Saturday, April 23
Boadilla del Camino to Carrión de Los Condes
29 km / 18 miles
Okay. Today was a really rough one. Like the hardest day yet.
I woke up at 6:30, legs feeling good. I’m always apprehensive about that though, because I never know if 10 minutes in, they start to hurt again. And it only gets worse after that. But I set off at 7:30, fully decked in my “rain gear” as there was 100% chance of rain today. I ambitiously sent my backpack to Carrión de Los Condes, 29 km/18 miles away, knowing that I could always take a bus/taxi if I absolutely had to. But in the back of my mind, that wasn’t really an option. I would get there.
Well. An hour into the day, it began raining. Light, gentle sprinkles. Nice ambience as I walked along a cute canal. Then as I passed through Fromista, a bit more rain. Not as cute. There were also significantly more pilgrims on the road today than I’ve been used to seeing. Maybe a late start. Maybe because I stopped a town early yesterday.
The camino followed a main highway most of the way there, also on a steady incline. And it seemed the further along I went, the windier and rainier and colder it got. Until it literally could not get worse. I’m talking low 40 degree weather, then factor in 28+ mph winds (nearly knocking me over), and then factor in ice cold rain. I mean, it literally was painful every time the rain hit my face. Turns out none of my “rain gear” is waterproof. Simply, water “resistant.” There’s a difference. My pants clung to me, sunctioned to my ice cold legs with each rain drop. My hands froze, exposed to the rain and icy air. And the wind just made it all comical. Alone, I was serious, convincing myself everything would be fine and I’d be there soon. But everytime I passed someone or someone passed me, I laughed “Buen Camino.” What else could we do? Rain or shine, we were there to walk. As tough and miserable as it was, it was also hysterical: here I am, Michael, walking 19 miles across Spain for an adventure, freezing in the pouring rain and wind. Gratitude.
After what seemed like forever along the stretch of highway, and some mild pain in my feet, I desperately made it into Carrión de Los Condes around 1 pm. I forwent the usual albergue hunt and went straight for the nearest hotel/hostel sign I could find. Hostel La Corte’s at the towns entrance. I went inside, and desperately asked for a single room. €40 later, way more than I’d want to spend on a single night of the camino, I had my own private room, full bed with sheets and pillows, and most importantly, a steaming hot shower to myself. Today, this was much deserved and much needed. And on that note, I’m signing off and enjoying my luxurious evening.