Walking in Spain along the Camino Ignaciano from Loyola to Manresa, and the Camino de Invierno from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela

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Monday, 10 October 2016

Verdú and beyond, to la Panadella

Today we left the lovely albergue, run by the nuns, in Cervera and made our way to la Panadella.  It has been a gorgeous day for walking as it has been quite cool, and at one point we stopped and put coats on ourselves and rain covers on our packs.  We've had some interesting experiences, and met some lovely people over the past few days.

Confusion reigned when we departed Palau d'Anglesola, with the pension owner under the impression that she was taking all four pilgrims and delivering them to two seperate places.  Pam and Julie thought they were doing a combined bus / train journey to Bellpuig to pick up the path from there. After sorting it out, she then dropped Simon and I at one point a few kilometres out of town, taking the other two onto Bellpuig, which I walked through a few hours later.  This is apple and pear country, and I passed orchard after orchard of laden trees in the process of being harvested.  As I approached at one point I observed one of the workers disappear down a row, only to reappear with two golden delicious apples for me, a delightful smile, and a "Buen Camino".  The Day warmed up and I was really grateful for those apples when I took a couple of rest breaks later in the afternoon from the hot sun.
A fully laden apple tree.
Simon disappearing into the distance on the way to Bellpuig.
There were a number of quarries on this day.  Once they had been worked out they are returned to crops.
Just one ruin along the way.
Passing through Bellpuig I could hear a strange, loud, "clacking" sound.  Looking up, this was the cause of it.

Verdú was an interesting village with a 5 star albergue, where we hosted by our charming hospitalero, Veronika.  Another night where we had the pleasure of Simon's company.  Verdú is the birth place of Saint Peter Claver (our albergue was named after him), a man famed for his work among slaves, who fought hard to make their lives better, against some pretty stiff opposition at the time.  The whole village was friendly, from the people in the bar where we had dinner, to the lady watering the pot plants in the street as I left.

Leaving Verdú the hillside was shrouded in mist which didn't clear until I was almost in Tàrrega.  I fluffed around here, visiting the church, and taking some time for breakfast.  This was just as well, as there was nowhere else open until I reached my destination for the night.  Pam and Julie were motoring along, whereas I was limping when I started and trying hard to take slower smaller steps, in an effort not to lengthen the tendon anymore.  Out of interest, I have been doing 15 lots of 2 special calf exercises 3 times, night and morning.  My ankle is still swollen, still a bit sore, still slow to crank up after a rest, but I am now walking normally 80% of the time.
Looking back towards Verdú rising from the mist.
Just one of the buildings in Verdú, a very neat and tidy village.
Is it alive or just cold?  I didn't try and find out!

As I was about 4 kms out of Tàrrega I was surprised to find Simon had caught me up.  Somehow he had got lost on the way out of Verdú, and so ended up behind me.  It was lovely to walk with him for an hour or so, but I eventually had to stop for a rest - his legs, and therefore his stride, are much longer than mine, especially at present, and it wasn't fair to hold him back.
Tàrrega, glistening in the morning sun.
Simon heading towards Cervera in the distance.

The past few days I have seen a lot of ruins in the paddocks.  Much like one sees in the North of South Australia.  Because, in other parts of Spain that I have been to, the houses are all in villages, including the dilapidated and the ruined, this stands out for me.  I have only noticed this in Catalunya, though for all I know it could be noticeable in other parts of Spain I have yet to visit.  The other ruins that stand out are castles atop hills, some more ruined than others.
More ruins.
An adobe ruin.

Cervera is an interesting town - on a hilltop, and a steepish one at that!  It is an historical town with really narrow streets, so narrow that for cars to make a right angled turn into another street it is necessary to make it a three point turn!  This morning we watched a man drive his car through one little curve, stopping to tuck his mirrors in, running back, and approaching at a slightly different angle and after about 8 minutes he inched his way forward! In our Refugio last night we shared, not only with Simon, but also a Spanish bikogrino, who had no idea what quiet packing was, and who took an inordinate amount of time to pack this morning.  Though we had said goodbye to Simon last night, he was up early to catch a taxi to where we were headed, and from there make his way to Igualada.  It was great having his company for a few days and we will miss him.
With steep stairs, this was one street that could only be walked.
Looking back at Cervera, with its very wide and long castle wall.
The facade of the University building in Cervera.  This building was where Ferdinand and Isabella signed a contract ensuring that she would never be in a position of loosing the power she wielded.  It was also a concentration camp during the Civil War and later, during WW2, holding allied soldiers trying to get back to their armies.
I went wandering in Cervera and saw this across the valley.
Julie descending from Cervera.

Today has got us half way to Igualada, to la Panadella, which we are planning to reach tomorrow.  La Panadella is tiny, and basically a stopping place for road travellers on there and from where I'm not sure, but it is a very busy place.  Igualada here we come!
It is such a great treat seeing the shepherd lead his flock out to the paddocks.  Some of these sheep were loitering, but quickly joined the flock when he called.
We have been following the orange arrows.
Heading to la Panadella.

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