Monday, 26 April 2010

Camino: ¿por qué?

Since I was last able to sit at a computer, we have met a couple more "nationalities" - a Swede, and a man from Cape Town.  The question, "Why are you doing it?" is never far from my mind, even if not articulated.  The South African, a recently retired mining engineer, went to the trouble of making a Schengen Visa application in order to be able to fly into Madrid: he had picked up an Australian´s account of walking the Via de la Plata in his local library, and was taken with the challenge. No religious convictions there!

Most of those we have come across are of an age with us, perhaps a bit younger on average: are we all out to show there is a spark of life in us yet? That we are happy to substitute for the 9 to 5 life, a spell on the hallowed path from dawn to (Spanish) lunchtime, after which we collapse happily into siesta mode, before catching up with our emails in the local casa de cultura when it opens at 5?

Here we are now at the Northern extremity of Extremadura, which it has taken us more than a fortnight to cross. The villages are no longer dominated by white-painted houses: stone and adobe dwellings, with wooden first floor balconies, have replaced them.

From Carcaboso, we had our most lovely walk yet to the Arco de Cáparra - a Roman relic in the middle of nowhere. We waited (and waited) there, under the ancient arch, for a (hair-raising - when it came) lift from the owner of an off-Camino hostal. (Internot) Then, next morning, we followed blue (instead of our usual yellow) arrows to rejoin the Camino, to reach eventually the pretty little town of Aldeavueva del Camino. (Interneither - though lots of horrifying TV pictures of bull getting the better of bullfighter.) The snow-capped mountains lay ahead.

This morning, we had a shorter walk up here to Baños de Montemayor, which is at 700 metres - more climbing ahead of us! After some less than perfect nights´ sleep, we are comfortably ensconced here at Hotel Balneario, the heyday of which must have been about 1910. And we have been indulging ourselves most happily in the Roman baths next door. Very good for blisters!

1 comment:

Martin Stephen Williams said...

Martin there is a local joke about Aldeanueva del Camino. It's not an 'aldea' a village, it's definitely not 'nueva'(new),since its preroman in terms of its origin and its certainly not on the 'camino' road!