We cracked the 200km mark today, a couple of kilometres past this way marker. Only another 500 or so to Santiago – then more after that to Finisterre on the Atlantic Coast.
We named this part of the road, particularly the gully afterwards “Death Valley” on account of the heat, the flies, the stench of cow dung (we saw plenty of dung but no livestock) and the thirty or more buzzard type birds that continuously circled above us as we trudged on.
We’re in the heart of the La Rioja region now and the grape harvest is in full swing.
The grapes are small and sweet with an intense flavour. Interestingly, there are no scarecrows, no blasts from bird scarers and the fruit appear untouched. I guess buzzards don’t eat fruit.
Camino angels are a feature of The Way. Often they have cold drinks, fresh fruit, sometimes hot coffee, all for a donation. Today we met this musician playing traditional hymns. His music made for a relaxing interlude while we stripped off our rain gear.
He told us about an ancient pilgrims’ hospital, dedicated to San Anton, only a couple of hundred metres along the route. (Hospital in this context means albergue or Refugio.) It was another reminder that Christian pilgrims have been walking this route since the 9th Century. And I’ve read before that Celtic peoples walked across the north of Spain to Finisterre, searching for the End of the world
Today, by time we arrived in Azofra the small niggles in my feet had turned to blisters.
They’re not too bad. I hope it stays that way. Tomorrow we have another 20 plus kilometres. I’ll be cracking out the first-aide kit before we start.