Day 14. Changing Gears

I am sitting in my little casita, a rural cabin in the tiny crossroad of La Franca, but I might as well be in Thailand or Singapore during a tropical downpour kicked off with lightning and thunder. I am glad I am not out hiking in the deluge, but it is a good sign. This is, after all, the end of Week 2 on the Camino, and a time for changing gears. First, my walking companion Peter is by now in safe harbor in Solana Beach. Walking solo puts one in a very different mindset. For example, I no longer book rooms days ahead, but instead the day of. I have more time to myself, which I am putting into the mental preparation for the Primitivo. The Norte has ascents of 300-500 meters. The Primitivo has ascents of 600-900 meters. The Norte is along the coast with plenty of lodging, food and other facilities. The Primitivo has a few alberges strategically located every 15 or so miles. But I paint a bleak picture. It will be challenging but exhilarating. The ascents and especially the descents will be tough, but the vistas and the people will be amazing.

The Spaniards say March and May exchanged places. March was hot and dry: May has been cold and very wet. I have been lucky to miss the worst of the weather.

Before continuing, it is time for congratulations: to my sister Colleen whose birthday is May 15 and to Jack whose birthday is tomorrow, May 26. And to all you others who may be celebrating: be safe and responsible. Okay, have a little fun, too!

Today I had an earlier start and the arrows led me through nice countryside and eventually to the coast at Oyambre beach, then inland for a bit, until I got close to San Vicente de La Barquera. There, a long and wide sandy beach opened up. I notice ed a pilgrim leave the waymarked trail and go down to the beach and remove his sandals. It was Oliver, a German from near Düsseldorf who smokes too much, but I followed go down, took off my shoes and socks and walked half a mile along the beach.

It felt good to dig my toes onto the sand and give my feet a cold batch in the Bay of Biscay.

We walked into San Vicente and spotted the bus station. Bus stations always have good coffee so we stopped for a while. Oliver went into town in search of smokes while I worked on where to spend the night. Then it was back on the trail which led through some nice forested areas.

The sun was shining the whole day and after an 18-mile day, I reached my casita in La Franca. The last portion of the trail I hiked with a Frenchman who spoke English but no Spanish. He was with an American who was trying to learn Spanish. So they made an interesting pair. The American is on a one year visa to live in Spain, where he plans to move. He is checking out all the different regions of Spain

This fellow is a farmer I stopped and talked with. He was on his way to till a plot for planting corn and beans. He explained how he prepared the soil. Yesterday, I saw another farmer who was planting seedlings. “Que sembras?” “Lechuga. Mucho lechuga”. “Mucha ensalada!”.
Picture of George, the Swiss who lives in London, taken several days ago. His sketch of the rocks was pretty good!

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