hontanas and stopped for lunch. After that the trail was wet but nowhere near as muddy so it was a lot easier and soon after that the rain stopped altogether.

The trail then joined a relatively quiet road that went through the San Anton arch that is part of the ruins of am ancient convent. From there it was pretty much a road walk all the way to Castrojeriz. There was a great view of Castrojeriz walking towards the town. There was the old church on the right, the ruins of the old castle on the top of the hill and the "new" town hugging the base of the hill. In Castrojeriz, I saw a restored Fiat car that was probably as old as the Renault I saw a few days ago. There was a path up the hill to the castle ruins but I had the choice of doing that and staying in Castrojeriz for the night or heading out to the next village nearly 10 km away. I was tempted to stay but it seemed to be a real tourist town even though it was very quiet so I decided to keep going. It was a close call because the trail climbed steeply over 100 m vertical (the sign at the bottom said 12% grade) to a mesa called Alto de Mostelares - see picture of trail going up the hillside. Despite the tough day with mud and rain, I was feeling really good and marched up the hill without stopping and overtaking two young girls that were amazed an old guy could do that. At the top there was a magnificent view back to the valley covering a massive wind farm on the ridge line, numerous fields of wheat and the town and castle of Castrojeriz. The way down the other side was a lot shorter but this time the sign said it was an 18% grade. It was a concrete path as well. Yuk! I really like steep climbs but I think my legs get this muscle memory while climbing that makes a sudden change to downhill difficult for them to figure out and I usually struggle for a bit going downhill until the muscles adapt. That was clearly the case here as I found the downhill harder than the uphill. But the views on the other side of the mesa were just as spectacular and took away any bad thoughts my legs were transmitting.

Eventually I made it to Itero de la Vega and went to the albergue I had picked out from the guidebook. Unfortunately, it was full so I went back to the albergue at the entrance to the town and booked a single room. It was a little more expensive but it was like a hotel room so I wasn't too bothered. The pilgrim's dinner was interesting as nobody had English as a first language. Fortunately I found a couple from Belgium that were sitting with an Italian and between us we managed to interpret almost everything with the help of the Belgians that could speak both English and Italian. I am getting used to the names of things in the menu so this was the first day I was served everything I thought I was going to get without a surprise. A nice end to a busy and tough day.

Entry 13 of 14
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Camino De Santiago

The Camino de Santiago is the name of any of the pilgrimage routes to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. Many take up this route as a form of spiritual path or retreat, for their spiritual growth.


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