Walking with the sun on your back
The sunrises were always behind us on our journey west, casting long, thought-provoking shadows as we walked. The dawn and early sun on the 10km walk from Azofra up the hill to Cirueña was one of the most memorable of the month and I couldn’t stop turning round to walk backwards and gaze down over the glowing wheat fields and the huge stacks of big square bales that stretched out for miles below. We stopped to peel an orange near the top of the hill, near where cyclists had set up camp and were just emerging from their tent, then it was on through the deserted new golf resort, a ghostly place where every apartment has a Se Vente (for sale) sign on the window. The shadows were even longer here and I walked alone taking photographs as the sun grew warm on my back.
Santo Domingo loomed in the far distance but, with steady walking, we were soon there. Tapas for lunch then we dropped our rucksacks and followed Polish Adrianna into the fabled Cathedral, largely (it has to be admitted) to see the live chickens high up in their coop on the wall. The views from the Cathedral roof were spectacular then we headed on out of town in the grizzly heat, walking alongside the busy N-120 road. It was hard going but I’d promised to keep places for Brian and Elaine in the limited space at the Grañón parish hostel so had to keep a steady pace.
The sun was at its most vicious by the time I found the church and after about nine hours on the road I was totally whacked. Climbing the old worn stone steps to the attic, I threw down my rucksack, released my swelling feet from their hot steaming boots and, soaked with sweat, sank onto a slim mattress on the floor of the ancient church, a place which had been hosting weary pilgrims for centuries. I was grateful