|View from the Parochial Albergue in Monesterio|
Robin and I turned in early last night only to be awakened by a knock on our door. A Spanish cyclist from Bilbao had arrived and was looking for lodging. We got him sorted and then it was back to bed. The morning broke clear as a bell with our new cyclist friend found encamped on the patio. He had dragged his mattress et al outside for a bit of al fresco snoozing. We managed a quick breakfast and headed down the stairs and out into a village coming to life for another day.
Very quickly we encountered a nice German fellow hobbling along with his backpack. We enquired as to his problem and he truthfully didn't know but his swollen ankle tended towards a diagnosis of tendonitis. Today's walk would not offer a chance to call it quits once you began as there are not any villages in between the start and the finish. I trust he made the right decision to rest for a day as we did not see him again. We wound our way out of town and into the countryside. It was bucolic, quiet and perfect. Ambling along well marked country lanes we enjoyed the energy found in a breakfast of Iberico ham, eggs and toast, and an apple for good measure. A side note I don't think you can find a vegetable in Monesterio. It is an unabashed carne capital. Eat meat or be gone (perhaps a wee bit of an overstatement but you get the point). They love their meat. After all the Tourist Office is located in the Ham Museum. I rest my case.
As we moved along through the morning we began to notice the tree cover thinning and then disappearing altogether. We were now out in the open walking through open cultivated fields clinging to rolling hills. This reminded us very much of the Meseta, or perhaps parts of Los Monegros. It was stark and beautiful and the route was so well defined, by markings and country lanes that one could almost switch to autopilot (but then there is always that arrow that you could miss). We crunched through the gravel kicking up lazy clouds of trail dust as we moved from morning past midday. At one point we could see the village of Fuente de Cantos off in the distance, but it took another couple of hours to reel it in. A special note of thanks goes out to our "sunbrellas." We always carry trekking umbrellas, and today they earned their keep. It was not a blazingly hot day (75 F), but being out in the open, without any cover, the sun can simply run you down. With the change of terrain we stowed one trekking pole and popped open the "sunbrellas" and had a thoroughly pleasant day of it under our mobile sun shades. They kept us cool and, unlike wearing a hat, they allowed the breeze to cool our heads as we shuffled along. Great bit of gear. We have settled into the Albergue Touristico for the night. It is in a renovated convent. It fills all the basic needs and the people who run it have been quite accommodating. Off to Zafra tomorrow where I believe we will find WiFi strong enough to post this blog. All is well. Even managed a rosary today while on autopilot. After all this is a pilgrimage. There might be hope for me yet. Please note: additional photos will follow in a separate post. For some reason the WiFi does not want to handle all my photos in one post.
|Day begins leaving Monesterio|
|Don't leave home without one|
|Yes, you are in the open|
|A first distant glimpse of Fuentes de Cantos|