As you can probably deduce from the title of this post, I made it to the half way point today!!
The achievement is beautifully marked just as one enters the town of Sahagun. Two large statues loom over the dirt track, creating a gateway of sorts for the pilgrim to pass through.
I, for one, was delighted to see them. I had been on the lookout for them all day as I wasn't entirely sure where they were and didn't want to accidentally bypass them while on one of my main road deviations.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I began the day at that truck stop I mentioned in my last post.
I woke late, as usual, and hit the road for about 10am. The distance to cover was around the 45km mark.
My first milestone was entering the town of Carrion de los Condes.
This is where I officially rejoined the traditional Camino Frances trail following my slight detour two days ago.
I was delighted to see fellow pilgrims once again. Even though you wouldn't talk extensively with very many of them, there is still a lot of comfort to be taken from the fact that you are surrounded by others who also have the same crazy goal as you do.
We may not exchange any words, but as soon as you see someone with a walking stick and a backpack, a Camino shell dangling from their person, you know they are a kindred spirit.
Oddly, you don't feel as alone in the world when there are other pilgrims out and about.
And so I went out of my way to talk to people today. I met a lovely guy from The Netherlands who was cycling to Santiago all the way from Bilbao, and another cyclist who was from Costa Rica.
Meanwhile, in Carrion, I visited yet another church.
By this point in the journey I was also reaping the benefits of some bicycle alterations I carried out the night before.
Sick of the shooting pain in my wrists and hands, I decided it surely wasn't a normal ache and realised my saddle was probably slightly too high, resulting in my shifting undue weight onto my hands while cycling.
I figured I needed to shift some of the pressure into my torso which is better equipped to deal with it.
So I lowered the seat by about an inch, and angled the saddle back a little, and hoped for the best.
Low and behold, my hands don't hurt as much today!
My ass, however, is a different story.
After Carrion, I continued on through Calzadilla de la Cueza, Ledigos, Terradillos de Templarios (named after the famous Knights Templar order which had a huge influence on the Camino way), and finally the towns of Moratinos and San Nicolas del Real Camino.
The terrain was largely the same as it has been for the last few days - undulating fields of yellow and orange baking in the heat... a concrete road with a dirt track running beside it for the pelegrinos... the frequent rustle of a lizard on the side of the road, scurrying away from you as you pass... and the occasional glimpse of a hawk or a falcon or an eagle as it swoops away from your presence.
One also passes a number of discarded boots along the way...
...and monuments which pilgrims have placed their stones upon.
But the highlight of my day was, as aforementioned, reaching the Camino Frances half way mark.
I won't lie - I shed a tear or two when the marker came into view, and felt an odd mix of relief, pain, achievement, thirst, and sheer exhaustion.
Overall, however, it was a good feeling. I'm at the 390km mark and from now on the distance is weighted in my favour. Every step I take, every peddle I make, brings me that much closer to Santiago.
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