Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Feb 3, 2015: Candasnos to Fraga 26.0 K

'I'We finally bid farewell to Bujaraloz this morning. Our very punctual taxi driver, Carlos, was at El Español at 8:00 sharp. We loaded up our gear and headed east to Candasnos 20 K away. The forecast called for showers today but we only saw a few in the early morning hours before we left. Once we started walking it was dry, cold and, yes, the wind was back again (more on that later). We pushed off from Casdasnos at 8:30 on another familiar looking trail, make that flat and straight. It was good walking and we were making good speed in the blustery morning wind. Thank God the wind was from behind us. We just sailed along. The only infrastructure between Candasnos and Fraga is a gas station about half way. We drew that abeam at 11:00, and just kept walking. Sometimes Robin and I will take a break, but more it is more likely we will just keep walking. Today was a just keep walking day. The scenery on the plateau was eye catching as always, but the best was saved for last. During this stage you descend from the Monegros Plateau to get down to Fraga. One moment we were on a flat prairie, and the next we were looking down at a wonder world of geographical features, as we reached the point of descent. The views were spectacular. 
Now about the wind. It had been blowing a good steady 25-30 mph all day (yes, I am done with the wind), but as we moved around the rim of the plateau the wind took a final shot at us. In short it was frightening. The wind picked up to 40-45 mph range and we were now walking across it, not downwind. Robin and I were as close to the ground as we could get and still walk. Our legs were spread wide apart, and we were leaning hard into the gusts. I kept thinking the wind would not have to blow much harder before we would just be swept away. Our time on this ridge was short (but not short enough) as we soon picked up the arrow marking the downward trail. We redoubled our efforts to get off that ridge as quickly as possible. As we lost altitude we also lost the worst of the wind, but not all of it. It just followed us down to Fraga where we arrived in the Plaza De España at 2:30. What a day. Splendid, but not yet over. We misjudged the location of our hostal for tonight. It was actually on the far eastern side of Fraga (outside the city limits) approximately 7K from where we were standing in the Plaza De España. We decided to carry on and make tomorrow's 33 K walk a bit shorter. We pushed on and climbed up out of Fraga, and then descended into the eastern approaches to the city. We finally spotted our hostal but not before we crossed the busy A2 (by underpass and bridge) a couple of times trying to get our bearings. It all ended well. We arrived at the Hostal Oasis at 4:15. Our room is quite basic, but thankfully warm. We missed the lunch cut off at 4:00, so we will be dining at 8:30 instead. Considering our efforts today Robin and I both would have liked to have been in bed by 8:30, but no luck there. Still there was so much to enjoy and be thankful for during today's walk. As always we feel blessed to be able to do this pilgrimage and rise to its challenges. So far, so good. Tomorrow's walk takes us into the province of Catalunya, and the city of Lleida. Manresa here we come. Saint Ignatius, pray for us.

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