Today we walked our longest distance yet: 20 miles or, for you Fitbit fanatics, 64,642 steps. There were a number of reasons for our decision, and now that it is done, we are glad we did it. During the planning for our trip, we put in a rest day after the ninth day (actually tenth but we split the first day into two). So we have two nights to recover before we start walking again. I might add we have learned that alternating short and long days really helps.
Tomorrow I plan to reflect on our trip in general. Tonight I want to just summarize our day. We got up at 5:30 and were on the road by 6:15. Our goal was to get as much done before the intense heat. We broke down our route into four stages, 6 miles, 4 1/2 miles, 6 miles and 3 1/2 miles based on where towns were located. I hope the pictures I am sending will give you a feel for the four stages.
We discovered two problems with our strategy. The first occurred immediately when we couldn’t agree on which way to go on the Camino path out of Ventoso because it was totally dark. Imagine two Americanos with their iPhone flashlights on wandering around in the dark, mostly laughing at our predicament.
The second problem involved our plan to walk as much as we could before it got too hot and then stop for lunch. This plan had two shortcomings: we were in the middle of nowhere on stage 3 by 1:00, no town in sight and, for all practical purposes, no shade. The second problem involved Spanish weather, at least here: the temperature, which does increase dramatically around 1:00, does not cool down again until 6:00 or later. So there was no possibility of waiting out the heat.
Undeterred, we set out. While we chatted with multiple fellow pilgrims along the way (including Anna who was a bit surprised I had forgotten her name), our primary focus was to just follow the signs and KEEP MOVING. The result was two tired but unbeaten pilgrims pulling into our destination town (Santo Domingo de Something) at 6:15, almost exactly 12 hours after starting. We were delighted to reach our hotel and were almost too tired to care the hotel has no air conditioning.
After cleaning up, we went to a good restaurant where John had a set of local dishes he loved. I had a salad and a steak. So much for being able to eat anything I want.
Love to all, especially Frannie.