Who would have thought there would be canals and wild orchids growing on the canal banks? Everyday is different and brings us something new. Today was morning to evening sunshine with not a cloud in sight. It also got warm by mid-afternoon.
We had breakfast with the Spanish equivalent of the Wild Hogs. A geriatric group of spandex clad codgers who came from Valencia with their bikes. Quite a sight. Peggy was too embarrassed to ask for a photo. I think they would have been pleased to show off their Club Falcon colors.
Walked the two Kms through Castrojerez, a town of 600, with at least a thousand houses. Some crumbling but most were well maintained. Reached the edge of town and started down a hill to a flat valley where we could clearly see the 600 foot climb on the other side of the valley. We knew we could deal with it but the psychological impact of seeing this one kilometer 12% grade can be unsettling. Did the climb and almost immediately dropped down a 18% concrete grade. Then we were on the flats. By this time it was starting to warm.
Reached a river valley with a bridge that I think is the one where Martin Sheen dumped his pack in the river. Don’t know how this is possible so we gave it a reenactment. Still think it was contrived. Reached the town of Itero de Vega and got a Limon fix and a pastry. Ran into the usual suspects and went to a pint sized super mercado for bocadillos, chocolate, apples and cookies. It was eleven and we needed to stock up since there was nothing for 8 Kms.
Climbed a long grade to a high point and then down over long track to Boadilla where we finally ate the food I had been carrying for 5 miles. Had a fountain that you pumped by spinning a wheel. Peggy needed the exercise as I was worn out feeding the doggie pilgrim beggars. Found a WC in the knick of time at a cute Auburgue with a Kia clone. Headed out of town and it was warmer. We had six Kms to go. Fortunately there were trees providing shade and then the canal.
The canal did not help keep us cool but it did provide relief from the wheat fields. There were yellow orchids growing amongst the cat tails and Peggy got caught in catching the perfect picture. In the mean time the sun was getting hotter. Thankfully the trail was as flat as a canal. Finally reached our town and the locks that need some repairs. The whole canal system is pretty irrelevant except for tourism. I understand that they are considering restoring it for canal boats.
Found the Hostal after a moment of panic that accompanies arriving in a city with trains and highways and wide streets. Found a map and figured it out. Our land lady got us a beer and things were fine.
Showers were done and I heard the tinkle of sheep bells. Looked out our balcony window and there is the Shepard, sheep dogs and a few hundred sheep walking on the Main Street. The building in the back is St. Martin, the most perfect Romanesque church in Spain. Perfect setting for the pastoral parade we witnessed.