Thursday, May 16, 2013

Las Herrerias to Fonfria (part 1)

One of the many things I like about the Spanish is that they like cake for breakfast. The breakfast at the Casa
Rural had apple cake, vanilla bundt cake and sweet rolls among other goodies.
I walked out the door into sunshine but I knew where I was headed - high up into the mountains at around 4,000 ft. When you can't even see the mountains for the clouds, you know there will be trouble. (Photo 1)
But I'm from the hills of West Virginia so mountains and fog don't bother me. I've hiked in plenty. Just be prepared. I wore 4 layers of clothing most of the day and topped it off with my Altus raincoat whenever needed. Those are the best raincoats ever made for keeping you warm and dry while weighing very little.
The scenery today again looked a lot like the Appalachians. (Photo 2) I was so enamored with the views. They just seemed to get better and better. (Photo 3)
The interesting thing about today was the constant change in the weather. We had absolutely everything from sunshine to snow, to sleet, and even tiny hail pellets. I was constantly making wardrobe adjustments.
I walked with a variety of people today. I have been walking for several days with an older Austrian couple who speak little English but always exchange pleasantries with me. I am impressed how people keep track of one another. Sometimes when I stop to take off my jacket, someone will stop to see if I am ok. Often they do not ask in English. It is usually through gestures and expressions. Many, many people walk alone or join another person for a short time.
Today when I stopped for coffee, a young Korean woman sat with me. I asked her why she is doing the Camino and she said she wanted to challenge herself - to see if she is strong enough. And to experience another culture. I said "me, too," even though I'm sure I am 40 years older than she. I told her that when I was her age, I had a similar experience of backpacking through Europe with a friend for 3 months through 17 countries. I told her I hoped this would be the beginning for her. (By the way, there seem to be a lot of Koreans here and she had already met a young Korean man on the trail.)
One of the first villages I entered had a curious little shop run by a Scottish woman. (Photo 4) I could not resist one of her hand-carved clam shells pendants from bone.
The same village had lilacs in bloom. They seem to be everywhere. (Photo 5)
The next village was Laguna de Castilla, the last outpost in Castille. It had a wonderful example of a functional Galician palloza in a farmyard. These are traditional structures built in the round with straw roofs. (Photo 6)
At this point I am further up the mountain and the weather is changing. (Photo 7, 8) every 5 minutes it is different. But at one point I was greeted by a rainbow which told me that it was going to be a great day!
This is the end of part 1 of Day 27. It was such a full day I wanted to break it into 2 parts to make it easier to send.

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