Venezuelan breakfast. Arepas, onions, cream cheese, yogurt, tomatoes and strong coffee. Off to finish my ablutions and walk due west for five more days. Into Salamanca on Christmas Eve. The rain has stopped and the birds are chirping in the Albergue yard. The wind from last night has abaited. The Venezuelan gentleman makes ice cream in Valencia, but here in Spain he is a gardener. Must be awful being a refugee in the cold Meseta?
A guy at the bar said this weather was perculiar, even in winter, for this part of Spain. Cold, but dry, not windy, cold and wet like this. But it is wet and windy and I must endure four more days walking the tedious terrain with nothing to break up the day. Gosh and I'm carrying far too much stuff: I looked at my trousers, etc, this morning and questioned my reasoning... Far too many changes of underwear, shorts and at least three pairs of trousers: ok the waterproofs are necessary, but two pairs of shorts?!?
It's constantly making the walking in the afternoon a real physical barrier. This burden is effecting the pressure points on my feet, shoulders and back: all year I've been carrying this overweighted backpack. I can cope in the morning, three to four hours, but because the weather is against stopping anywhere until the destination for the evening I am pushing myself towards physical barrier that I absolutely abhor.
Outside the gale keeps blowing and the rain is falling in earnest. There was a difficult moment when the land was so waterlogged I ended up ankle deep in sodden mud and feared I was about to get sucked further than sensible: I headed into the field, which was slightly higher ground, and just about get round the difficulty. Although it was heavy going I do like the visual effects of long puddles and sunlight, there was also a rainbow most of the morning.
In Fontiveros the Carmelite monastery was a no go, however now I'm in one of two large singles beds in room 2.1, had a warm shower in a warm room and got a night gratis, courtesy of the ayuntemento, as the only option I had was to continue onwards to the next village: my body was not so happy with that prospect into the headwind! Not that I really wanted to stay in luxury, but my arm was twisted behind my back! A night not freezing whenever I went to the toilet. Thank you ayuntemento for paying for my stay here at the Posada San Juan de la Cruz. Time for a siesta, what would us humans do without feather quilts, woollen blankets and cotton linen from time to time?