Posting 6: 28/04/2006, Burgos. (just over 2200 km's to go!)
Am having a second rest day here. Since last post weather continues to be sunny but because of the terrain there is a wind and for the 1st few days it was a little cold, then for the next it was pleasant, preventing it from being too hot. But yesterday and today it has been bitter. Didn't realise how cold it was going to be the day I walked to Burgos so didn't put on my over trousers. Took nearly an hour for my legs to thaw out after reaching mid-morning coffee stop!
Suddenly have a series of daily 'headings'. One day I was 'walking through a screen-saver' - you know the one supplied with a very well known (and not wildly popular with some people) PC operating system! The countryside was rolling hills covered with a crop that looked like long grass but an incredible, almost unnatural shade of bright rich green. That with the very blue sky induced the feeling that you were in a land coloured by a cartoonist with unnaturally bright colours! The next day the heading was 'walking in comfortable old slippers'! My boots after all this time, also being leather I suppose, held my feet and ankles in a warm and comfortable way, like old carpet slippers. Alas like old slippers they were coming apart! The sole was coming away from the upper at the front. I had already glued them in Leon but obviously hadn't made a proper job of it. Never mind, got more glue today and will try better this time.
Next 'phrasebite' (as opposed to 'soundbite') was 'news of my journey precedes me'. It was quite a bizarre experience! I was crossing a bridge on my journey from Fromista to Castrojeriz (on 25/04/2006) when I met a couple of English-speaking pilgrims. When I told them why I was going the wrong way one of them said 'Oh I've heard of you'. I couldn't see how then I remembered meeting a German cyclist who had reached Santiago and was on his way home. He had met me as I was going down from O Cerbreiro and he going up. We chatted that second day of meeting and apparently he had told others subsequently of my journey. As it happened, the following morning at breakfast at the refugio, I met an Italian chap who had also heard of me through the same German cyclist!
'Woken by the sounds of Gregorian chant'. It was in a refugio in Castrojeriz. On arrival there the evening before, the Hospitalero had explained that he wakes the pilgrims at a specific time and shortly afterwards coffee is provided. I was awake, waiting for the alarm when my ears detected a sound, gradually getting louder. It was monks chanting. I hadn't thought we were so close to a Church. I was just contemplating getting up to visit the Church when the Hospitalero came in and opened the blinds. The music was coming from speakers throughout the refugio! It was our wake-up call! Without a doubt it was the most beautiful way of being called to breakfast I had yet experienced. I thanked him before I left. The chants were of the famous monks of Silas Monastery.
So that's it for now. Oh yes and by the way. The day after I sent the last posting expressing the desire to arrive in Rome in July, I slipped in the shower and now have a most magnificent highly coloured bruise, initially 3 x 1 inches but now with carrying the rucksack is about 6 x 9 inches! This of course slowed me down a bit. Its not too bad and now I nearly can't feel it. But I have decided that I will arrive in Rome when I arrive. It might be July, or 1st week August or near the end of August. I do not know what lies ahead especially when I reach Italy so there is no point in busting a gut trying to get there at all costs!