When I did the supermarket shop last night, all I could find were bulk buys, large packets and heavy items. Shopping on the Camino often means that a few days can go by without the opportunity to stock up. It is of course possible to pay for a pilgrim meal in most overnight stops, but this can get expensive if you are doing the whole thing from Le Puy en Velay (65 days at least for me!). A big shop can add a couple of kilograms to the rucksack so its important to shop carefully. There was a shop I found that had it’s window full of small items especially for the pilgrim. I wished I had found it the night before.
Walking out of town on another overcast day, the Way followed a main road and was as straight as a die. It was not so inspiring but the steady ‘crunch-crunch’ of the boots over the gravel surface became strangely hypnotic. Being flat, it was easy and fast walking. I was comforted knowing that the kilometres were being covered quickly. Today would be the famous seventeen kilometre stretch of straight path I had heard about.
The wildlife and wild flowers were absorbing as was the sheer expanse of the plain that the Way was crossing. Nine kilometres from Carrion de los Condes there was a small group of trees with an outdoor cafe. Another enterprising local had set up a refreshment van and virtually everyone stopped for to take a break from the straight pathway. The cafe was pleasant but not cheap! Still we were a captive market for his hot and cold drinks.
To break the sameness of the scenery I filmed some walkers with the time-lapse function on the camera. I didn’t even know the camera had this function before then so it provided me with a lot of amusement for a while!
Finally Calzadilla de la Cueza appeared. Another small village, it did have a hotel and bar where familiar faces were already stationed. It was great to sit for a while knowing that one of the most isolated stretches of the Camino was behind us. By now much hotter, we all ate then dozed in the sun. There were quite a few walkers asleep under the trees near the bar.
An old dog appeared and sat in the middle of the road in front of a van. The van was not going anywhere and no one took any notice. Suddenly the driver appeared and jumped in. He drove off right over the top of the sleeping dog, luckily not running over it with the tyres. There was a lot of yelping and whining as the dog was finally spat out from under the van. I shouted at the driver who mearly shrugged his shoulders. I checked the dog out all over. It appeared to be fine, was not limping, and there was no blood and no injuries. The dog simply wagged it’s tail and sat down again in the shade of the doorway of the bar. I mentioned what had happened to the bar owner – another shrug of the shoulders was all that he could manage.
It was only six kilometres to Ledigos and I planned to continue another three or so to Terradillos los Templarios. At Ledigos I felt tired however. In the distance were huge black storm clouds. I found the only albergue in town which was also the only bar, and the only shop. It was the hub of this tiny village. Soon Alex, Jasmin, Hector, and others turned up. They were going to continue to the next village. We shared some beers as the storm grew closer. I did not like the look of the dark clouds so checked in to the albergue and said goodbye. They headed off into the brooding darkness.
There were few other guests. There was only one Spanish guy in the dormitory that could sleep twenty or more. He did not speak much except when he was making numerous phone calls on his mobile. I asked at the bar and they opened the shop where I bought some fresh fruit. Then I discovered the swimming pool. It was magical to lie in the pool with the rumble of the approaching storm, the wind building and the heat and dryness of the day receding. So peaceful and so calm yet the storm raged and flashed as it got closer. Soon it was upon the village and what a storm! Magnificent quantities of wind and rain arrived. It was still crashing and flashing as I headed to bed. I felt warm, secure and happy in the albergue listening to the storm outside.
TIP: Personally I don’t think it is a good idea walking while there is a thunder storm in the area. Your mobile phone or walking poles can attract the lightning in the open plains.