Ah – at long last the Meseta! Having been born in the mid north of South Australia I was looking forward to experiencing this much maligned area of Spain – read the books!
The Magic Of The Meseta… In Early Autumn
As I walked out of Burgos, I thought “flat, dull, boring, nothing to see. Mile upon mile (kilometres) of same old same old”.
What a wonderful surprise! Around every bend, along every straight stretch, there was a little gem to lighten the load and lift the plod. What magical things did I see and share with my walking friend Ali and any other pilgrim willing to listen. The vistas were amazing. I could see for miles and miles; the open country gave me a feeling of space, lightness and freedom. The undulating hills presented a target to walk towards to and I could enjoy the fields and paddocks, a patchwork of browns and taupes and anything in between. All the crops had been harvested (except sun flowers), some fields had been ploughed for next year’s sowing and some had been left fallow. Some had the plough furrows going across and some up and down: from my viewpoint, a riot of colour and patterns. While walking, I spent time musing on what crops had been harvested this year and what may be sown for next season.
Canals and ploughed fields (near Poblacion)
Where were the animals? There was a lot of hay and haystacks but no animals. There were also no fences. We were told that the dairy cattle were kept in barns all year round while the beef cattle were allowed outside to graze. Okay, no beef cattle in that part of Spain and no sheep either, although I did once see a shepherd with a small flock of sheep.
Via Aquitana, the Roman road to Caldazilla
The roadside vegetation was wonderful. All along were little wildflowers – pink, blue, yellow, white and even mauve thistles. One day we passed a (little) clump of crocuses in the middle of the path. Ali and I just stood in awe as no one had stepped on them, but on chatting to people later, no one had even seen them. The same with a couple of small clumps of poppies (well out of season) at the side of the road.
Dawn. Up early, get an early start to the day and wait for the sun to come up, approximately 8.15am. There did not seem to be a pre-dawn: dark one minute and then bright daylight the next. But we cast long beautiful shadows, in front of us, as we were walking west of course. Dawn also brought the fabulous smell of the dew on the new-mown hay. And the freshly ploughed ground. How delicious. Beautiful country smells that connected me with the earth.
We walked along long straight roads past canals and waterways, down into dry creek beds and even stumbled on a labyrinth. We checked the flowers daily, sat in the grass at the side of the path and picnicked (only to pass a pop-up van 100m down the road). There were rises, clumps of trees, all targets to walk to. We had blackberries on our walk and often stopped and finished breakfast with a feast of these delicious fruits. We watched the farmers go to their fields about 10am… not much work till siesta time. Knowing there was somewhere to stay at the end of the day and most of all a long cold beer. How much better can it get!