Camino Frances (Part 7) : Finding my mojo on the Maseta
Updated: Jul 13, 2019
The Maseta, the large flat plains of central Spain. It starts just after Burgos and ends in Astorga. I loved the Maseta! I would walk the Maseta over and over.... I found my rhythm there, my mojo... I found me!
By the time you reach the Maseta, you have been over mountains (if you started in St Jean Pied de Port and walked the Napoleon route), through glades, across wine farms, up hills and down valleys. You would have stopped in the beautiful city of Burgos and refreshed yourself for the next stage of your journey.
To walk on the plains of the Maseta, with the most gorgeous fields of wheat, barley and whatever else they grow in the "bread basket of Spain" and have the wind blowing across the fields literally bringing them to life, is to my mind the place of peace and discovery.
A place where the gravel road you are walking on can be seen for kilometres/miles ahead. You can see it literally disappear on the horizon. A road that is flanked by fields that appear alive, almost as if it is dancing to the music of the birds that accompany you along the way. You would be forgiven if you thought that the birds followed you on the Camino but it sure feels like they do. Not a day went by where their music didn't support your thoughts and senses. It is on the Maseta that they are the most noticeable probably because there are no rivers, creeks or streams to drown out their chirping and song.
Some say the Maseta is boring... and some simply bus forward to Astorga to avoid it. For me the Maseta was the part of the Camino where I spent many hours in a walking meditation. I was able to find the space to be so present in the very moment, that kilometres/miles would simply melt into time and space. I absolutely loved the Maseta.
The beauty of the fields of green, moving and dancing to the breath of the wind presenting you with a palette of greens that is indescribable. The green only broken by the bright red of the odd wild poppy. Just gorgeous.
From Burgos we walked through wind, rain and sunshine. We experienced the beautiful villages of Hornillos, Catrojariz, Frómista, Carrión de los Condes, Legidos and then to the halfway mark of Shahagún. This is where Helen and I decided to splash out and book into a hotel for the night. What a treat! We bathed and spoilt ourselves with bubbles and bath salts. Slept between crisp white sheets that night too! Oh the little pleasures of life!
I felt so proud of myself, having got this far. Halfway to Santiago - and I was feeling the best I had felt in years. By now I was on auto pilot. Each morning I would wake and lie listening to the other pilgrims leaving. I would get up and be ready to start the day by 07h30. We would walk for at least 5 - 6 kms ( about 3,5 miles) and find a spot to stop for breakfast. Mostly we would be lucky and find a cafe in a little village. We were averaging 20 - 25 kms (12 - 15 miles) per day. Initially we would take most of the day to walk this distance, but by now we would reach our destination just after lunch instead of late afternoon. I was definitely walking fit and loving it.
From Shahagún we headed out to Calzadilla, opting to take a detour away from the highway. It was a great decision until the walk toward Mansilla de las Mulas - which was hell. The gravel road turned to a stoney road and in spite of my Salomons, my feet took a beating from those many many pebbles. Staying in my walking meditation proved quite difficult, but I was only too glad that I was able to meditate and redirect my attention to my breath.
Helen was also the right kind of tonic to walk that kind of walk - she could always find the funny side of things and before you could get into any kind of negative space, you found yourself laughing. Oh my Helen... what a tonic!
We left early the next morning, walking in our usual ritual and stopping for our breakfast in the first village we came across. We were able to bus into Leon later that day, opting to rather do this than walk the streets of the outlying industrial area of Leon.
We spent 2 days in Leon. What a city. Again we checked into a hotel and enjoyed a little luxury.
The Maseta ended for us here as we opted to bus to Astorga. The route out of Leon was mainly roads and this did not appeal to either of us. The Maseta for me was the phase of intospection, reflection and finding my mojo!