Friday, April 7, 2017

Camino del Madrid - Day 3 - Segovia

Brrrr. 1 degree in the morning. The temperature last two days has been 4-21 degrees. Today is 1-19 degrees. The temperature also won't hit double digit unit past 1 pm.

7 am and it's still.dark. This time of the year only at 7:30 am will there be enough light to walk. With not a soul around I thought I might just use the map app and walk still in the dark to the train station which is along the way... somewhat. Maybe the cafe at the train station is open. Good guess. Having the morning coffee is already half the battle won. I had breakfast in the room before I left (ham and cheese sandwiches, banana, peach and half a bottle of drinkable yogurt. No need for any sweet stuff wrapped in plastic at the station.

The initial 4 km was nice along the carreterra (paved road). A sign says 1200 meters altitude. Already? At 1600 meters that means today's climb would not be more than 400 meters. Yay! With about 100 meters up on the paved road and only 300 unpaved. When the pave road ends it was the Calzada Romana (Roman road). It may be smoother 2000 years ago but this one is not only rough but as you climb it gets smaller and more dangerous for your feet as the shoes will cause the stones to slide. Estimated 2 km of steep rocky climb are one rocks. Urghh. Half way through David appeared from behind. He's from Bilbao, in Madrid for work, had a free day so he drove up here just to hike around. These Basque people, they really like to hike. I remembered on my Camino del Norte in the initial stages in Basque country there are way more local hikers than pilgrims. Anyway, he works in the travel industry and had even led tourgrims on the Camino for those who do not like to walk all the way and carry their own backpacks. Other interesting stories include San Toribo detour, etc. He gave me his email and I hope to pick on some other facts on the Camino and walking in Spain in general. At least he made my steep climb easier just from the conversation with each other.

When the path opened up to a clearing (without rocks) I thought hmm, this could it the higest point. It is! Even then there is another 24 more km Segovia, sigh. At the clearing, I met my first two pilgrims (beside Son). Moira from Ireland and I forgot his name from Italy (Sicily). Then two more Spaniards arrived at the clearing. One of them I believed I saw the day before also staying at the Hostal El Maya. I could tell by his dressing and brand that he is from Spain. A pilgrim is always aware and never miss anything, hehe. In fact, yesterday evening at the bar in the hostal he nursing a beer watching the game on tv while I was hiding behind my cup of coffee wondering if I should just ask him. He doesn't seems approachable so in the end I didn't. Neither was he today. The other Ivan from Barcelona was more chatty. Later we walked together for just 30 mins and I think I already know half his live story. The path now goes down gradually but before a small stetch of snow. Lots of fountain streams I lost count. Even a bunch of army soldiers hiking through as part of their training. It was a nice walk through a pine tree forest for many km until the clearing when Segovia can be seen on the left, unfortunately still 3 hours away. Looking back from the clearing to mountain we descended it really looks like Julie Andrews scene from the Sound of Music. Ivan, on his first Camino wanted to take a break so I carried on and caught up with Moira. Together we walk 2/3 of Segovia suburbs to get to the aqueduct of Segovia. Don't when the time of arrival was as we stop at a cafe for some pastry and coffee, but I would say around 4 pm. Today's 32km up and down the mountain was easier than expected. Still the legs are like rubber now and I sorely needed to rest. Not before going back to see the aqueduct again, buy fruits at the supermarket, find food....

We are now in the dry country where even the landscape looks thirsty. From now, the terrain will basically be dry and flat all the way to Sahagun.

The albergue is 3 km outside Segovia in Zamarramala. Definitely staying in Segovia but being a tourist location even a hostal can be expensive. I preempted that by downloading the app yesterday on the mobile and found the cheapest hostel at 18.50 euro. It's actually more like a private albergue with bedsheets. Best of all just 200 meters from the aqueduct. Moira and I got a room with no one in the upper bunk. Ivan came in later and got a room with other budget tourist on the upper floor. The others pilgrims I guess has decided to walk 3 km ahead to the albergue in Zamarramala.

This Camino suddenly feels crowded for me, in a good way. from zero or one (Son) to four more. Would like to write more but really tired now and I need to sleep.

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