Camino de Madrid

Camino de Madrid
Camino de Madrid

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Day 14. En Calcat to Les Casses (32 kms)

14 April, 2011

Today was uneventful but for the incident of the one-armed man and a glimpse of domestic bliss.

I walked almost all morning on the bitumen. This is very hard on the feet and walkers will do anything to avoid it.

Sometimes you can find a trail of light stones in the centre or along the edges of the road - anything with a bit of give. Gravel is a nice surface to walk on. Twigs, acorns or leaves are even better. Dirt is fine. Grass is all right if it's not too long or spongy.

An important decision to make is whether to stop and take a stone out of your shoe or to keep walking and hope that it will work its way from the ball or heel of your foot.

Even more important is whether to keep going when you haven't seen a marker for a while. Is there no marker because the road is obviously the right one or is there no marker because it's the wrong one?

As I was walking up a hill, a one-armed man came up behind me at twice my pace and disappeared into the distance like the White Rabbit. I thought about the difficulty of walking without both arms to swing. I noticed that he leaned over to compensate for the missing arm.

Thirty minutes later he came back at the same speed. He stopped and we chatted. When we shook hands, I felt that he had the strength of two arms in his one hand.

Then I passed some goats, ducks and hens together in one small yard. The goats were lazing in the sun, the ducks were waddling about, and the hens were scratching the ground and clucking contentedly as chooks do. There is a moral here, I thought.

In the afternoon I walked along a winding trail beside a river. This was my kind of trail! I thought I was walking uphill but the water was flowing in the same direction.

Tonight I'm taking the demi-pension at a gite. The meal was quite a contrast from last night's. We had soup, sausages with veggies and quinoa, and custard. The hostess kept pressing more and more upon me. To refuse would have been impolite.

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