Madrid Camino Day 12- Penaflor to Medina de Rioseco

May 17, 2017

Whew! Tough slog today. The weather was very changeable but mostly there was rain and cold and wind.  I walked through agricultural land and open, high mesa. Once again, I was so glad for my terrific gear! I did go off-trail for the very first time this morning and it added 4kms to my day’s walk. It may not seem like much, but at the end of a 26 km day, it felt almost catastrophic. Feet a little more beaten up as I took less time to tend to them what with the foul weather and all. Stopped by a lovely little stream under a tree for a quick snack – sardines and dates with a chocolate bar chaser. I know it sounds odd, but nothing ever tasted so good.

Despite the rain and wind, I stayed warm and dry.

I am in awe of the endless fields of wild poppies. I passed through many small ancient farming towns. along wet streets and around slippery, fragrant manure. A friendly farmer called out the remaining distance to the next town and wished me  Buen Camino. There are so many windmills. And, best of all, sweet, blessed silence. Despite sore feet and sore legs and a stiff back, I loved every step.

Deserted streets today on the Madrid Camino.

Staying tonight in Medina de Rioseco at an old convent of cloistered nuns who run a little albergue for pilgrims. It is very crowded with Spanish pilgrims and cyclists who are referred to – often derogatorily – as ‘bicigrinos’. The regular peregrinos don’t care for them all that much as I’m told they tend to arrive at the albergues first and score the best beds. I found myself once again the company of two fellows from yesterday – Jean from France and Jose Marie from Madrid. We walked into town together and are sharing grocery costs for a little supper.

Another big day looms ahead and I hope I manage to sleep in the tiny, crowded dormitory amongst the snoring pilgrims.