For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Monday, 1 December 2008

A Lunar Landscape

I took my last look from the viewpoint of Arrés over the flat, fertile plain of the Canal de Berdún ('canal' here means 'channel' or 'depression'). Berdún is the little hilltop pueblo you can see in the far distance ...


Leaving the albergue in Arrés behind me ...



... I scrambled down this short gully or barranco ...



... to rejoin the Camino, which now led through a lunar landscape of ash-grey rock dissected by deep gorges. These alluvial deposits had hardened over the millenia ...


... into strange shapes, such as this outcrop which recalled the petrified foot of some gigantic, prehistoric beast ...



At 1st glance this landscape doesn't seem natural at all, does it? It looks like the detritus from some recent quarrying or road mending activities. Yet I assure you it is wholly natural. Erosion happens on the steeper slopes - the gentler slopes are still covered in scrubby vegetation. The surface of the rock thus exposed is a mass of tiny fragments, which resemble road chippings - but beneath this loose surface the rock is as hard as granite ...


Birds of prey patrolled the arable fields of the Canal - mostly kites, I think. They seemed larger than English kites, but I'm no real expert. A snake played dead on the path - or maybe it was just basking in the sun. It uncoiled and hissed when I poked it with the tip of my walking pole. It did not have the yellow collar of the grass snakes I'd previously seen on the path. Most likely it was a young ladder snake. I passed this old, shepherd's hut ...


... and finally reached Artieda, another hilltop village, and my destination for the day. The 1st thing I did on arrival was check into the private albergue by the church and take an hour's rest. I nearly fell asleep. The soles of my feet had been hurting badly again all afternoon ...


2 comments:

The Weaver of Grass said...

Still enjoying your journey.
Thanks for the tip to read McFarlane - shall look for it on my next library trip as I do enjoy Deakin. Have you read Waterlog?

The Solitary Walker said...

I do appreciate your interest. Waterlog is fab.