Today we walked Camino Madrid from Cigunuela to Castromonte(24km). The last 10 km was in seering heat, rising in waves from the hard sand underfoot. We started before the sun rose and the first two hours were magical even in this meseta of central Spain. The horizon stretched endlessly ahead and the straight road was just a narrow white strip in the shadowy moonscape. Tall bales of hay appeared at intervals creating Stonehenge -like shapes. On either side of the road there was a mix of poppies, thistles, coloured weeds. Corn crops were interspersed with newly planted alfalfa and red earth just hoed or lying fallow,
As we came towards Wamba the terrain changed. Suddenly we were climbing up cliffs into an old limestone village named after a Visigoth King Wamba in 672.
Nothing was open yet, so we walked through the sleeping village. I had a quick look at the limestone church dating from 928:Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion, unusual and historically interesting .
It was a quick look as we were so intent on reaching our destination before the heat set in.
It began to feel as if we were trying to win a race as our stride quickened and the sun rose higher. Next stop was in the bar of a town set high up on a rocky cliff , with the beautiful name Penaflor de Hornija. Time for a welcome coffee and coke.
The next 10km were hard with the sun now firmly in control and the temperature rising, We plodded on. I focussed on the flowers on either side of the path and slowed my breathing.
I felt hotter as each km slowly passed, and tireder. Parts of my body took a turn tormenting : first the hip, then a blistered toe, then my knee, then an ankle. I watched the side of the road for colour and movement , to distract myself from the discomfort. It was then I saw my blue butterfly.
It was moving softly amongst the cornflowers.Do blue butterflies exist?Can butterflies assume the colour of plants they settle on? Was the butterfly an illusion?It doesn’t matter because that blue butterfly kept me walking until Castromonte.