Saturday, 28 May 2011
A letter from a place in La Mancha
When I read Cervantes many years ago I never thought I´d see the land he described in Don Quixote. For the last few days I´ve been vividly reminded of the story as I have walked along streets with the name through little villages in this southern region of La Mancha. When I met the man himself I could hardly believe I was here. It is day 11. We have walked 276 kms of this 1300 km route and we have stopped in a town called La Roda to rest, do a washing and plan the next steps. I´ve found a Locotorio with a dodgy internet connection and a dysfunctional keyboard so I thought I would let you know how we are doing. Thanks to everyone who has emailed me.
We arrived in a bustling Valencia on Monday 16 May. It was hot and the place was full of tourists. We had considered staying a day or two to explore the city but the combination of English voices and the magnetic allure of the Camino made us decide to set out the next day.
Just as the heat and the length of the stage were making us despair we came accross a group of partying young people.They had set up a picnic table laden with beer, sprits and refrescos at the side of the road.They had obviously been celebrating the cyclists passing by. In any major city of the world we would have given such young people a wide berth but this is rural Spain.They called us over, were astonished at our pilgrimage and insisted on sharing with us. We refused the proferred whisky or vodka but greedily consumed the lemon fanta with ice. “Only 2 kms to go” they shouted as they waved us off.
We´ve met three other walking pilgrims in this first phase. Two gave up and the Italian disappeared.
We´ve kept our kit to a minimum which has been difficult for a route which will take the best part of 7weeks. For example that´s 7 weeks worth of prescription drugs we´ve both had to to carry.
My biggest bonus has been my Kindle and I am slowly working through the 12 books I bought for this pilgrimage journey. Yesterday I downloaded DonQuixote to browse again. After all I am in La Mancha.
I hope you are all well wherever you are. I´ll write to you again whenever I can.
Ps –you can see more photographs here