Friday, 23 September 2011
Camino de Santiago -- first few days
It's been 5 days since the start of the walk, in a little city called Estella, or stars in Spanish. Everything hurts, my feet, legs, arms and hips, back, toes and hands too. I'm starting to get into the rhythm of the day though: waking up at 6, 6:30, a quick breakfast, pack, and it's time to walk before the day breaks. I love walking in the morning. The air is fresher, and the backpack seems to be lighter. You forget how difficult it was the last day, and look forward to the next place you'll be. Once we being, it's about anotherv6-8 hours before we reach the next town, with a few small breaks in between. By the time you're done, it's about 2, 3 in the afternoon, reaching the albergue hot, tired. Almost everyday, I'm completely speechless and all I concentrate on peeling the backpack off my back. There's a few spare hours in the day, to make purchases for food for the next day, and time for dinner.
Most days, I'm walking with an Italian doctor, Miriam, whom I met on the first day after I twisted my ankle (mum, you don't need to worry now!) I soon find myself in the company of a large group. There's an old priest, who is really fit and sporty. He was once on an assignment for the Pope. There's the father and young daughter who also walks with the priest. Then there's the fit Italian couple, both with very short hair, and also a young man, who is taking a break from work. I've been cooked lovely Italian dinners every night, with beer, wine and bread. Some of them are from Piedmont and villages around that region! Who would have thought?!?
Mariam is keen mountain walker and know the plants well. Everytime we walk past a fig tree, she would pick a few ripe ones. We would eat and each one, I am completely amazed at how they taste. Sweet like nectar and juicy with little seeds. We've also found almonds from trees that taste like bitter amaretti oh and walnuts too! It's wonderful.
Just one more photo -- from the first day of the walk, on the French side. This was the first of many many long hills we walked that day.