Distance to go: 423.6 Kms
We had a really nice dinner last night in a local hostelry. There were seven of us around the table including ourselves, Anders the Viking and Antoinette and Jimmy. We shared wine, stories and at the end we said farewell to the Irish contingent who would be travelling home tomorrow.
We will miss their cheery faces and unending kind words and deeds.
I did not sleep well last night. Nor did Debbie. Unfortunately Jesus had a cold and snored heavily all night long. No amount of ramming my earplugs into my aural orifices helped. Once I had tuned into the buzz saw lying in a top bunk I was scuppered.
We rose at 05:30, dressed and packed our bedding into our backpacks, the normal morning routine and shared a breakfast with the other pilgrims before setting out for the 22 Kms walk to Carrión De Los Condes. It sounds a bit like carrion of the condor. Maybe its dead pilgrims! I am sure it does not mean that.
The first 4 kms is boring gravel track leading west alongside the road. Then at Población de Campos there is a choice to continue alongside the road for another 9.7 Kms or take another route that runs alongside the Rio Ucieza. I was amazed at how many took the dead straight road option. Granted it is 1 Km shorter but they missed a very nice and shaded riverside walk.
After 4.1Kms at Villovieco, a cafe by an old bridge served hot tea and we could not resist. This is the land of coffee so finding good tea is boon to a weary pilgrim or two.
From here the walk alongside the river is lovely. Frogs croaked their morning calls, cuckoos sang their songs. We took a rest at the church of the Virgin of the River, changed our socks and headed back out onto the tarmac for the 7.7 Kms walk to our final destination for today, Carrión de Los Condes. This was boring and seemed to go on for ever. The gravel track by the road was straight for 5.6 Kms and with slight hills meaning you only got a glimpse of the town as you came over the last rise. Km signs beside the road counted down the distance to go. I hated them. They went past so slowly.
We arrived at our albergue, Spiritu Santo, a convent. We chose it only because it had fewer beds per room than the municipal albergue as per the guide book. When we arrived we were greeted by the nuns that run the place. They were so welcoming. The place resembles an old hospital but did we land on our feet or what. We have single beds, not bunk beds for €5 each.
Its a long hike tomorrow of 27 Kms. Well over our comfort zone of 20 to 25 Kms but we have little choice as the villages are few and far between so we have organised to send our bags ahead and we will walk with small packs to try and keep ourselves in reasonably good shape.
The two young American girls are here. They are the only ones we recognise from our original team. Doctor Dexter has attended to one of them who had a nasty big toe blister.
We are hoping for a much better sleep tonight. We shall see.
The dog of the day was a feisty wee thing. I had to catch him on the move as he refused to stay put for me.
Distance walked today: 21 Kms