Today was to be 19km bringing us to the start of the Meseta, that much dreaded week or so of scorched flat dull plains referenced in so may guides. Hornellos was the target town with a name the literally means hot plate of the Camino I was expecting some discomfort.
The walk to Hornillos was hot and hard but uneventful. However, today was to be one of those amazing race style, rush for accommodation days.
No beds in Hornillos. Well there was a sign at the municipal alburge stating they has a few beds left and they'd be back at 5:30 however there was a line of people waiting for this so the decision was wait until 5:30 before being told to walk to the next town or just get on with it.
Off to San Bol trying to overtake as many pilgrims so as to secure a bed. It's about 34 deg baking sun and stony ground so going is rough this late in the day. No wonder everyone here sleeps between 1pm and 6pm. San Bol is a little shack in a grove of trees and you guessed it completely full. So off for another 5ks to Hontas.
The Meseta is not a billiard table flat desert as I had expected. At this stage it is largely flat and baking hot but sporting green crops either side off the stony track. The towns are not visible as they seem to be built in small indentations in the plain.
Hontas at last. Literally stumbled into town with feet throbbing and with a shuffling gait. Of course, now i remember why, i had just taken new shoes out of their box popped them on and walk for 30ks.
I saw the town fountain and things from here get a bit hazy. I remember, the water was not drinkable, the first two hostels being full, a wave of nausea and collapsing against a bar pointing to orange juice. Next I remember a glass of ice and orange juice in front of me, sculling half of it then collapsing off the bar stool with a dizzy feel and pins and needles in both arms and neck. I then recall i knocked my pack over falling towards a chair on the other side of the room and skillfully collapsing into it dropping my head between my knees. I'd left my juice at the bar. So went to fetch it but dizziness put me straight back in the chair. I remained with head on table for what seemed about 15 minutes before the pins and needles subsided and feeling stable enough to be able to stand and clear the clutter I had left between the bar and the chair.
Just mobile again I did made it to a hostel room where I lay in bed until morning both unbearably hot and shivering. As the hours past all became right again ready for another days short walk with a lesson learned that hours of heat, sun, exercise need to be managed a little better in future.
Oh, and we passed the 300km mark sometime during today's debacle.
Camino de dia the beginning of the Meseta
Traffic jam Spanish style