One Hot Spanish Summer

 

A wiser person will definitely avoid this time of the year to walk this part of the Camino from Logrono to Leon when temperatures hit 40 degrees at mid-day and dip to below 10 when millions of stars shine on wide open plains.

For eight days I crossed the Meseta, Spain’s high central plateau which my guide book warns of long monotonous walks with no shade and drinking fonts, and “you will encounter no asphalt roads, no sendas, no bridges and no metal signposts. You will pass through no towns, no village, no farmyard and see no houses.

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But it was too late to turn back – just like my first and my second Camino stages when I knew no better than to carry my backpack to walk for days. Makes me wonder how I often get into situations like these and actually survived.

There were many moments of weakness and fatigue, with passing encounters of fear during endless stretches with not a single person in front and behind as far as the eye could see – just dry fields around and a dirt track that supposedly lead to the promised refuge.

Now that I get the worst part of the way in this post, I must say that every night I felt so grateful for a beautiful day and look forward to walk again the next morning.

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Sounds crazy right? Yes it is but all the craziness was worth the experience of walking in early mornings on paths lit only by stars as the sun softly rise to show the new day, smelling fresh earth, passing sunflower fields, being part of the past in the present, leaving footprints from a distant land, sharing slices of time with people you may never meet again and most of all, feeling free of any form of social expectations – just a passer-by incognito.

After two weeks of roughing it out as a pilgrim, it was time for a little indulgence in the northern coast lining the Bay of Biscay. There are hundreds of miles of beaches in Spain and one just have to pick a province, a town and a beach to have a good time.

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Not much of a foodie but I must admit I enjoyed the amazing cuisine and probably over-ate and over-drank that for a few days I was feeling palpitations.

Or perhaps it could be due a day of hiking the Picos de Europa through pastures with free roaming cows and winding rocky faces complete with those incredible goats that climb so high just to chomp on random plants.

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Now several shades darker and thank goodness my heart is back to normal beat, it is time to get into routine and get ready for my Spanish classes.

Eh .. maybe after this week’s fiesta .. after all the best way to learn a language is to immerse in her culture and people.

¡Hasta luego!

Joan Yap

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