Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Alcuescar to Caseras - 701kms to go

Scroll down for day one.

With the length of this route I know that my feet are going to suffer, particularly the soft pad behind the toes. I have a decent pair of walking boots but on a considerable portion of the trail there are rough irregular stones that go on for miles which means you are always searching for the best part of the track. Often there is none which mean my feet burn which makes me irritable which meanI get really teed off when I'm trying to get to sleep and the chap in the next room falls asleep with his television on which happened in Merida. 2am and some idiot from Dallas speaking in Spanish was trying to buy a ranch, I think. I got out my list of Spanish swear words, banged on his door and said a few. There was a grunt and snort, like a pig troughing. The TV went off and Mr Idiot and me went back to sleep.

There was also the case of the dripping water bottle. I could feel the water dripping down my leg, I had put the cap,on skew whiff. Not a problem, except that it had drenched a book that contains all the distances between towns and daily lodgings. (Not that I can add them up as I've proved. Did you know I once made a chair that ended up as a milking stool for a cow with very long udders.). 

Needless to say the pages were stuck together and needless to say the last thing you do is try to pull them apart. I walked with the book for hours waving it in the sun. I think, I have got away with it as only the first few pages are gone.

I am staying tonight in a building that I think used to be a convent but has been converted for the use of pilgrims. Back to dormitory living again but payment. Including evening meal is by donation so it's worth giving generously or the place simply would not exist. 

One is also,expected to attend evening mass before the meal but that's no hardship. I could do with a bit of saving. I have no idea if anyone will be listening but I will say a few words for a good friend who has survived 20 months longer than his consultant said he was going to. So maybe we can get another long extension to that.

It was also very moving in that most of the men here are elderly and mentally and physically disabled, but the way they treated receiving the sacrament obviously meant very much to them. I'm glad I went.

am writing this in a cafe and I see that they are about to show bullfighting on the TV. Still very popular here. I think it's time for me to leave and get some washing done.

The evening meal was part of the donation and was pasta, soup, two types of meat and apples. I don't know how they do it but it was rustic and the company was good with numerous nationalities represented. We all pitched in to clear the tables and then, with the door being locked at 9 pm, it was time for bed.

The bunk beds were of the ex-prison type and the mattresses were old yellowing foam held in place by  rusting cross wiring. A rather large man climbed into the top bunk and his mattress gradually sunk towards me. Eventually it stopped within shoulder turning range. I just hoped he didn't suffer from a windy bottom. 

Now one is expected to put up,with a little snoring but one guy who had secreted himself into a corner obviously knowing what he was like set the room shaking. No one slept. Someone kicked his bed and he just grunted. It was if he was giving birth to something that was not human. Several people upped sticks and took themselves elsewhere, I was about to then fell asleep. In the morning I saw several people watching to see which way he went.

I had also given birth, to my first blister, and it had to be on the outside at the rear of my left ankle where I simply couldn't reach because of my dicky knee. I got my plaster out and leant against the toilet wall, gradually sliding down it like a drunk whose lampost has just moved. A lady cleaning her teeth took the plaster from me and gently smoothed it into place. I expected her then to collect her harp and fly away, but she returned to cleaning her teeth and I made my way out. The guy running the  hostel was a large, avuncular man and  had a beard a stork could nest in. He shook our hand as we left and wished us Buen. Camino, it was all very civilised.

The first 10kms was along a rough track, and as I reached the first village I saw a sign indicating that it was 29kms to Caceras. I also saw a stork nesting nearby. 

The marked way was along a rough track that shadowed the road. The road was in good condition and had a hard shoulder about a metre wide, but only a fool would take it. I took the road.

Around lunch time I went into a shop to buy some lunch in a village close to the road. It was a small shop in a small village. The shop was about the size of a Victorian hallway and stacked with very little. I have demolished the shelving in this type of shop before so left my rucksack outside before coming away with a tiin of lentils in choritzo sauce and some milk fruit pots. I also had  a thee day old banana I found at the bottom of my sac it all formed a splendid repast. Although I did forget that lentils do have a habit of making their presence known so it was a somewhat windy afternoon.

I made Caceras by 3.30pm. The tepreature guage outside a pharmacy read 38c. It was in full sun as I had been, the pharmacy in the shade registered 27c. No wounder I was rocking a bit. I found a hotel at a reasonable price. I wanted to stay here for a couple of days but I could only stay at this hotel for one night, it is the weekend and beds are few. I booked in and decided to move on tomorrow.

I returned to my room, threw my clothes into the bathnand jumped in with them. Then we both washed ourselves clean. 

From now until Salamanca it is simply a head down and get on with it walk with nothing of interest in between, so I will be posting again in about a week.

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