23 Sep 21019
We got an early start out of Ciruena, before dawn, using our headlamps to see the trail, for a 17 Km walk to Recedilla de Camino. It was a chilly 47-degrees F but dry and eventually became sunny and in the 60s. However, the wind started building throughout the day, eventually gusting to 18mph. No sign of das German ladies.
Our path took us through the larger town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada and we encountered this water fountain/art work in the old town. There are a lot of water fountains/faucets along the Camino for the benefit of pilgrims; some are marked non-potable and I’m leery of drinking water in the rural countryside from a funky-looking spigot anyway.
You may remember at the outset of this journey, I mentioned the Pilgrim Passport or credential that we get stamped along the way. The photo above shows my credential at this point.
As we pass farm fields, we see a lot of the invasive plant shown above. It has white trumpet-shaped flowers and that really menacing seed pod. After consulting a local expert at a bar, we discovered it’s datura stramonium, or Jimson Weed, a member of the Nightshade family, and quite toxic. Also possibly psychedelic. I think I may have heard about it in the 60s but can’t remember. The author Carlos Casteneda came to mind but he was the peyote guy, wasn’t he?
We passed through acres of sunflower fields, all dried up and ready to be harvested. I bet it’s quite lovely to see them all blooming and facing upward.
Today’s path surface is what you see here – packed earth and stones; not too hard on the feet but not the best either. The good new is that my blisters are healing up and my feet are generally improving.
Recedilla de Camino is a tiny town and so is the albergue we booked into – just 10 bunk beds. The hospitalero is very nice but also maybe just a little nutty – too long on his own, maybe. Nonetheless he cooked us a really nice dinner and breakfast, both including bread he baked.
Among the guests were two young guys who were hauling all manner of digital devices (laptops, iPads, phone, cameras, stands, chargers) and insisted on videoing everything, even the serving of the soup. They also came crashing into the dorm room about two hours after we’d turned out the lights, waking everyone up. They may be the next Rick Steves, but that was bad albergue etiquette.
Tiny or not, the town did have a nice bar (run by an Ecuadorean who goes home in the winter months) and the required medieval church drenched in gold leaf.
A special howdy to Jack, Verne, Anthony, Brad, Cindy, and everyone else at 1-to-1 Fitness: thanks for following the blog. If I had to assess my training efforts now, I’d say I didn’t do enough cardio and did too much walking on smooth surfaces. I hope everyone is well.
Lastly, Inquiring Minds Want to Know, Part 1: Why are these posts a week behind? There are several reasons. Early on, I was just too exhausted to write them after walking all day and then doing the usual pilgrim routine (shower, laundry, eat). Then later I discovered that the “free WiFi” (pronounced “wee fee”) promised at most (but not all) lodging is a relative term. Some WiFi is unsecured and dangerous to use, some doesn’t work at all, and some is so slow (especially with everyone on it at once) it’s unusable. I’ve been trying to catch up in bursts when I get to a safe, fast network, so bear with me.
Tomorrow, we’re off to Belorado.