Camino de Madrid

Camino de Madrid
Camino de Madrid

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Day 30. Gontan to Vialba. 20.5 kms

The frost and breath of frosty wind had snapped
The last autumnal crocus 

The day was fine but cold, a chilly wind at my back, but the sun came out mid-morning and made for very pleasant walking. I trekked along minor roads and country lanes, brambles on either side, and at times the track was deep in the earth, twelve feet below the fields. How had this happened, I wondered. Was this a constructed road or an ancient track worn down over the centuries by horses' hooves, wagon wheels, or even marching legions?

I ate lunch in a field with my back to an old gum tree-ee. It was an idyllic moment, all alone, with the sun in my face, and such a gentle breeze stirring the leaves, already turning, even falling some of them, birch and poplar.

As I ate, a couple of young girls passed, one Czech, the other Hungarian, who had become friends on the Camino, and I reflected on others who would never have met otherwise, the German and the Pole, the Israeli and the New Zealander, all unlikely liasions. A good reason for walking alone, I think, unless you are partners.

I pressed on. Conkers cracked and their soft spiny coats squished underfoot. Crocuses appeared along the edge of the lane, some snapped, not by frost, but by careless pilgrims' feet. And a very strange assortment of mushrooms, some like something Coleridge might have dreamed  up, another more like a ripe tomato.

Stone slab walls enclosed many of the fields, and I saw the same slabs used as a roof of a barn.

Another entrepreneur had driven his car towards oncoming pilgrims, handing out leaflets advertising a private albergue, in town rather than one kilometre before, at 10€ rather than 6€, and I decided it was worth the premium for a little more room and the certainty of hot showers.

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