A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Thursday, 4 December 2008

A Flock Of Vultures

The Camino continued gently up a long, agricultural valley. I met not a soul - not a farmer, not a walker, not a pilgrim. The skyline was etched with whirling, spindly giants. The Spanish have invested heavily in wind turbine technology. This is probably not the time or place to put forward the pros and cons of wind power. Suffice to say that many hitherto pristine mountain horizons have now been blighted by these modern-day windmills (I don't know the Spanish word for 'wind turbine' but the French word is éolienne, which I think sounds rather beautiful)...




I was daydreaming my way along this easy track when I suddenly became aware of some strange calls in the sky. I didn't know the source at first. Then I saw them - a high-flying flock of between 60 and 70 large, broad-winged birds heading south. These were griffon vultures - possibly on a short migratory course to somewhere else in Spain. The increase in griffon vulture numbers over the past few years is one of Spain's great ornithological breeding success stories. Apparently most vultures are not very vocal, so I was lucky to hear them. I see I noted in my diary that the noise sounded like a flock of farmyard chickens.

I passed a field full of cows with bells around their necks. As well as taking photos of roundabouts, taking photos of cows was also becoming a bit of a habit...


After the villages of Abínzano...



... and Izco...



... I crossed this footbridge over a stream and followed a lovely path at first by poplars and then through pinewoods...



... until, guided as always by the starburst and scallop shell signs...



... I entered Monreal. It was 5 pm and I'd been walking for over 7 hours...



This was the view from my bunk bed in the albergue - certainly one of the best dormitory window views I ever had...



... and this is the hospitalera-bartender-shopkeeper (the shop was literally just a few shelves at the back of the bar) - with pilgrims Carlos and Javi (Javier), who are relaxing in the time-honoured pilgrim manner...

1 comment:

forest wisdom said...

Dear Solitary Walker,
I continue to thoroughly enjoy your blog, these accounts of your adventures and your splendid photos to accompany. Thank you.

Since I don't seem to be able to locate an e-mail address anywhere on your blog or profile, I wonder if I could make a request of you...?

I would like to ask you some off blog questions and discuss some things regarding European hiking/backpacking, etc. Would it be possible for you to e-mail me so that I can shoot you back a reply with my questions?

You can reach me at canoeinthemist @ gmail.com

Thank you, and I hope to hear from you.

Peace