Do Angels drive Tractors ?

Castilblanco de los Arroyos Travel Blog

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The first of many Pilgrim signs to show me the way.
I have now completed the first 55 km but firstly let me backtrack a little to set the scene.
Yesterday morning I set off from Eduardoś at 6.30am arriving at the Sevilla Cathedral at 7.15, although these first 3km do not count - just a warmup.

After accosting a bewildered passer by for a photo I triumphantly took my first steps following the Scallop shell plaque of the Camino de Santiago. From this moment on I would be using the shells and more often painted yellow arrows (flechas amarillos!) to navigate the length of Spain.

The exit from Sevilla was warm and sunny, as the city wiped sleep from its ancient eyes. I crossed into the old quarter of Triana, past the market and out through industrial land.
Countryside from Sevilla to Guillena. Fields of sunflowers on a sunny day
Most of the scenery was not trhillinh and from an early hour the sun was beating down. My first stop was after 10km at a lovely little village called santioponce. As I had not eaten, I selected the busiest bar and plonked myself at the counter along with the working boys for a cafe con Leche and tostada con Jamon y Queso (cured ham and cheese toast). How wonderful it was. As I was perched there basking in the chance to rest and smile at the locals, the bar owner came up to me to wish a Buen Camino and give me a gift of a keyring fromthe bar. It now proudly swings from my small bolsa (bag).

The town is also the site of significant 'Roman' ruins and I took a slight detour to inspect. It was stil only 9.30 am and I was glad to be one of the first to arrive as the buses come thick and fast from Sevilla every day.
Italica - the Roman ruins. A fun playground
I was like a kid in a candy store wandering around to stare in wonder at the beautiful mosaic work, still in gorgeous colour and well preserved. The Amphitheatre is one of the largest in Europe and has many underground tunnels and rooms where people and animals were transported. It was a hoot to explore.

The fun has to end some time so I hauled mi Mochilla (backpack) on again and off I went following flechas!. The walk was quite boring after the first km through sunflower and cotton fields along a gravel road. It was quite undulating and there were many hills to climb. At one point I reached the crest and noticed a tractor in the dip. It stopped and appeared to be waiting for me so I watched what would happen as I got closer. The driver swung open the door and at once a stream of Spanish exploded, most of which I could not immediately make out. After some to-ing and fro-ing I finally understood that the stream had flooded not far frm here and the road was not passable. My lovely driver, Luis offered to take me in his tractor (and attached trailor) across the stream. I clambered up the steps and griopped onto the door as he swung the whole rig around, forded the stream and dropped me off before continuing on his merry way (after another u-turn). So you see, Angels DO drive tractors. One of my prayers in Santiago will be for Luis for reminding me of the kindness of strangers.

After another 15kn of hot hot hot walking, I finally arrived in the small town of Guillana. How gorgeous with itś whitewashed houses and wide yellow trims. The little town square were cool and shady, as usual lined with trees and potted colour.
The local Policia (muy Guapo !!) gave me my sello (pilgrim stamp) and directed me to a small bar/pension for my first night.

On arrival I met up with a couple of 'bici'pilgrims (bicycle) that I had met earlier inthe day. I should say at this point that both yesterday and today, I have not met any other walking pilgrims on the road but a couple in the evenings. All have been Spanish.
So I spent the next few hours drinking coffee and laughing my head off with the old bici pilgrims befoer they headed off for another 30km.

After settling in to my teeny room I headed off for 'wanders'. This is a typical part of the pilgrim day where you go for a reconnaissance walk to find the way out of town for the morning in case it is a little dark. Once completed I settled in to a bar to watch some bullfighting on TV (Not making any judgement here). The lovely young barman Ruben helped me choose some local vino and I settled in to write my diary. Three glasses later and I realised that I had not eated since breakfast so returned to my pension for a meal. The typical pilgrim fare is a 'menu del dia' consisting of 2 or three courses and a drink (this time water) for about 8-10 Euros.

I caught up with my barman friend for coffee and then off to bed (alone). I did not leave early today as the walk was an 'easy'one of 20km. Although not far, it was very tough as the sun was doing its best again and there was no shade the entire way. The last 4km were along a track next to the roadway but the bush was so overgrown my legs were scratched and stinging by the time I arrived.

Tonight I am staying in a Pilgrim Albergue in a dorm with bunks. I am the only chica as usual. There are about 6 Italian bici pilgrims (always over 60!) and 2 Spanish walking chicos.
I have already had lunch with one and he speaks broken English to me and I speak broken Spanish to him. I think we can both make ourselves understood. Tonight I want to look inside the 16th Century church- maybe there will be a pilgrim mass?

It is now nearly 8pm and the free internet stops soon so I will depart until the next installment.
Enjoy your own pilgrimage and know that my prayers are for you all. Ultreya!
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The first of many Pilgrim signs to…
The first of many Pilgrim signs t…
Countryside from Sevilla to Guille…
Countryside from Sevilla to Guill…
Italica - the Roman ruins. A fun p…
Italica - the Roman ruins. A fun …
Castilblanco de los Arroyos
photo by: Gracethepilgrim