Friday, November 22, 2013

Camino 2013 : Day 8: Undués de Lerda To Izco

We left Undués de Lerda early and watched our long shadows appear on the road ahead of us as the sun rose behind us.  The rising sun turned the mowed hay fields gold.  The spring has greens but the fall's primary color is a rich golden brown.

Bales of golden hay were seen along the entire length of the Camino.
(I sneezed after taking this picture ... hay fever perhaps?)
We reached Sangüesa at 10:00AM.  Everyone was wearing the white and red of festival.  The Camino passes by the local bull ring.  A poster on the ring wall told us we'd missed the running of the bulls by just an hour (darn it!).  (A couple pilgrims we would meet in Izco told us they had left their albergue at 9:00AM and had been told by a police officer to go back in - two minutes later the bulls stampeded past the albergue door.  They almost had participated unwittingly themselves!)  Parts of the streets we walked through were lined with temporary fencing to keep the bulls out of homes and businesses.  There were also empty bottles in the street ... the remains of the celebration the night before.

Fiesta!!!
Sangüesa looked like a really nice city.  It would have been nice to have stopped and visited the churches and celebrated fiesta with the city but not this time.

Church of Santa Maria la Real.
We stopped in a cafe and had some breakfast before we headed out of the city.  The maps we saw implied there were four towns along the stretch of Camino between Sangüesa and Izco, our destination.  Towns are nice because they offer a place to rest, eat, and drink.  More importantly they break up long walking days, mark progress. and provide a change of scenery.  It turns out the maps were wrong.  There are four towns but the Camino does not go through any of them.  This made for a long uninterrupted stretch of walking ... and it was also fairly hot.

Snails munched on the grass along the side of the road.
The heat and dust felt unending.  The sun was hot enough to melt the chocolate bar in my pack ... I licked the chocolate off the wrapper and got most of it in my mouth.  The rest was, according to Gv, all over my chin (sadly she has proof - the picture is on Facebook in my Camino 2013 album).

This stretch of Camino crosses two altos (heights or ridges) - Alto de Tibar and Alto de Loiti.  Neither of them are terribly high but on a hot day they seemed high enough.  There was little shade along the Camino and the only relief we had was a tunnel below a highway.  The shade and the breeze that blew through the tunnel felt like heaven.  Sadly we had to keep going if we wanted to get to Izco.

There were insects along the way including praying mantis and grasshoppers
with electric blue wings who wouldn't stand still for a picture
My walking this day was in spurts.  I would walk fifty meters or so and then I would stop to pick raspberries.  Another fifty meters or so and another stop and more raspberries.   The raspberry bushes lined the road most of the way to Izco.  They slowed me down and helped pace myself on this particularly long walking day.  I'm not sure I would have made it without them.

Izco turned out to be another tiny town with a single albergue/bar/store.  The owner was a nice lady.  She showed us to the single room full of bunk beds, the washing facilities (a washing machine! - Clean clothes! I discovered my t-shirt missing here), and a kitchen for the pilgrims.  We went through the store and bought ingredients for dinner and walking food for the next day.  I downed another liter and a half bottle of water and ate an ice cream to revive me before I did my chores.

That night Gv made dinner (pasta ... a Camino staple ... and very good).  We ate dinner with J-M, Ju and a young couple from the netherlands (Nr and Mt).  Rh and Nc were not there because they'd done a short day to Sangüesa to see the bullfighting (They were horrified by the violence and ended up leaving the bull ring before it was over).  We would see them farther down the Camino.

The pilgrim from Barcelona and his Russian Ukrainian girlfriend showed up at 10:00PM - the latest I've ever seen a pilgrim arrive.  Thank you ear plugs - I slept through them doing their chores before they finally went to bed.

Pictures can be found in my 2013 Camino de Santiago Google Photos album.

Total Distance on Day 8: 29 km ( 18.02 Miles)
Total Distance Walked: 172 km (106.88 Miles)

Approximate Track of the day's hike.
[Click on map for a larger version]

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