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A Classic Day

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If there is a day that epitomizes the Camino, it’s today. 

I’m back up in the mountains, and today’s stage included the highest point on the Camino, the Cruz de Ferro. 

The tradition is to carry a rock with you from home, and leave it on the pile. I’ve been hauling my Napeague rock for 1300 miles and I’m glad to finally leave it behind. 

It may have been the single hardest day of walking yet. It was a 350 meter climb from Rabanal to the Cruz de Ferro, which wasn’t too bad. But the descent was brutal. It was almost a 1000 meter drop over 10km. On the plus side the temperature rose 30 degrees and there was some spectacular scenery!

I’m in the region of Bierzo now. Sandie sent me this article about the local wine so it seems like a good time to go see if I can find some!

Feels Like the Home Stretch

Having gone through Asturga,  I’m officially finished with the meseta and headed into Galicia. 

The original group i started with in St Jean has now been strung out over five or six stages. Im probably two days behind the fastest and four days ahead of the stragglers. 
There are more and more people on the trail these days, as many people begin in Leon or Asturga and just do the home stretch. 
You can only imagine how much I feel like the boss of the Camino 

El Classico

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I’m in Villar de Mazarife for “El Classico”, the Champions League game between Real Madrid & Barcelona. We’re (Real Madrid) down 1-0 at the half. 

I’m at a great place to watch the game. The Akbergue I’m staying at; has the biggest tv I’ve seen on the Camino so far. Note the classic cigarette machine beneath the tv, the Camino plaque to the right of it and the rack of walking sticks to the left of the cigs. 

Too Wet To Post

I know. Lame excuse. The last couple of days have been unpleasant though. Lots of rain, industrial terrain and a shortage of places to stay. 

And I seem to have stayed somewhere with lots of biting bugs. Ugh. 
Leaving Leon this morning and I don’t think it’s supposed to rain today. 

Best Roman Road?

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I took the traditional route, rather than a scenic detour and am in a town called El Burgo Ranero. Not a bad place, in fact a good place to have watched Real Madrid vs Juventus last night. 

What I didn’t realize was that I’m now out of position to walk 17km on the best preserved Roman road in Spain, the Calzada Romana (not sure if that’s the official name). I think I have a way to get there where I’m at least on it for 10 km or so. 
I’ll let you know!

Another Day

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This mornings first 17km broke all the records for miserable walking. I repeated the  mistake I made last April on what is now the second most miserable day of walking: I underdressed for crappy weather.  

Since i had a good 20e room in Carrion de la Calzada last night, and could hear the rain pelting down I had half a mind to sit today out and soak in all the culture Carrion has to offer (there’s a souvenir store).   The rain stopped at around 9 so hatless and in a short sleeve shirt I headed out at 9:15. By 9:20 it was drizzling  and by 9:30 the rain was steady and 10 minutes later it was a torrential sideways downpour. 
I ended up in a town called Moratinos, 30km from Carrion. 
Just to show you that not all of the Camino is picturesque, here’s the place I stopped to dry out and have a piece of tortilla yesterday. 

Since I’m On The Plain

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I shouldn’t be surprised that its raining in Spain. It’s suppose to rain steadily for the next few days. 

My shoes have done a heroic job. I’ve walked almost 1900 km in them so far this year but they’re coming apart at the seams. I glued back together the worst holes but I don’t know how waterproof the glue is. 
If worse comes to worse I do have a roll of duct tape!

I Felt Like A Border Collie

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Come on guys. Gather around and look at the camera. 

Lots of KMs

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Since the extra day in Burgos I’ve gone 67 km: 32 yesterday (to a village called Hontanas) and today I’m in Fromista, 35 km beyond Hontanas. 

My feet, legs and hips hurt after about 20km but they don’t really hurt any worse  after that so the difference between walking 20km and 35km is just another 3.5-4 hours of painful feet, legs and hips rather than an increasing amount of pain over that period. Does that make sense?
Here’s a selfie. 

Name That Tuber

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At first I thought these were exceptionally uniform rocks so I picked up a rock from the trail and threw it at the pile to see what lind of noise it would make. Theyre not rocks, but some sort of root vegetable. Some of them are as big as bowling balls. 

A km or so after this wall of yams I got to see them being harvested. 

This machine scoops them out if the ground, cuts off the leaves and stashes them in a humongous bin on the machine.  When its full, the driver dumps the bin onto the pile. 

I’m pretty sure potato farming technology has advanced since the days of ancient pilgrims.