Tomorrow we will walk from San Juan de Ortega to Burgos, our second “big” city. This means we are about a third done and at the end of tomorrow we’ll have traveled 292 km, nearly 200 miles.
Today at lunch we were talking with our travel pals about Easter Sunday and our first day of walking and I showed them a few photos of the festival we went to. It seems like it was months ago. Because of a minor sense of perpetual fatigue things start to run together a bit. I refer back often to the photos I’ve taken.
Each day has a certain sameness to it. We follow a routine of sorts. Up early, walk for a bit. Grab a breakfast of tortilla and coffee and the best OJ ever. Spanish tortilla is kind of like quiche or strata but without a crust. Potato, egg, onion and a little bit of cheese. It’s simple, omnipresent and delicious hot or cold. They also have these cool Zumo machines that squeeze fresh OJ on the fly. Drop in whole oranges, out comes fresh squeezed deliciousness and nearly every stop, no matter how small has them. Yum.
We walk for a few more hours and might have lunch depending on how long the day is. It’s been generally between 20 and 25 km and up to 30 but that’s usually pretty grueling.
Then you get to the albergue and maybe do laundry. The albergues can have a wide range of facilities from hand wash to dropping a load with them for wash and dry for you. We brought stuff expecting to hand wash mostly but haven’t done that hardly at all. Since we’re commonly with the same group there’s almost always several socks and tshirts to wash and it’s much more sure to be dry when you need it the next day if it goes through the laundry. Pooled together it’s quite inexpensive.
Either the albergues or local restaurants provide a pilgrim menu which is generally 3 courses of something carb intensive. We’ve done that or shared pinchos (small plates) and a bottle of wine in a lovely square somewhere. The first week was nice and warm til dark but this weeks it’s been much cooler.Freezing at first light and once the sun drops in the sky you’re grabbing your fleece and putting on socks with your flip flops.
Each day the landscape changes bit by bit. Navarra was lush with every shade of green. Rioja was ripe with rich clay soils under grape vines, so brick reds contrasting with lovely feathery greens of new wheat, plus the more silvery green of olive trees. We crossed yesterday from Rioja into Castilla y Léon which is more green on green with giant golden mounds of wheat and clay soils that are more orange than red.
I could devote another whole page to the insides of churches and we’ve been into many. From lovely and ornate, to vestiges of centuries gone by, to simple and small. There’s one in nearly every village (except Murder Town). Even to me who is about as godless as they come these are kind and sometimes ethereal spaces, ones in which it is perhaps easiest to imagine the centuries of pilgrims and trekkers that have come before.