21 • Toledo

A joy to sleep in. Woke up, leisurely packed and then heard the bell for Mass in the Church across the street. I made it to the church just before Mass and asked the priest for the stamp. Another young guy, very welcoming, he had to return to his house to get the stamp when he returned, in broken English, said “the whole parish embraces you on your journey, remember us in Santiago”…

19 • Mora

A different day altogether. I cleared the town in 15 minutes and had to use my head light for the next 3/4 hour. The Camino Levante heads directly west across the country, so seldom do I witness sunrise, unless I turn around. What I do see, and was so beautiful this morning, is the effect of the light rising behind me and lighting up the road ahead. Today’s walk was  one of exceptional beauty…

18 • Tembleque

…There was nothing I could do, trucks and cars passing by me and the road stretching as far as I could see but to put my head down and walk. Reminds me of those long Zen retreats where they keep reminding you ”return to your breath, return to your word”. That’s what I did, returned, over and over again, to the stones and steps. Somehow it worked, I didn’t hear or notice of the trucks…

17 • Villacanas

It’s harvesting time for grapes this week. It appears to be a bumper crop, gauging the by large bunches on each vine. The pickers seem to be itinerant people, ostracized by the locals. It’s a little ironic that the people of the region are less welcoming or friendly, whereas  the pickers are the exact opposite, today almost every group waved as I passed and one group in particular wanted to know if…

14 • Las Pedroneras

Looking at the temperatures forecasted for today I decided not to spend another day in San Clemente but to hit the road. I left the hostel just before seven and, using my headlamp for the first hour, walked in darkness and first light. It was cool, refreshing and energizing, felt I had made the right decision.  A 24 km walk which I expected to take six hours…

13 • San Clemente

Set out from the hostel around about 7:30, made good time to Casa de la Pinos where I had a coffee, massaged my feet and checked the blisters then made for San Clemente. The sunrise enchanting, the air cool and refreshing, energizing, however the temperature rose quickly, so starting off at 57°F, an hour after my coffee break it was already in the 80s…

11 • La Roda

I made La Gineta in good time, had a coffee there and put on lining socks for the next stage of the journey to La Roda, 20 km away. It was a return to the day before as if the truck stops of yesterday had not happened. The cool morning, stark colors, bright reflection of the road and stones fields with occasional trees, made a masterpiece…

8 • Higueruela

… Eventually the mist began to lift revealing more of the same strange mix of desert, vineyards, and olive groves. In addition to this the fascinating contrast of colours and starkness of the countryside. I stopped after three hours, took off my shoes and socks, massaged my feet and ate chocolates and nuts. It’s amazing what a break can do…

7 • Alpera

Cool and misty. Sunrise behind me, very peaceful. I walked in fog or mist for a few hours, strange experience, no idea of the terrain around me, visibility a few feet. Along the way, a rocky path, I noticed kernes built from stones, I stopped to take a photo of one and as I did the fog cleared and I found myself standing before a strange, majestic  mountain. It was a shock to suddenly…