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And I just sat down to a fantastic Brazilian meal.

I´d forgotten about the yellow path that sits alongside the road. I´m not a big fan of tarmac these days ( although it was raining today so I was at least a little grateful that I wasn´t wading through mud).

The scenery is fantastic, a little like New Zealand.
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I decided to give myself a little bit of a holiday when I realised that I´d gone for 5 weeks and 700 kilometres without a day off (I´ve done some very very short days though). So I´m taking a few days off in a place where I don´t feel the urge to rush out and do things so I can get enough sleep and give my body a chance to rest before I make a push for the final 200.

I´m also thinking that Finisterre might be best visited by Bus.

There´s nothing physically wrong with me other than feeling a little tired.

It´s actually kind of a guilty pleasure watching all of the other pilgrims go past though.
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And kind of tired. The mountain crossing went ok except for some mist that hung round til after I´d got to the Cruz de Ferro.

I got to the confraternity a little late so I wound up staying at the Pilar albergue instead (god that woman works hard)

When the mists cleared the mountain scenery was stunning. El Acebo seemed a lot more touristy this time ( although that may just have been due to the bus-pilgtims´bus trying to squeeze throught the streets). Stayed in the new private albergue in molinaseca last night which is lovely.

Ponferrada was as poluted and castlish as ever. The albergue at cacabelos was reported dirty and it kind of is but it´s worth it not to have bunk beds.

Not sure where I´ll be tomorrow.
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And pretty beat after a 33k day. There was jousting over the Hospital de Orbigo bridge, the occasional singing of wizard of Oz songs and general craziness. We are all sore and tired and we made up for it by going out to Restaraunt Gaudi and having a meal where the table cloths were made of something other than paper.

The scenery has changed to greenery and we´re finally off the meseta!

The Cathedral looks wonderful lit up at night
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And heading out.

I made my 12k walk in, admired the Cathedral and then found that almost everyone I knew was in Leòn and staying the night. So I decided it was fate and got a hotel room, the first I´ve had so far.

The Cathedral was all restrained elegance and the city centre had a much more liveable feel than Burgos (as well as having kebabs!).

I´ve now been walking for 4 weeks and I´ve covered over 500k. I´m well past the point where I got sick last time which feels oddly triumphal.

I didn´t hate the meseta this time although I could have done without the rain.

Looking forward to the crazy castle in Astorga.
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So it stopped raining and I thought why not keep right on walking to the next place. I am in the Albergue San Pelayo and they have a fire, hot water, only one other pilgrim and a drier!!!

I am feeling a lot more content with my lot and on top of all that I have only 12k into Leon tommorow, I dont know whether I will stay there or not but it is certainly tempting.

My shoes are stuffed with paper and all of my damp stuff is being washed and dried.

The slight formality of this post is due to the fact that I can not get the apostrophe key to work (usually on Spanish keyboards the apostrophe appears after you hit the next key but this one seems to be broken). I like the effect, gives it a sort of Commander Data feel.

(considerably more happy)
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and very very very damp, first day of rain, I totally could have done without that. I was planning to go on another 6k but I´m so wet I think I might go about tracking down the albergue.

scenery was rain and fields and flat and brown and grey.

Beginning to wish that I´d taken the train again...

In Sahagun

Oct. 5th, 2008 02:39 pm
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And feeling a little tired despite last night´s good sleep and a short walk. I had the good luck to meet Rebekah who blogs from moratinos who was out walking her dogs. I felt really awkward about saying hello (I´ve read your blog seems like a terrible way of introducing yourself) but she was nice about it.

I´m still not sick and I think subconciously I was expecting to be.

Tonight I am going to launder everything I own, cook dinner and get an early night. Maybe the short day will give me enough energy to get accross the 20-30k stretch tomorrow.

Scenery continues brown and fieldlike.
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And still not sick.

Today I was expecting awfulness, there´s a 17.5 k stretch of nothing...lots of rocks, the saving factor was the fact that it was cold this time around. I decided I had a little more in me and then when I heard there were single rooms going here I decided that I had another 9k in me. I shelled out 25€ (more than I´ve paid for any other bed on the Camino so far).

I´ve got my own bathroom!!!
There is no snoring!!!!!!!!

I need the sleep.

I´d love to give an interesting description of the scenery but rocks,the occasional tree, fields and sky pretty much cover it.
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And drinking bottled water!

I´m really not hating the Meseta this time around. I found the 20k walk in today to be relatively mild which gives me hope for tomorrow. The flat yellow fields look a lot better in the Autumn chill under a perfect blue sky.

I´m walking with a fantastic group of people and just generally enjoying taking it a little slower this time around.

I´m staying in a nunnery which seems really lovely and has luxurious bathrooms.

Most importantly...I´m not puking, this is a good thing

In Fromista

Oct. 2nd, 2008 02:06 pm
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And having a short 14k day after yesterday´s effort. I loved the albergue last night and it felt very luxurious to break off the Camino at 12. I´m sure I remember the canals looking more interesting last time.

Last time I was here there was a group of three hungry kittens outside the supermercado, I´m pretty sure I saw two of them now full grown begging for food this morning which makes me happy.

In Itero

Oct. 1st, 2008 08:24 pm
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And having done 30 kilometers today...feeling pretty smug.

First Burgos, the Cathedral is beyond wonderful, I think people are right and that it does top Notre Dame in Paris. The albergue was fantastic and the walk out of Burgos was so much nicer than the walk in (it reminds me a little of Christchurch with all of the tree lined avenues).

There was a stork on top of an arch near the cathedral so I went photo crazy.

