We have seen improving weather as we moved along from Mérida. The heavier rains of the past became more like heavy mists that eventually cleared off completely as we approached Aldea del Cano. The pilgrim road still remains very quiet. The only other pilgrim we encountered was a Korean cyclist heading for Santiago. Robin had a chat with him this morning over coffee and tostadas. He was quite happy to be alone after much busier times on the Frances and Norte.
The trail conditions have also been quite good after Mérida. The Camino, in this section has followed multi use paved trails, quiet rural secondary roads and senda type (compacted sand and gravel) surfaces. All of this provided for much drier walking conditions as the drainage is much improved. There were still some puddles to navigate around, but workarounds were always available. A nice touch was the addition of stacked granite blocks in several locations that would provide dry crossings for some potentially swollen streams. Some more of these would also be welcomed further back at earlier arroyo crossings.
We continue to find lodging at hotels and Casa Rurals (B&B’s), although albergues seem to be open for business in the towns we have visited. I am pleased to report that my knee issue seems to have abated. I only get the occasional twinge but that is normal for me even when walking at home. One thing that is clearly apparent is that all our body parts wear out and some of mine are reminding me of that truism. A day of reckoning is certainly approaching when we, like everyone else, will not be able to walk the mile and carry the load. Something will have to give. But, for now Robin and I stay afoot mostly by managing our daily distances, pack weight, and taking more frequent rest days. So far these accommodations have not crimped our style and seem to help out. We are still happy pilgrims enjoying the many gifts of the road to Santiago. This is where we want to be. All is well.
A late note today. We have just learned of the return of a dear friend’s cancer. We are sitting in a bar on the Plaza Mayor, watching the shadows slowly displace the afternoon light. We are adrift in a sepulchral moment of stillness. We are not only tossing about our personal thoughts of mortality, and loss, but more importantly trying to tease out how our humanity likes us all together. A single loss does, I believe, diminish us all. We pray for all the afflicted, both friends and strangers alike, especially those who are facing the unimaginable challenges of serious illness alone. Yet, even with heavy hearts we carry on, as it should, and must be, not out of a misguided sentimentality, but rather with certainty that our paths are conjoined and our destinies shared. The pilgrim road reaches beyond Santiago, and the footfalls you hear are your own. Safe travels to all.
Village of Casas de Don Antonio on the way to Aldea del Cano