jeudi 21 mai 2009

The meseta

We are now on the meseta, a part of the camino that some people skip because 'there is nothing to see'. I think there is a lot to see; it reminds me of the Canadian prairie. I realized, though, that Nadine's education as a prairie girl was deficient when she wanted take a picture of wheat, and when she didn't know the difference between wheat and hay!

A lot of people have been injured and gone home. Tendonitis seems to be a big problem. We have been walking with the Brazilians the past couple of days; one of them saw 2 of his friends go home because of tendonitis, and the youngest one now has fluid in his knee, and will need to take the bus to Leon tomorrow. Touch wood, Nadine and I are ok for now. The blisters are healing nicely, and the backpacks feel as if they are getting lighter. We have also met quite a few people who have been walking for quite a while. Several French pilgrims started in Puy, so a month before us; today, we met 2 young Swiss girls who left their home on March 24th. Today, I met a man from Victoria. There are also a lot of people doing the camino by bicycle, but the trail is so rough, it is very difficult. I saw one perosn fall, and another with multiple scratches lacerations on his legs.

The churces here are incredible. Tiny villages have 3 and 4 medieval churches; in many instances, medieval pilgrims came back and built chirches. In some ways, they are more beautiful than the big cathedrals; even though simple in decoration, the lines and proportions are amazing.

The race for albergues has taken a lull. A lot of people have left (many Europeans do the camino in stages) and the next wave in Leon has not yet started. Apparently, a German comic writer wrote a book about the camino a couple of years ago, so there are a lot of German pilgirms and would-be pilgrims. The latter are on German bus tours that drive them and drop them off 3 or 4 km from the destination for the day. They arrive at the albergues earlier than the others, and take all the places. As you can imagine, they are not very popular. I figure that if the race to the albergues picks up again, we will just stay in pensiones or hotels (although that day in Vianna when we couldn't find a place, all of those were full too and I later heard that some people slept outside).

In spite of minor issues, we are having a grand time. I think I am now a walker for life.


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