Thursday, December 26, 2013

Camino 2013 - Day 22: Villarmentero De Campos To Calzadilla De La Cueza

We left Villamentero de Campos in a light drizzle.  It was overcast and still dark.  As we left the small town the bicycle pilgrim passed us ringing his bell.

The drizzle was light but steady the next 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) until we reached Carrión de los Condes.  We wandered around the town looking for a place to eat.  Things were still closed.  We ended up walking back to a bar/cafe near the entrance to the town.  The place was full of pilgrims.  The bus stop is outside the bar and quite a few were going to take the bus ahead.

We talked to a couple of American women who were waiting for the bus.  They were going to skip the rest of the meseta.  You could tell it was harder than they had expected.  They were also put off by the on and off rain/drizzle that had been around the past few days.  They looked at me funny when I told them this was my second Camino.  I ran into that look a lot on this Camino.  This was another change on the Camino.  When I'd run into a repeat Camino walker I'd asked about their experience and for their advice.  This time, when people found out I was a repeat walker, many would look at me with this pained expression and would ask with an incredulous tone "Why?"  The wonder I'd felt my first Camino, even on the hard days, was always a rare commodity this time.  Fortunately there were still people walking who did appreciate it - they balanced all the people who didn't get it.

Solitary flower in a harvested field.
We ate some food, said our goodbyes to the ladies, and headed out into what was now a steady rain.  We stopped at a grocery store and picked up some supplies and then headed out of town.

Pilgrim statue in Carrión de los Condes.
The rain was constant.  This section between Carrión de los Condes to Calzadilla de la Cueza is one of the longest sections between towns - about 17 kilometers (10.6 miles).  It is relatively flat and straight though there are still some low hills on the section.  It follows the original Camino ... the Camino has changed a lot over the centuries.

The overcast skies, the constant rain, and the cold wind that started to blow crushed my spirit.  Last time this section had been one of my favorite parts and I told this to people when they asked what part I'd liked the most.  It encouraged a walking meditation with no distractions.  This time it was just demoralizing.

We met Ma, Cm, and Ci who we had met at San Bol and we walked with them for a while.  Ci turned out to be a fast walker and it was hard to keep up with her but the conversation did help lift my spirits a bit or at least distract me from the rain.

There is a rest stop about two thirds of the way to Calzadilla de la Cueza.  We stopped and snacked a little to get our energy back up.  Either Ci or I said something funny as Gv was drinking orange juice.  Not good.  I saw the orange juice come out of her nose.  Orange juice in your sinuses ... not a nice feeling.  Stuff burns I hear ... or at least that's what Gv said.  We tried, unsuccessfully, to not laugh at Gv's distress.

The last third of the way the rain began to diminish a little.  There was a guy way ahead of us and a couple behind us.  I noticed the guy raise his hands over his head and turn and wave at us.  I wasn't sure what he was doing until I reached the top of the hill.  From the top of the hill you could see the town in a depression (you couldn't see it until you were nearly on top of it).  Both Gv and I cheered.  As we went down the hill approaching the town I heard a cheer behind us - the couple behind us had reached the top of the hill.  I think that was the reaction from everyone this rainy, dreary day as they saw the town not far ahead.

The albergue was a a two story dormitory with tightly packed bunk beds.  We ended up next to the hospitalera's bed.  The albergue filled up by 3:00PM and people were camping in the backyard including the camping pilgrim with his cute white dog we'd seen in San Bol.  I hadn't expected this albergue to be full.  Most people start in Carrión de los Condes and pass Calzadilla de la Cueza on the way to Lédigos or Terradillos de Templarios.  I think this time the rain and cold wind motivated a lot of people to take a short day.  Being gluttons for punishment we had made this a longer day.

The drizzle/rain came and went the rest of the evening.  We ate lunch and an early dinner in the one restaurant in town.  Not wanting to wait for a real dinner we ordered pizza before heading back to the albergue.

My heal blister on my right foot got a little worse this day.  We still hadn't found an effective way to treat and protect them yet.  The blister wouldn't stop me from walking but it would make things a bit uncomfortable over the next few stages.

I was happy this rainy, dreary day was over.  There would be more rain ahead and more dreariness but this day had been a low for me.  I survived physically but emotionally I was tired.  It seems I run on sugar and sunlight and, for most of the meseta, I would be sunlight deprived.

I took few pictures this stage.  The rain discouraged stopping or looking around much.  The few I took can be found in my 2013 Camino de Santiago Google Photos album.

Total Distance on Day 22: 27 km ( 16.78 Miles)
Total Distance Walked: 506 km (314.41 Miles)

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

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