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Sunday, 3 July 2016

A hot 40K on a Sunday

Sorry that there was no blog yesterday but I was unable to get any wifi signal either in the hotel or anywhere else in Fraga. Suffice to say that yesterday was very hot and we finished in Fraga. Today, because of the heat, we left our hotel at 6.30am and started on the long 40k walk to Lleida. The first four kilometres from the town was a murderous climb out of the valley that not only tested legs and lungs but also mental strength and even though it was early morning it sure did bring the colour to your cheeks. Once over the top we had a pleasant country lane walk for several kilometres and were able to enjoy watching the early morning wildlife come awake. The wall of a small stream was the setting for our breakfast of crusty baps with dry cured ham and cheese, all washed down with bottled water. This was perfect as we enjoyed the birdsong, the gushing waters of the stream, the scampering of nearby rabbits and the general country environment. Breakfast over we set of on our way and were soon out of the rural setting and walking through an industrial estate. This might give a grimmer image than it was in reality. With it being Sunday everything was closed and we almost had the wide tree lined roads to ourselves except that is for the hundreds of rabbits that had come out to play. Leaving the industrial zone behind we were on a dusty path walking through orchards of peaches, nectarines and pears. This really is the fruit basket of Spain and it was a pity that none were ripe enough to pluck and eat. The only disappointment was that the planned coffee break in Cami Real didn't happen because there was nothing there so we continued amongst the ladened fruit trees until we arrived at the quite sizeable town of Alcarras. The town had the customary large church so we entered to get our Camino stamp and were greated by a very large, friendly priest who was extremely proud of their quite elaborate stamp. A bottle of coke, an iced lolly, and we were walking again. The next part to Butsenit was a colourful tree lined path which ran parallel to the river and we were entertained by the antics of storks and other birds as they spent their Sunday afternoon playing on the river. We then had the pleasurable experience of walking through apple orchards with green and red fruit dangling from the branches but again to small and unripe to eat. Even though it was extremely hot there was a pleasant breeze coming off the river and some cover from the trees that made walking  bearable and our pace was such that we seemed to be eating up the kilometres, that is until we saw our final destination, Lleida, in the distance and were informed on a sign that we had 7K to go. That 7K and the rest of the distance it took to walk through the city to our hotel could not be described in print. I will just say that it was exhausted, tired, frustrated and yes angry walkers who arrived at the door of the Zenith Hotel. Why do these paths go round in circles at the finish? This is the ongoing saga of Camino towns that seem to get further away as you walk towards them. Anyway after showering, changing into dry clothes we were ready to explore the town. It amazing after such a hard physical ordeal how quickly you recover. Mind you stiffness and soreness could be another story tomorrow.

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