Buffeted by the wind
Blown from side to side
I barely stay upright against the gale
Stands of poplars bend
In the woodland ride
And all the shrubs and bushes madly flail.
Never have I known a wind such as this, not even when facing a westerly on the coast of Western Australia.
It began as a cold wet wind, too strong for rain although it spattered a few drops from time to time. It was blowing across my path, threatening to push cyclists off the road, and me into traffic as I crossed an overpass over the motorway.
I ate my second breakfast at Reliegos, 13 kilometres from El Burgo Ranero.
Then the wind turned and strengthened. Dust blew across the path. Poplars leaned over, poppies bobbed, and the ubiquitous Dyer’s Woad shook itself like a mad thing. I hung onto the chin strap of my Tilley, for if the wind had snatched it, I would never have seen it again. Never have I been so buffeted and pummelled and shaken by the wind. It was fierce, it was brutal, it was savage. Walking against it was like a stiff climb. I arrived at Mansilla de las Mulas, decided there were too many people there, so walked on to Puente de Villarente. I am exhausted.
Last night the albergue filled up in the afternoon. In the evening, windows closed, the air became warm and muggy, and the woman next to me coughed and breathed out contagion throughout the night. How many of us will get sick over the next few days?
After that experience, I was wary of finding myself in a similar predicament tonight. I checked out the first albergue, and almost stayed, for there was only one person there. But it was a gloomy place. I pushed on and found the Albergue San Pelayo, a large ranch-like building with lots of room to sit down and relax. I am alone in a twelve-bed dorm. Excellent meal. Tomorrow, it is only a short hop into Leon, where I have booked a hotel.