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8th stage Camino Santiago de Levante. The hole of Verín

Posted by admin On Mayo - 28 - 2010

Eighth day: Town of Sanabria – Ourense. 156 kms. 9 hours and 43 minutes.

JL: We  departed from Puebla de Sanabria at 8:00. The day is fresh, clear and sunny allowing us to see the snowed peaks. We are tired but the landscape and the sun are comforting, and it makes us smile. Better, go on! Today we have to reach three superior heights at 1000 meters, one of 895, another of 868, and for the dessert, a high point of 590 meters. The two most difficult climbs are in the first 50 kilometres: 1380 meters, descent and 1170 meters more. We take it easy, we put the “catalina” (name given to the small plate) and “up we go”. At the beginning of the climb, we met the first pilgrims who were leaving Sanabria. It were Raquel and Aníbal of Madrid with whom we spoke for a few minutes. Go on guys, and good travel! Here is a photo of the group.

The most difficult part of the day arrived in Verín, a locality situated in low ground: vertiginous descent to arrive and an incredible climb to get out (and this appears on km. 100, when we have 56 km. more before finishing the stage). We ate in a park before going ahead. Shortly after we restarted, blue palette of “slow – moving car”, which means that we are near an important climb: we have to gather strength, grind our teeth and begin to climb.   We are starting to dislike this traffic sign.

After this climbing remaining path to Ourense was a complete “leg breaker”/ I no longer know how much food, water and fruit we had that day.

Finally we arrived at Ourense at 21:30, had diner and went to bed.

3RD stage Camino Santiago Levante. Following Don Quijote

Posted by admin On Mayo - 23 - 2010

Third day: Albacete- El Toboso: 141 km. 5:50´ hours.

Ivan: This stage is suitable for running, grinding your teeth and training courageously. We had a slight breeze coming from the south-west that accompanied us and made the ride easier. Moreover, the road was favourable, with not too many ascends or descends. In fact, apart from the final stretch, the road was pretty flat.  On the other hand, the angst, the will, the precipitation or the anger (I think because we were carrying an all-red equipment) ;) gave us a rough time. In four hours we had covered more than 100 km of the whole road, and if we consider that the first hour is usually for warm-up, it meant that during three hours we had carried on an average of 28km/hour, which on a tandem bike is already something, but if you further add a load of about 30 kilos, it is more than enough for amateurs like us.  The last hour became almost two, ruining our whole average, along with our legs. And a journey that a priori seemed easy and didn’t seem to hide any problems, ended up exhausting us.

Other than that, we met, as usual, many curious people that encourage you with support and questions, like for example the guys from the DIEGO bar at Minaya, with whom we held a cheerful chat about our trip and of course, of the curiosities rose by our special vehicle: our tandem bike.

As a last curiosity, our night at El Toboso was spent in the convent of Trinitarias, a fantastic architectonic complex with wonderful surroundings. Upon entering, I experienced the first anecdote. Imagine the entrance like the entrance of a church (evidently). To talk to the nuns you must call a bell. After this, they greet you with the usual ´hail purest Mary´, to which I, being a complete ignorant of the matter and due to lack of practice, almost answered by saying “hello, good afternoon”. Thank god my colleague J.L., attentive and alert, came forward and answered with the corresponding ‘conceived without sin’.

JL: We continued without running into other pilgrims going towards Santiago de Compostela. I guess this route of is not as transited as the north road, and also the date does not correspond to high season. However, on these dates, the fields are beautifully died with a reddish colour due to the poppy flowers. Everything is in abundance. If you throw the guy from the TV show Survivors with just a machete, you will pick him up seven days later weighing 4 more kilos.

We have arrived to El Toboso. This town has some interesting things. The church dedicated to San Antonio Abad dated from the 17th Century, from the late gothic and renaissance period. You can also visit Dulcinea´s house and the Cervantino Museum. But its true gem is without a doubt the Trinitarias Convent where we stayed the night. It has an explanatory plate on the outside where it further states that it is usually called the “Escorial de la Mancha”. This confused me because as far as I knew, that title belonged to the Ucles Monastery. In any case, both are worth visiting.

What surprised me the most is that they charged us 50 Euros per night including breakfast (the price of a 2 or 3 star hotel) and the room was a humble chamber with a bathroom with no hot water or soap bar (and no receipt). Anyway, anything for a good cause.

Worth tasting are the local wine, the lamb and the “duelos y lamentos”, a typical dish of the area.

We leave you with a video showing the pretty field of Castilla de la Mancha thanks to the poppy flowers. Greetings from El Toboso!

First stage: Camino Santiago de Levante: Benicasim – Xativa. 158 kms, in 7 hours and a half.

The fist day of the pilgrimage has been long and tough. We covered the distance through not very beautiful spots, since the Castellón and Valencia flats is an area infested by industrial parks and a lot of traffic.

On the other hand, people never stop surprising you. Near Sagunto, we met some employees of CEPSA in a gas station who at first were surprised to see our special vehicle, but on seeing the shell hung on our luggage, a complicity emerged right away: pilgrims?? we began on 6th June!!! We could see that the trip was organised by the company for which they work, BRAVO FOR CEPSA!!

After the compulsory photos, which they promised they would put on the company web site, we carried out our trip with renewed energies.

We crossed the centre of Valencia, that’s how we enjoyed the warmth of the Valencian people, or that’s what I thought, because some excited comments can have different interpretations:

yeeeeep!!

che, que collons!!

vale, vale!

ahí, ahí, ahí!

ssssi señor!

tira-li valent!

con dos cojones!!

uarghh,yeahhh!!

ahí parits!!

And other comments I wouldn’t know how to write. And this without the World Cup having started yet!

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