on the road to Carrión de los Condes

the walk to Carrión de los Condes was our first experience with what our guide derisively called peregrino autopistas (pilgrim highways). in truth, while these paths ran along not-necessarily-busy two-lane highways, they were well groomed, nice and wide, and clearly marked to enhance visibility and separate peregrinos from speeding cars. I don’t have any pictures from this day’s walk as we hadn’t yet solved the cracked-phone-screen dilemma, but it was a day of rather memorable peregrino snapshots.

the middle section of the Camino introduced us to many new peregrinos — some starting later than Roncesvalles because of time restrictions, completing one in a series of trips to hike the Camino, just interested in hiking one particular segment, whatever — and this day brought us a group of Brits with … interesting hiking habits. they were all pretty young — around our age — which set them apart from many of those we’d encountered earlier on. they also had an odd assortment of Camino gear and … other items we hadn’t seen others carrying; I can’t recall what stood out to me precisely, though I have a vague recollection of something reflective and perhaps a full-size umbrella. (but  I could be confusing that with the reflective full-size umbrella we later saw a middle-aged guy strap to his between his pack and back to provide more complete shade-cover.) despite the peregrino autopista, set apart from the highway for safety, one of the women in the group preferred to walk in the roadway. in the wrong direction. (perhaps something about being used to cars driving on the opposite side confused her and prompted her to doubly-endanger herself?) and to everyone’s bemusement she further endangered herself by having a full-scale dance party as she walked down the wrong side of the highway, her back to traffic as she strutted and moved about unpredictably. were drugs involved? I certainly wouldn’t discount it…

around the half-way mark of today’s hike we took a breather and the Brits left us in their pedestrian-equivalent-of-rearview in a town called Villalcázar de Sirga. as we headed out of town after chatting with an American-Canadian couple we’d met leaving Castrojeriz, we found ourselves overtaken by a group of middle schoolers who were, apparently, walking several kilometers back to school from their field trip. something you’d neeeeeever see in the States — but if you’ve got a nice, safe path to make your kids get some exercise after the excitement of a field trip why not use it? they behaved themselves remarkably, though one straggler at the end got some “encouragement” from one of the teachers for lagging too far behind. and a few kilometers out from Carrión one of the younger, slightly-chubbier kids (who looked a little green about the gills) was escorted across the road to a waiting car (presumably driven by his mother). the group held up as he was tended to and, as we continued on, an ambulance passed us heading back in the class’ direction. it didn’t come back in our direction so perhaps it wasn’t for the kid, or he wasn’t in such a state as to require more emergent attention.

Author: Erica

born in the midwest with wandering feet.