Canadians on the Camino, Day 16: oasis on the Meseta

Sparse landscape on the Spanish meseta
Sparse landscape on the Spanish meseta

(September 19)

We arrive in the village of Calzadilla de los Hermadillos this afternoon footsore and tired following a 27-kilometre walk through the meseta. The clouds gather and rain threatens just when we enter the village but fortunately the first building that we encounter is the Albergue Via Trajana where I had reserved a private room. There are reportedly 200 people in the village and there is another albergue but when I explore the place I encounter little else by way of public services.

Via Trajana

The Via Trajana is a pleasant oasis due not only to its clean and adequate accommodation but also to the hospitable graciousness of the woman who runs the albergue and restaurant. She tells us that they prepare and serve cena (dinner) and we are pleased to take her up on it.

Neither Martha nor I slept much at all last evening due to the German gentleman’s snoring.  Our way toward Calzada runs mostly parallel to Highway N-120 until the old town of Sahagun, population 2,800.  Beyond the town we choose the alternate country trails away from the highway and that puts us on a 10 kilometre stretch of another old Roman Road through the meseta. Calzado de Coto, the one village that we encounter beyond Sahagun, contains a lot of mud brick, construction, something that I have seen on the meseta during the past few days. These buildings look old and I am surprised that adobe is still in use. Likely it was the arterial of choice because there is little by way of stone in this area and the insulating qualities of adobe are said to be excellent.

No one in sight

We walk past a remote farm with cattle grazing on the brown scrubby grass but with no fences in sight. Occasional hearty trees dot the landscape but along the dirt path there is little shade and less water. This is the first time in our 14 days of hiking that we can walk for several hours without seeing absolutely anyone else.

Turbine land 

We continue to see wind turbines everywhere on the horizon and there is plenty of breeze out here to keep them churning.  Martha and I talk today about the UN climate change summit about to occur in New York City and called by the Secretary General of the United Nations. Martha has read that Spain derives more than 20 per cent of its energy needs from renewables. Canada has something to learn from Spain on that score.

Back spasms  

Martha has developed back spasms, almost certainly from carrying her pack. Immediately upon our arrival at the Via Trajana she heads to bed for a nap and later is unable to finish her dinner in the restaurant. We hope that tomorrow will be a better day although it will be a slog of about 25 kilometres through the meseta.

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Dennis

Dennis Gruending is an Ottawa-based writer, blogger and a former member of Parliament

2 thoughts on “Canadians on the Camino, Day 16: oasis on the Meseta”

  1. Dennis, I’m very fascinated by your account from the Camino pilgrimage. Every day I look forward to reading it because it comes in such manageable bites. And my feet are already feeling sore with you and Martha!

    1. Thanks for your comment Maureen. Perhaps I’ll send you a close up shot of the bottom of my feet swathed in gauze and taped!

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