One of the village Albergue owners told me there are usually over twice this many people walking the Camino de Santiago, but the record high temperatures have kept many from coming. I have lost more than 3 inches in the waist so far.
Feeling good, the feet are generally sore but in good shape.
I have been in many places and still am amazed by the people of Spain, the pilgrims and the villages. Recently, I walked to Villafranca and then on to the Atapuerco mountains, which took 14.7 miles or 27,534 steps. The hike to Burgos hike took another 14.17 miles or 25,158 steps.
I now found myself at the beginning of the Meseta. The walk across the Meseta is one of the hardest crossings. An ultimate endurance test, much like hiking across the Pyrenees on the first day I started hiking across Spain.
Once on the Meseta passage, I went thru Castrojeriz to San Martin de Fromista and onto Carrion. The hike to Carrion is 18.03 miles/32705 steps.
I hiked through Terradillos de los Templarios, then Cazadilla de los Hermanillos, and Mansilla de las Mulas. At Calzadilla de los Hermanillos, it was Day 23 of my Camino hike.
I am crossing five provinces (Navarra, La Rioja, Burgos, Palencia, and Leon).
I have walked more than 300 miles so far. It is amazing to me and so are the miles across the Meseta. The sun coming up on the Meseta is a beautiful sight. God’s glory is found everywhere and certainly portrayed in this moment.
The Meseta is a highland plateau. Its western slope is gently inclined toward the Atlantic Ocean. There are very flat plains on the plateau of central Spain. It’s blistering hot in the summer with a big Meseta sky.
At the beginning of crossing the Meseta, I quickly find that there is little or no shade and only miles of crop fields as far as the eye can see.
Wheat is grown on the better ground. Barley and oats are grown on the higher and poorer soils.
The temperature fluctuates a great deal. My third day on this trek I experienced 40 degree temperatures in the morning and 95 degrees and up after noon.
I’ll put in more than 15 miles most days and starting to do 20 miles. I stop five to six times, take my socks and shoes off, rub my feet and keep going.
It’s important to take care of the feet.
I am burning up a lot of calories so I take a lot of food — apples and sandwiches. My insulin intake is down more than 50 percent. I keep the insulin pump off most of the time.
There have been three mountain ranges that I have already crossed and of course a lot of stress physically and mentally. I still love every minute of this challenge and this pilgrimage.
I feel lucky to get out of my bunk every morning and have my coffee at a small café in a very small and centuries old village. Thinking about my incredible and accomplished parents help me get through each day.
I still find wonder in the generosity of others.
This passage consists of so many offerings like food, shelter and anything else a pilgrim on this journey might need. For example, I met two young men — one from New York and the other from Philadelphia — and they are both starting college when finished with their Camino walk.
One had a bad blister on his heel. He went to the emergency room where they fixed him up and would not charge him because he is a pilgrim.
To help point you in the right direction along the hike, there are yellow arrows on all the branches of the Camino walk. These help point the way to Santiago de Compostella which is the final destination on the Camino pilgrimage.
The arrows appear on walls, trees, roadside milestones, footpaths, and even on the formal sign posts.
The direction arrows have been put in place and are repainted by pilgrim support organizations. The original signs have a yellow scallop shell on a blue background that is on a 3-inch high cairn. I am so thankful to see the signs that assure me I’m on the right path.
The signs are so important in the early morning hours when the sun hasn’t completely come up yet. I am often still hurting from the previous day and it is easy to get confused and lost. I have had to back track a time or two.
Those moments are discouraging when you are in a car, much less walking 16 to 20 miles a day.
From home I receive many messages from people concerning my journey. They respond with statements such as, “being an inspiration, be safe, enjoy the journey, keep strong, and take care,” and “so glad you are sharing your journey with us, very exciting. Keep the pics, videos and documentaries coming. Safe travels!”
And from a close relative, “It is such a delight to share your pictures and stories with dad. So happy that you are recording your journey. “
I am always asked by friends at home, “How’s the body feeling?” I reply, “Everything hurts but my teeth, so brushing in the morning is a damn joy.”
John Larimer, a 56-year-old resident of Camden Point, Mo., is currently on a 500-mile walk across Spain known as the Camino de Santiago. John began traveling abroad at the age of 16 and developed a passion and love for exploring history and other countries.