Hail, Frost, Cloud

Calzada de las Hermanillos to Mansilla de las Mulas (Pop: 1900)
April 19, 2015
8:42 AM to 2:12 PM
6 hrs 30 min for 24.6 km

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It hailed yesterday afternoon and again in the evening. The ground went white and a two year old’s eyes went wide with concern. A fellow Canadian put a small ball of ice in the child’s hand and she did not know what to do. We had gone in search of the supermercado, the only store in town. When we saw the shopkeeper drop a Serrano ham face down on the floor then stick it back on the meat counter, we left the 15′ x 12′ store deciding we did not need food. Big drops of rain began to pelt us. We ran the three blocks back to Hostal Via Trajana to take our clothes off the line. I got inside just before the hail. We paid four euros to use the clothes dryer. Meanwhile the window in our upstairs room was open and my pants and bedspread were covered in hail. Two more things to dry.

Last night was the first night we could not get a room for three. Brian and I took the private room for two and Margaret went upstairs to the four bed dorm…single beds under the rafters with heated floors. Although the private rooms filled with three more Canadian couples, Margaret had the biggest room in the house to herself.

Luckily the only restaurant in town was at our hostal. Nine Canadians broke bread together and shared a very good Pilgrim Meal. The best was the lemon mousse for dessert. As well as James and Danielle, we now had Bruno and Maya from Stratford (Maya was born in Seaforth), and Kanji and Susie from Kingston. The last two have done a lot of walking and mountain climbing around the world in their forty_four years of marriage.

We saw our first sunset and a rainbow. We are usually in our room not facing west at sunset. Sometimes we even have our eyes closed before sunset. Beautiful sunrise this morning!

We heard it was 21 C in Niagara and the daffodils are out at our house. This morning it was 1C and the fields were covered in frost. Margaret and I put on our longjohns and all of us put on three warm layers. Even Brian did not get down to his T-shirt layer today. I think the high was 13 C. I had my headband on all morning.

Brian and I loaded my pack with as much as we could from both of our packs and shipped it ahead to here: Pension La Blanca. My back needed a rest. After walking more than 24 km, I felt I could have continued. In fact Michael and I turned too soon and did an extra kilometre to catch up to the others. It is amazing how light I feel without a pack. I kept thinking I left something behind. Michael was going six km further. I offered to carry Brian’s pack to give his knees a rest but because his pack was lighter, he said he felt good. We will do this again on our 30 km days. James and Danielle did the same and were delighted with the feeling. Marg thinks we are wimps and we are totally okay with that.

We continued to follow the Via Romana with the most notable contrasts the clouds in the sky and the Cordillera Cantabrica and Pica d’Europa on the northern horizon, otherwise mostly flat fields, many ploughed red, ready for planting. They say Caesar walked this road. We doubt he walked it. Someone probably carried him or gave him a horse. This was a major trade route from Bordeaux to Rome.

Maybe they had coffee shops then. There were none on today’s route and no watering holes. On a hotter day we would have to have carried more water. We had the Hostal make us a ham and cheese bocadillo for our picnic. They were dry. Brian made much better sandwiches. We fed half of our bread to the birds. Glad we had orange, kiwi and pear to eat.

We are in a town that had some seriously thick walls. We will explore after showering.

Oooo… Marg brought me a double chocolate ice cream bar!


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