Camino - Day 2
After last night’s weather forecast, expected today to be another bright, sunny day; no such luck. Tomorrow, Saturday is scheduled to be wet, cold and rainy and since it’s a 24K walk, not looking forward to it, but expected that today we would have an easy walk and a sunny day. Neither prediction lived up to expectations.
Overcast, cool and threatening day. We were on the road by 9:15 and after a walk of about 1K we were once more on the Camino. If you’re wondering, there is no one specific Camino route. There are a number of possible routes, 2 or 3 or 4 slightly differing ways to choose from, some running along public roads and secondary highways, others cross fields and through woods and across country. Rarely, depending on terrain, they converge for a while into one path and for the rest of the time each wanders its way toward the one place that they all lead to, Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Each path is marked by roughly painted yellow arrows and/or signs with yellow scallop shells depicted. These are painted on walls, lamp posts, rocks any appropriate surface and appear every couple of hundred metres but always around forks in roads, turns or changes in direction. The right path is marked with a yellow arrow and the wrong path with a yellow X. Their appearance is unpredictable but if you haven’t seen one after a kilometre or so, you know that you have lost the trail.
Our hotel last night was about 1k off the Camino trail that we are following so we had to work our way back on to the trail before we could start moving toward our day’s destination. I have been using Google maps to help navigate and since Google maps does not include Camino trails, sometimes Googles’ suggested route matches the Camino route, particularly when it’s on public roads but can go far adrift when it’s cross country. I had entered our days destination in Google maps before we started, so that all else failing we could still get to our destination even if we came adrift.
After about 2 hours walking I decided to check Google to see if I could get an approximate sense of our location and our destination. Google claimed that we were about 10K off our line and a couple of hours walk away from our destination. Since the day’s walk was only supposed to be 11K it appeared as if we had come badly adrift, even though we were seeing yellow arrows all along the way. I let everyone know and we decided to follow Google’s route which was largely along a secondary highway with stone walls along both sides and about 2 feet between the walls and the road, no fun with trucks screaming by. I decided to walk through the fields which bordered the highway but on the other side of the walls. I quickly found myself in wet, waist-deep alfalfa which was taxing to try and break a way through and no way to get back to the other side of the walls. After about a 7 or 800 metres of this exhausting hiking I found a place where I could get up the top of the wall, about 3 metres high at this point and jump down into the road, which I did forgetting that I had a backpack with about 5 or kilos of stuff which added to my momentum. Fell on my tail, not a happy camper.
Consulting with Google again, I quickly realized that we were heading in the absolute wrong direction and had walked about 2K out of our way. Somehow, Google had flipped/reverted today's destination with yesterday’s destination and we in fact were walking back to last night’s hotel by a Google route.
Retraced our steps, got back on the marked Camino trail and after another hour’s walk arrived at our destination after a 15K hike.
Postscript: V read this and called to tell me to lose the GPS and use a real map. I'm sure she's right.....