Day 29: Puebla to Lubián … Or: frozen pilgrims served with chestnuts

October 28, 33ish km

It was a bit of a shock stepping out of our snug albergue this morning. Daylight savings finished last night so we got an extra hour of sleep, but I could have stayed in bed a lot longer. A clear and pale blue sky was a frozen dome above the sleeping Sunday morning town. Alvaro said, yeah it’s cold! Probably about six degrees. Six degrees? I says, more like six below! He jumped in his van to take it ahead and ride back to meet us on his bike and called out from the window: it’s not minus six, it’s only minus three! It’s so cold it’s impossible to hold onto my sticks. After just a minute or two my hands are numb and painful. So I keep them clenched in my jacket pockets and grip the sticks under an arm. Awkward.

The landscape as we wend beside the Tera is beautiful and otherworldly. Poplars shine in the sky golden yellow and their leaves crunch underfoot fringed with ice. To either side the thistles and dead summer leftovers are dusted with silver and from a distance is all soft grey-white. When the sun catches a field it sparkles and glints in tiny rainbow prisms. Ice in puddles makes shadows on the mud like clumped snowflakes. There’s such a contrast between discomfort of body and delight of the spirit as this new beauty graces us. It is an intimate and wondrous showing. A drip constantly sits at the end of the nose. The red nose.

A few hours later and the sun is high in a cloudless sky. Letizia and I are grinning like cats as we stretch and sunbathe in a white-stoned plazita. The mountain pass, and highest point on the Camino Sanabrés is behind us, and we are eating our salads with hard-boiled eggs, fresh walnuts – a gift from Marie in Santa Croya a couple of days back – and dark chocolate.

Lubián sits in a forest of oaks and chestnut trees, a little pueblo with as many ruined houses as still-standing ones. They are all as beautiful to my eyes as each other: stone walls and slate rooves, moss-covered walls and gardens full of cabbages, leeks, pumpkins and the tail end of the summer crop eeking out the last of the sun’s ripening rays. Spanish pilgrim Miguel Angel shows us hot to roast chestnuts on the electric stove and we eat mountains of them, plucked fresh and fat from the track.

Camino gastronomico!

Buen provecho amigos,

Love, Wildgoose


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