The Camino is possibly the only place where construction workers yelling at you from scaffolding is a good thing (an arrow had rubbed off of a tree and I was about to miss a turnoff).

I stayed that night in Hornillos which has improved markedly over the last time I stayed there.

Today I was planning to stay in Castorojeriz but I found that the albergue I stayed in last time was closed and that I didn´t like the look of the others at all (they even banned charging things off of their power supply) so I walked in a sulk. I stopped for a sit down in San Nicholas but unfortunately they´re conducting repairs so I couldn´t stay. I did get an apple from them though and some water which was lovely.

I walked on for another kilometer over the Meseta to Itero where I found a wonderful nearly empty albergue with the best menu del dia that I´ve had on the Camino so far.

I hope 30k doesn´t knock me out as badly this time but even if it does I´m glad I did it once.

I´m not hating the Meseta quite so much this time but it´s early days yet.

Oooh and also today I ran accross some proto pilgrims who were let off their bus near Hontanas and then scooped up again in the ruins of San Anton after a hearty lunch of sausages from their personal chef. I can´t help but think that they´re missing some of the best parts of the camino by only doing tiny pieces of it. Still I hope they get something out of it. It certainly felt surreal to be flooded with new faces attached to cameras.

In Burgos

Sep. 29th, 2008 04:01 pm
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And feeling terribly smug. In terms of albergues Burgos has always been a bit lacking, the municipal albergue Paral was some huts on the far outskirts of town and most people had to get buses back to get any kind of a look at the Cathedral.

Paral has closed and there´s now a new (as in opened in August) municipal albergue just round the corner from the Cathedral. In terms of albergues it´s positively palacial, clean,shiny,personal lights and plugs on each bunk thick mattresses...lifts!!! This is better than some hotels and it´s only 3€.

This place is so new that it´s not even in the guide books, I only knew to look for it because of the Atapuerca albergue having a notice about Paral closing.

It came as a huge relief because the walk into Burgos is not a lot of fun (every time I think I´m going to catch the bus in and every time I stupidly keep on trudging). There´s really not a lot to say about it other than the 18K felt longer and more wearying than the 25 odd k yesterday.

Anyhow I should get going because the smell of fresh paint is making me a little woozy.
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And feeling pretty triumphant, I´m sure I remember the Montes de Oca being harder than that.

Tosantos last night was wonderful, the two hospitaleros were absolutely fantastic and I left this morning feeling as if I´d actually slept (they even had mint tea!!!). Both Tosantos and grañon always seem to make me happy.

I´m in part of the cradle of civilisation, where numerous stone age relics were found, unfortunately I´m a little late to view them, still it does make one think about the Camino and how long there have been humans along this route.

I´m really not feeling the 24 odd kilometers I did today, which is a good sign because I can remember this part knocking me out last time.

Love you all

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Grañon was amazing as per usual, I completely lost the morning grumpiness that has been following me every morning for the last few days and even the ice cold shower (their hot water tank was broken) couldn´t jolt me out of a feeling of general well being.

I sort of felt like I´d already seen Santo Domingo and that I didn´t need to see it again so I wandered through it just reading the signs.
The scenery now has switched from the vineyards of Rioja to the wheat and straw of Castille and Leon.

There´s a real autmn chill in the air now which makes for great walking, as we came into Belorado we saw a gorgeous wedding (and adverts for something like 3 different Albergues, they´re really desperate for people here).

I´ve also met some fellow New Zealanders which is cool, we discussed bus cheese and how little of the rest of New Zealand we´ve visited.

In Azofra

Sep. 25th, 2008 04:49 pm
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And I honetly forgot that I´d stayed at this refugio before.

But the instant I saw the double rooms I remembered.

Looking forward to the lack of a room full of people getting up in the morning, this morning I swear I let off a death glare at the couple who switched on the lights at 6:30 (not that I wasn´t already awake but still I was enjoying a lie in and we didn´t have to leave until 8).

Najera was lovely except I didn´t see any storks this time.

Planning for Grañon tomorrow`possibly.
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And feeling a little low on energy. I´m not a huge fan of logroño ( despite the amazing church) and a lot of today was spent either walking into or out of that city.

I did see a squirrel jumping through the trees though, that was pretty cool (too quick to photograph though).

There were also sleeping swans and the occasional duck.

In Viana

Sep. 23rd, 2008 03:08 pm
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A slow easy 18k for me today which works out quite nicely. It´s a shame because a lot of my friends went on to Logroño.
I think I could have managed it but it would have been quite late out there.

The scenery round here looks very Spanish/ Greek, all olive groves and vineyards against stark grey soil.

This city is famous for Cesare Borgia being buried under a road here (although as oursonpolaire points out, the church recently dug him up and interred him properly in a church)

I can see the lights of Logroño in the distance and am quite happy to skip it this time around as I don´t remember liking it that much.

I think Navarette will be my next stop on this odd trip.
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And doing ok. 20 k days seem to be about my limit.

I got lucky with this stretch and it´s very very overcast so none of the horrendous heat I experienced last time I did this stretch.

Nothing much scenery wise ( I took a small drop of Irache wine but honestly didn´t want any more).

Looking forward to an 18K day tomorrow to Viana.

In Estella

Sep. 21st, 2008 03:43 pm
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And happy to be here, it´s really really hot outside and <i went very slowly for my last four k. The influx of pilgrims is a little bewildering but it is nice to talk English again. I´m going to try to keep to around 19-22k a day especially in this heat. Cirauqi was unfortunately covered in the remains of what was obviously a pretty vigorous fiesta (said remains including several drunk boys who didn´t want the party to end). It´s usually such a lovely little town... Estella seems a lot less crowded than I expected.
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