No internet connection yesterday, high up in the Meseta but for some reason the town of Hornillos is in a dip and does not receive the signal. Or maybe the signal is having a siesta – who knows. So, two days of news:
My feet are recovering from the blisters, slowly. So I am walking slowly – about half pace. I am being over-taken by large numbers of the halt and the lame. People whose kajouls used to flap in the wind as I whirled by are now slowing down to offer me words of encouragement! Salutory, I can tell you, for one whose almost mystical ability to cover vast areas of the Meseta like a great black and silver ghost had won him fame in the regions of Navarra, Rioja and Castilla. And in their foot clinics, unfortunately. Perhaps this is meant to be. Perhaps I am being taught a lesson – to slow down, for goodness sake, you do not need to do everything at 100 miles an hour (note Mark Smith). Or maybe I will come back stronger and faster and crush them all. Hahaha (evil laughter)!
Sat with some new people the evening of Burgos, my friends all having moved on. Fell into conversation with a chap on my left. We both got the idea to start with that the other was German (first time in 2 weeks for me that anyone did not realise I am English!). So we both began to speak in very bad, school German to each other till we found out that he is Spanish and, indeed, from Leon, the next city on our route. I asked him if he is going to pop in for a cup of tea on the way through but with my Spanish, he did not get it. Might as well have been talking in German.
On my last night in Burgos, I went into the Museum of Human Evolution that is situated there because it is near Atapuerca where the oldest, near-human European settlements have been found – up to 1 million years old. The museum is absolutely fantastic – ultra modern and well laid out in Spanish and English. There is a life sized model of half the Beagle and you can walk about inside and see what it was like to live there. But the best bit was an exposition of the last 2 million years of hominid development, through Homo Erectus, Rhodesiensis, Neanderthal and then Sapiens. There were life sized models. As always, two huge questions arise. How come that Neanderthal with a bigger brain than us and massively stronger died out 28,000 years ago? And, where did we come from? You can see the development over 2 million years and then, in the blink of an evolutionary eye, Home Sapien suddenly arrives, tall and elegant and completely different from the rest. Must ask Kate´s brother Richard who knows all about this. Stay tuned.
I recognise that there is a huge gap in this account where descriptions of flora and fauna along the way should be. This is because I do not have my usual small, mobile encyclopedia with me. I walked past a big board yesterday that had a list of all the typical local flowers on it and I thought I might mention a few of them airily as I walked along but I knew you would realise I was bluffing (at least she would). However, I did walk by a field of sunflowers yesterday which I did recognise. They were all brown and shriveled up – all the leaves had gone and all the heads were bowed down and pointing in the same direction. They looked as though they had been painted by Lowry at the point of being told some sad news.
I was walking with a group of people yesterday, towards the back. A local walked through us. He said “Buenos Dias” to everyone. When he got to me he said “Good morning”. Mustn’t get a complex!
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