A Very Windy Place

First things first: I wanted to mention something that embodies the Camino spirit that I saw yesterday after arriving in Leon. I bumped into Francisco, the Youtuber from Almería, in a coffee shop. He was buying a coffee and pastry for some poor soul who obviously did not have the means to pay for it himself. He did it selflessly without drawing attention to himself. I now feel obliged to do a good turn myself. And so should you.

Lisa is taking a well- deserved day off today, so I set out early in the morning and played Camino hash: trying to find the path out of town. It is a little more difficult in the darkness of the early morning and there were not many peregrinos out that early. I figure Google-mapping is cheating, worthy of a serious offense if this were the HHH hash. Asking a local is a minor infraction at worst. I made my way out of town and just prior to leaving Leon’s city limits, I came across a small stand set up for serving hot coffee, bananas and other refreshments to pilgrims. All for the price of a donation. I had a coffee and took a banana and a delicious bar of dark chocolate. “Is it always this cold at this time of year?” I asked man running the stand. “No,” he replied, “it is usually colder!”

As I left the stand, it got colder, mainly because of a biting wind which grew stronger with every step away from Leon. I entered Virgen del Camino and found the alternative route I planned to take. The normal Camino runs alongside a major highway; the alternative goes through the countryside, first going south, then west and finally north, transecting the avoided highway and into Hospital del Orbigo where my hotel was.

I had a nice cafe cortado and piece of homemade cake in Virgen del Camino and soon after I was in the countryside as the sun came up, promising a nice day – and some warmth.
The sun could not penetrate the thick cirrus clouds and the wind blew constantly out of the mountainous north. A dozen wind turbines with Jack’s batteries could have powered Leon for a month.
I came across this interesting structure exhibiting some truly Gaudí lines. It was billed as a Pilgrim’s Oasis. I am not sure if it was meant to be a bathroom for women, something that women will tell you is sorely missing from the Camino (has not been a problem for me!). I did not go in to investigate
And so on I walked – and walked and walked in this windy high ground. I did not walk 25 miles, but it was more than 20! Note there are no shadows. The sun was stuck behind the thick layer of clouds.
What a sight for sore feet. I followed the arrows which actually took me off the Camino but led to a bar where I had my breakfast: cafe con leche and a slice of tortilla. Then I was back on the windy way.
The sun came out about noon so thought I would cool off my feet. I was feeling some hotspots and wanted to avoid blisters. I have taken to wearing knee-length compression stockings (with wool socks on outside) to help my feet but they are not the best for preventing blisters.
I came across this monster blocking my path. This machine harvests the sunflowers.

The last hour always seems the longest, whether you target a four hour day or, like today, an 8 hour day. And then the last 1.5 km seems interminable! But before you can say “Hotel Don Suero de los Quiñones” you are there, checked in, showered and sipping a beer or a vino tinto. I was really looking forward to a gin and tonic, but it is too dang windy!

Judging from the menus dangling in front of a few establishments, sopa de trucha (trout soup) seems to be a local specialty. I was hoping to be sipping a piping hot sopa de trucha, but it is not served until 7 pm. Right now it is 6:15. It is only going to taste better!

A note on my feet: the swelling has subsided in my right foot, ankle and lower shin. Still tender in a few spots. My left ankle still gets sore as the day wears on; but I have some damaged tendons in my arch (from wear and tear over the years) which cannot be repaired out here. I have rubbed Voltaren on both feet every morning and most evenings for the last 3 days and have been wearing compression stockings. I also rub Aquafor on the soles of my feet and between my toes. As mentioned above, the stockings change the dynamic of my foot rubbing my shoe and both feet have hotspots. Tomorrow I will change to Aquafor, wool socks and sandals. I have a short day tomorrow: about 3 hours.

Okay, time for another vino tinto and my soup should be ready soon!

What the heck! Spanish gin, by the way.

4 thoughts on “A Very Windy Place

  1. I am enjoying your posts so very much. You are an amazing story teller and photographer! Thank you so much for letting me follow along on your incredible adventure.


  2. We’ll you sure know how to put the Good in Goodness… love that you are on this physical meditation, and stay ahead of those blisters as you take care of others! And yes, keep wondering about ‘stops’ for Paula when she joins you. Jim!!! This is Amazing!!!! So so happy you are sharing your journey. I feel the awakening of senses all the way over here!


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