Monday, May 24, 2010

Hontanas - ...thankfully got my head back.....

I´m actually in Hontanas, 21km into the Meseta. For all of you who are wondering what that is, it´s a stretch of highlands, a million miles removed from the scottish highlands. It´s all flat, straight, wheatfields, no shadow, no trees, sun blazing down, quite an experience. And one I was really afraid of! As I can´t sweat (yea, well, that´s just the way I´m born, and normally it´s a pretty good thing), I tend to just get hotter and hotter, until I eventually faint. So the idea to walk through a kinda hot desert type of lanscape is a bit unnerving. And yesterday, ooooh......, yesterday........, don´t talk to me! I have to go back a bit: Burgos is BEAUTIFUL!! An amazing city, the little Paris of Spain is what sprung to my mind. And so, after the night in the 5-star-albergue, I got myself a nice little room for two nights in the centre to be able to appreciate the place. And to do some medical work on my feet...; I suddenly realised I couldn´t really see my ankles any more - aaah, so that was the reason for my throbbing feet at night: I have an inflammation of the achilles tendance! I feel I´m quickly becoming a wandering pharmacy for feet problems ;) So most of friday was spent first washing clothes, then shopping. I was out of most of my every day items: shampoo, soap, creme etc. I also needed a card reader (since most PCs don´t have one, or it doesn´t function) which proved quite difficult - and expensive in the end. I bought another USB stick for good measure as well. So in the end I had wandered all over the place but not really seen anything. Still, it was fun, Burgos is well worth a visit, and I will have to come back for a proper weeks holiday! (Wink, wink at Gary!) The next day I looked at a couple of things, most of all the cathedral, which I can´t even begin to describe here. But(!), I bought a book, so you´re all welcome to have a look at it. The cathedral is unreal! It took me 2 hours to walk through it, an amazing place. More of a museum of lots and lots of chapels, one more precious then the next, and art than a church. Very. Impressive. The evening found me in an internet cafe, where I struggled with my new card reader. Next to me sat a guy from the Netherlands, his name being Ron (Jacobus his second name, it´s true!), who´d just lost most of his photos on the computer. Our struggles got us talking and after he´d recovered his pics with the help of the very nice bloke who ran the internet cafe/ bar/ theatre, Ron tried to help me get my card reader going. He´d also bought one today, which worked perfectly. In the end he offered to sell his to me, but then he discovered that his photo card was different to mine - and worked perfectly on my reader! So, we switched the readers! What a coincidence! In the meantime a magic show had started which wasn´t just good but also hilariously funny. We drank wine and ate tapas, and drank more wine, and more wine, wine, wine, wi........ I was in bits the next morning! Couldn´t even have breakfast! My tummy rejected everything, my head was throbbing (despite some paracetamol I took). At 12 I eventually took off. The backpack hadn´t felt that heavy, ever! My head couldn´t get in touch with my feet, who were constantly signalling, but couldn´t get through that muddy cloud which seemed to surround me. I dragged myself out of Burgos, into the intense heat and onto a dusty gravel path. Constantly yawning, taking more paracetamol (no effect), cursing myself and taking loads of little breaks, after each of which my backpack felt even heavier. My head was truly gone, lost somewhere, left in Burgos perhaps.... My feet were lost without my head and the rest of my body was revolting. The heat was incredible! And neither shadow nor wind anywhere. I had planned on doing about 21km that day, after 11.1km I reached Tardajos. At this point I was sure I needed a wheelchair for the rest of my life and had to finish my Camino. So I checked into the albergue there and slept like a dead person vom 3pm until after 6pm without waking up once. Then I dragged myself to the one little shop in this tiny village, where in the main square a big stage was being erected for a nightly music performance and all round celebration of Pentecost (Pfingsten), bought some lunch, ignored all the festivity and fell asleep again despite the loud singing and hollering which travelled through the window (pink earplugs! Did I mention them before?!). And so, this morning, surprise(!), I was a new woman! My head has made it out from Burgos and has joined forces again with the rest of my body. I was a normal "peregrina" again, and set off in the direction Hontanas, which lies in the Meseta. Lucky for me a little wind walked with me, the morning wasn´t too hot yet, I found a lovely breakfast in the next village and headed, quite with a spring in my steps, into the dreaded Meseta. And then I had another encounter with a guardian angel: a while into the meseta - and you have to imagine a path in the heat, that stretches on and on and on without any mercy, shadow or water, a guy wasabout to overtake me. We started talking, his name was Paco, from Mexico. And now a bit of information which I´m sure none of you know: "Paco" is the short form for Francisco! As St. Francisco is known as "PAdre COmmunitas". Yes, you´ll learn somthing here :)) Paco will fly to Dublin after he finishes the Camino and live there for a year. Soon we were yapping and yapping. He was really easy to talk to and we yapped and laughed away while the road flew away under our feet. And the, suddenly, there below the level of the Camino, appeared Hontanas, quite unexpectatly. I was there, I braved the first bit of the Meseta, and it wasn´t that hard! Course, everyone else was complaining how tough that last bit was, and I didn´t even know what they meant with "the last bit"! Paco will leave early tomorrow morning, and I will most certainly be again the very last, so I´m loosing him like I lost a couple of other nice people before. But we´ll hook up in Dublin, what´s email for? But thanks to him, I´m now not afraid of the way to come. Hontanas is a really lovely looking, little village. Dusty, houses built with big blocks of sandstone, small streets, it feels like I´m in some Western set in Mexico, it´s so different to everything I know. I can´t believe the many contrasting landscapes I´ve walked through so far! As always, there´s people queuing up behind me, so I´ll better hand the PC over. Til the next time! X

1 comment:

  1. Hey Aenna,I feel guilty in admitting I've just picked up your trail but have attoned for it by reading the whole lot at once. What a trooper you are. It all sounds amazing and would love to do it myself if it wasn't for all the walking. With you in spirit. David