CASTROJEREZ to FROMISTA — 16.6 Miles
After a fairly good nights sleep I woke up knowing that today would be horrible. I knew there was going to be a huge mountain to climb shortly after I started out. On the topography map it looked like an upward spike on an EKG. Ugly! My legs were so sore that I knew I’d have to take it more easily, but this mountain! I decided to skip breakfast because I was anxious to get started and get this mountain over and done with. Dick and I said our goodbyes and he chose not to walk me up the street. It was a long way out of this 900 person town.
As I was passing by this fountain I was getting annoyed because there was another Trekker behind me and all I could hear were his obnoxious trekking poles going click clack, click clack on the cobble stone road. As I approached other Trekkers it was even worse because they all had poles. That constant click clack sound was more than I could take. So I walked fast and passed them all so I could have some peace and quiet. I could see the mountain looming ahead of me and knew it was almost 3000 feet high. The good thing was that the path didn’t go straight up, it went at an angle. See it snaking across the mountain?
It was a good 2 miles before I reached it’s base and started the upward climb. I decided all I had to do was take 20 steps, then rest, then take another 20 steps and rest and on and on. And that’s what I did. The funny thing was, all the while I was doing that I couldn’t catch my breathe, my heart was pounding in my ears, I wanted to rip my backpack off and all the Trekkers with those dang poles were passing me! I finally made it to the top and there was a little rest area there but it sounded like someone was throwing up behind it so I snapped a couple of quick photos and walked on.
This is the view from the top. Castrojerez, the town where I started is way off in the distance at the foot of that little mountain.
I started going down the other side and it was really steep even though it doesn’t look like it in the photo. It had been paved with cement and I had to take small steps and walk pretty slowly.
A little farther up the path I stopped at a rest area for a 5 minute break and to eat some trail mix.
The path had leveled out and I was surrounded by lush green farmland. I was feeling pretty good by this time because I knew I’d conquered “Mt Everest” and I was still alive!
After I’d walked about 6 miles I was needing a longer rest and some lady standing in the middle of the road gave me a flyer advertising a Bar (restaurant) just up the road so I decided I’d stop there for a coffee. I entered the little village and was going to look for the Bar but I came to a fork in the road and didn’t know which way to go. Just then a woman came up behind me and said she saw a little arrow going left. We immediately started talking and realized we walked at the same speed. She had short gray hair, was from Australia and her name was Debbie. She was so funny and so interesting that when we came to the little Bar where I wanted to stop, I passed it right up so I could keep walking with her. Debbie had 7 children, a knee replacement and was doing the Camino for the second time. She was with her husband and daughter, and they all walked at different speeds and therefore didn’t walk together. Each day they had their bags shipped to the next stop so they only carried day packs. We laughed and talked for the next 8 miles and the time flew by. We stopped for a cafe con leche and not long after we sat down Debbie’s husband walked in. We chatted for a while and then we all got back to walking.
Just before reaching Fromista we came upon an 18th Century Canal with a little system of locks. Back then it was designed to provide transportation of crops and power to turn the corn mills. Today it is simply used for irrigation.
When we entered Fromista there was Dick sitting in the car at the side of the road. He knew I wouldn’t be able to find our hotel. I said good bye to Debbie and Dick drove me a few blocks down a different road to our hotel. I was immediately sorry I hadn’t gotten any contact information from her.
We checked into the Hostal Camino de Santiago which was another restored old place with darling rooms.
I had to admit that I had really overdone it today. My upper legs and hips were so sore it hurt to walk. But we did go out to explore this little town and stop for drinks.
Later we were walking around again, looking for a place to eat dinner when I heard someone calling my name. It was Debbie. She and her husband and daughter were all sitting outside at a little cafe. We were so elated to see each other again and the first thing I did was to get her contact info and tell her I hoped we would run into each other again on the Camino.
And by the way, when I walked all those miles with Debbie she used trekking poles the whole time!