Day 13, Castrojeruz to Formista, Spain, Sept. 21, 2008






15 miles, 400 ft. ascent and descent.

Started out just before it got light. Left the village on a dirt road between two barns, going into the countryside. A Scotsman, Robert, joined me at we headed out of town. He was chatty and good walking company for a few days. Not as fast as Peter was yesterday, but I don’t need to walk that fast every day.
The road headed up a ridge and I could see several pilgrims going up, about 400 feet, through the farm lands of harvested grain. Several fields had big round bales of straw, waiting to be picked up and hauled away to storage. It was getting lighter every step.
Upon reaching the top of the ridge, the sun began coming over the eastern horizon, beyond the hill with the castle ruins.  Several of us pilgrims had reached this spot to watch the spectacle of the sunrise.  Bright red and yellow sun rays spilled out from beyond the distant mountain range to coat the castle ruins, then illuminate the valley.  When it was all light, I finally turned to back to the trail, now downhill.
Stopped for mid-morning coffee and a stroll through a tiny village. There were many round dove lofts, or dove cottages, falling into ruin.  Along the stream was a huge shelter with red Spanish tile roof, open sides with arches and all painted white.  Upon investigation, it contained a several cement wash boards, with a stream running through it. This is where community happened!  Later I saw a plainer wash house version in cement dated 1987 etched across the top. Oh, perhaps that is why the world regarded Spain as backward for so many years.
Strangely enough, there was helicopter over head. When I lived in Billings, Montana, that always meant a rescue, as the helicopter picked up an injured person and flew them to the hospital.  A few days later we learned from a pilgrim, who happened to be a nurse, that as she got to the top of the ridge, took in the view of the castle and country, then turned to go another pilgrim, a middle-age man who stopped to rest, fell down dead.  She tried to revive him, but could not.  That helicopter was for him. It was very sad.
Nearing Formista, the walk is along a canal and poplars line the path. Stopped for a beer at lunch and then walked more. 
Every day has beautiful weather, chilly in the morning, but warming by about 9 am. No rain, yet. I love walking every day an eat everything for dinner, which is usually three courses. Lots of potatoes are on the menu and I get the french fries and flan for dessert. The calorie burn is so great!

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