(Day 15 continued)
I managed to get good and lost today. There was a weird intersection of roads in the middle of some fields that was signed in an odd fashion . . . I took what I thought was the correct way and was totally wrong. I found myself at an old firebreak, and the guide mentioned a firebreak so I followed it, again in the wrong direction. Just as I was about to give up a tractor drove past on the road I’d been looking for; it was hidden in the brush not 50 yards from where I was standing. I took the road around to Bolea, turning an easy 20km day into a long, 25km cross country day.
But the past two days have been days of beautiful, perfect country roads. Even when lost I found myself in places so beautiful. At one point I was following a country road (which stretched for kilometers in each direction) with the mountains on my right partially visible above through the mist while on the left a huge empty field swept up the side of the mesa. It was dotted with islands of unplowed earth, each dominated by a single tree that I knew must be massive but from my distance looked miniature. I actually thought about sleeping there, snug in the dry grass amongst a sea of brown earth, but not tonight. It’s going to be a cold one.
As the elevation increases, the land opens up. It feels bigger somehow. Since yesterday the farms are bigger and the landscape more remote. Maybe the proximity of the mountains helps . . . I saw frost this morning. Elevation 700m and climbing, according to my guidebook.
I’m spending the night in an odd little albergue. The friendly lady I talked to at the edge of town (who is hosting a twelve year old Ukranian orphan) told me to ask at the Bar Rufino; the brusque barman gave me the keys (I think the albergue takes business from his Casa Rural upstairs) to a strange set of rooms off of the local elementary school gymnasium. The kitchen and baths are downstairs and the beds are up, but they’re connected by a passage that is open to (but separate from) the gym floor. I’m listening to basketball practice right now.