Friday, November 6, 2009

Castro Jerez to Fromista

One of the unexpected effects of freezing wind yesterday was the abrasion caused by trousers being pressed against the front of our legs and rubbing against dehydrated skin-we had a two inch wide 'graze' from the knees up-sore but we lashed on cream and wore overtrousers for a bit of protection- it worked thank goodness. Fantastic walking today.

The old roman road leading to the early morning climb up to Alto Mostelares

and the reward for the climb!
Just past San Bol Frances happy in her new light boots- she needed them so she could creep up the couple in the next two shots....
Well shes got them in range but thats not quite good enough to show all the details....
....but shes getting closer. These two are a such an adorable young couple, always together and happy in their own company. You just want to say "aahh" everytime you see them- they have identical packs, trousers, tops, ponchos, hats, staffs and even little gourds, the only difference is that the girl wears gaiters all the time. They reminded both of us us of an old 'Startrite' poster from the 60's the one showing a little boy and girl heading down a road holding hands (and sometimes walking along this couple hold hands, how sweet is that?)
Just past the beautiful Albergue Ermita de San Nicolas is a wind and solar powered traffic light (its in the middle distance on the left hand side) so someone seems to be getting ready for the holy year crowds well in advance then........

Puente de Itero, high tech traffic lights low tech albergue
On the walk along the canal Frances put on her TRAINERS (I hate them they are white and clean and she goes at 100km an hour in them kicking up little puffs of dust with her heals and thats pretty much all I see of her when she has the damn things on) I think they are a camino version of the Red shoes because she changes character when she puts them on and becomes 'Trainer Frances' a competitive 'overtaker'. Well she had on the trainers and we were walking along the path by the canal when she spotted an 'easy target' a guy who just appeared to be walking along at his ease. So her speed increased incrementally eventually building up to 'ramming speed' but to no avail he was just as far ahead of us after 15 minutes as he was at the start and he was still just strolling along whistling. Frances stopped and waited for me saying (now this is not the real Frances but Trainer Frances) "I can't catch up I don't understand it!" We were in hot pursuit until the lock just outside of Fromista when we lost sight of the mystery pilgrim We never saw him again even though its a small town with one Albergue open. If one was superstitious one might think the spirits of the Camino were trying to teach 'Trainer Frances' a lesson......but whoever he is I am going to light a candle for him at the next church.

The lock at Fromista the place at which we lost the 'Mystery Pilgrim'

Inglesia de San Martin - Fromista
Inglesia de San Martin Fromista- its incredible and looks as if someone had just unwrapped it- couldn't get inside due to renovations but its a jewel of a building. I got a crick in my neck walking around with binoculars looking at each of the 300 corbals-and its true what the guide books say each of them is different. There is a wonderful little owl, a naked female holding a little child between her knees (a birthing image?) a range of fantastic creatures and fellow playing the bagpipes ....ouch!

Des and Mac are here before us and Des is in better shape having walked without his heavy pack today- he looks as if he can actually make it into Leon on his own two legs rather than by ambulance.
We and one other pilgrim dine early at a great little place the where the owners daughter delights her father (he's an older dad and she is the apple of his eye) and us with her antics-she is about two what is what we call a 'very pinchy' baby with chubby little cheeks, hands and legs.
Fromista is also where we meet the youngest pilgrim we've come across an shes an eight year old french girl walking with her dad and an older sister of 12. Madamoiselle is sitting on the steps of the albergue with a huge stick across her knees and a lethal looking penknife whittling away. Frances asks her what she's making she pauses and says "why I'm making a pencil"-there is a strongly implied "of course here". So we look suitably chastened and ask her " and will you make a drawing with it later?" She gives a gallic shrug a little nod and says "perhaps". This little pilgrim covers 20 km a day no bother has her own pack and washes her own little bits and pieces, though Liz the motherly australian lady often covertly takes them off the line and rewashes them as La petite occasionally forgets to use soap!

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