May 7 – Happy birthday to my sister Amy, and Happy Primavera to all! Yes, today is another fiesta day here in Spain – Primavera, or the first day of Spring (according to another hiker – this may not be correct). Not sure what this holiday entails, except rose petals and lots of drinking.
Once we were out of town, all the trail arrows were obliterated. We thought the trail might have been moved, which happens from time to time, but we could find no alternative route in any of our resources. So, today’s walk of 7 miles was totally on asphalt, following Google Maps, which thinks you are a car and directs you down a paved road. Roadwalks are not my favorite – after walking any distance on pavement, a dirt path feels as soft as walking on pillows. I don’t know how marathoners run for 26 miles, all on pavement. Hats off to them!
We got to see some cacti in bloom:
There was a little town at the halfway point of our day, with a coffee shop, so we stopped in for a cup. Spoke for a while with a fellow hiker from Australia of about our age, also doing short stages. He lamented how the Camino Frances has been ruined by the youngsters who turned it into a partying experience, and theorized that is why all the oldsters are on this trail. He confirmed our observation that this is no longer the least popular Camino – we are seeing larger numbers of walkers every day, and are having to book in advance to assure we have a room for the night.
Our hostal was rocking with folks celebrating Primavera, but we managed to get a room and a good meal.
This quartet wasn’t rocking out for the kids, but with accordion and saxophone, they strode proudly down the street, playing all their songs by heart.
We checked out the church of Santiago Apostol, which was closed but had a collection of old Roman markers on display. The flowers on the cross are also for Primavera, I think.
Now, I do my best to both educate and amuse my audience, so I would like to share the wedding traditions of Carcabos, which must be very important to merit a sign outside the church. I would like to, but whoever translated this sign into English did not help my understanding – what do you think?
This is our second day with no wifi. Hope we have some soon! 392 miles to go.
May 8 – After a breakfast of churros and coffee, we hit the road for a twelve mile walk. Others are doing a 24 mile day to the next town that is right on the Camino, but we are detouring to a town halfway between. The upside of this is a shorter walking day; the downside is that the last four miles walked do not count toward our Camino total. Oh well. Pretty sky this morning.
We met an Englishman named Tim, who was actually walking as slow as we were, due to a leg injury. It turned out that both he and Jim were engineers who then got doctorates in sociology. As you can imagine, they had lots to discuss.
I straggled behind, taking pictures.
This scene reminded me of Africa. I expected to see a giraffe at any moment.
We bade farewell to Tim after 8 miles as we started our detour. Even with his injury, he plans to walk 24 miles today.
The last four miles was along a busy highway, where we had to walk on the rocky verge in the hot sun. No fun! But now we are in a lovely Casa Rural, Jim has cooked us a delicious lunch, and I am looking forward to my siesta. 384 miles to go.