September 22, 2018
We shared our 4-bed room with two young Italian men last night. One spoke a little English, the other spoke Spanish. They had started hiking in Burgos and will finish in León because they have to get back to work. Many people do Camino in stages like that due to lack of time.
Food is never an issue on the Camino. We eat well and cheaply. Lots of snacking on the trail, followed by a late, huge lunch with a bottle of wine (it comes with the lunch so we have to drink it😊). Then a very light dinner of fruit and yogurt. Today is an exception. We stopped at a restaurant along the way for breakfast, which we usually don’t do, and we were rewarded with churros con chocolate.
Dinner is offered at our albergue, El Jardin del Camino, in Mansillas de Mulas, so we ate a light lunch.
After our rather luxurious accommodations of last night, we are in an albergue with 11 bunk beds in one room. We got in around 1:00, and the place was full. Luckily, we had reserved two beds yesterday, but I got the last lower bunk and Enrique is in the bunk above.
With my blisters feeling better, I was able to walk around town today. Parts of the wall and gates from the Middle Ages are still standing. In one archway, I saw a man wearing a Beto for senator t-shirt. I asked him if he was from Texas, which he was, and he asked me to take a picture of him because he had promised Beto he’d take a photo of his t-shirt in Spain. I guess they’re friends.
We also found this statue of tired pilgrims and decided to join them.😊
September 21, 2018
People seem to be getting up earlier and earlier. When we hear people stirring, we get up, so today we were on the trail by 6:00AM. The sun is rising later and later, so we walked a lot in the dark before stopping for breakfast about four miles in.
The day went quickly with lots of distractions…two small towns and then the large town of Sahagun, with a visit to the farmacia (pharmacy) for supplies for my new blister. These pharmacies along the Camino will never go out of business. We also passed the geographical mid-point of the Camino, with this marker.
As we got close to Bercianos del real Camino, we saw a newish-looking albergue, La Perala, on the outskirts of town. We got beds in a room with only four beds and a private bathroom! It’s like a resort.
September 20, 2018
It was a rough night at the church of Santa Maria. The albergue had been remodeled, but there were forty-something beds and they were all in two big rooms that were only partly separated. There was more noise than usual and in the middle of the night, the man in the bunk above Enrique fell out of bed with a loud thud. Fortunately, he wasn’t hurt, but it was hard to go back to sleep after that.
People started stirring early, before five, which was strange because the door was locked until six, so a lot of people sat around waiting for the nun to unlock the door. I didn’t even want to think about what that would mean if there was a fire.
We left a little after six and had a long 16-mike trek through an area called the maseta. This area is flat, flat, flat with wheat fields on both sides and an occasional sunflower field. For miles, I walked and looked down the road that just seemed to stretch on forever.
Our destination is a town called Terradillos de los Templarios. It’s small, with not much to it except two albergues. Our albergue, Jacques de Molay, is like a little town on its own with a restaurant, bar, little store and an outside garden area, where we sat and relaxed for several hours in the afternoon and into the evening. The only thing it doesn’t have is wi-fi, so I’ll have to
post this tomorrow. Our room has only five beds here, and they are single beds, not bunks.
But the big news is that we have hit the halfway point! Today we completed 17 stages, with 16 left. It was hard to imagine reaching this point when we started our journey.
September 19, 2018
Every town in Spain has a church. Some towns have several. (The photo above is one of the churches in Fromista, built in 1066). The churches are all old and beautiful, with spires rising high above all the other buildings. In the flat landscape that we’re now walking in, the church spires can be seen from far away. That’s a problem because we spot the church and know that our destination is ahead, but then we walk many more miles before we actually get to town.
The trail split today in one section, with one route going along the river (longer) and one along the highway (shorter). We chose the river because it would be prettier, even though it was still dark, before sunrise. No one else chose that route, so we walked on a nice dirt road by ourselves for quite a while before merging with the other route and then arriving in town.
It was a short walk of 12 miles today, so we got to town at 11:00. There are only three albergues here in Carrion de los Condes, and all three are Catholic albergues run by the nuns of the church. We are staying in the church of Santa Maria. Unfortunately, the albergue didn’t open until noon, so we put our backpacks in the line to hold our spot and went to sit in a park with Carlos and Anya and then joined by Michelle and Gabby. Once the albergue opened, we waited in line for our beds, and then waited for the one and only shower. Luckily, the nuns had tea and snacks for us as we waited.
The town’s name, Carrion de Los Condes, comes from the legend of El Cid (we saw his statue in Burgos). According to the legend, Cid’s daughters married counts from this area and Cid had them killed because they tried to rob him. Condes means counts.
This is a cute little town, unlike Fromista, which was kind of run-down. After lunch and siesta, we went to a guitar concert in a small church. The guitarist was from Norway and he was very good.
September 18, 2018
We had another pilgrim’s dinner last night with people from our albergue. It’s a good way to get to know people, but Enrique says it creates groups of people who speak the same language, which is true, but unavoidable. He can sit with two groups and he’s really good at helping to translate for both groups. I talked with a couple from Canada, Vancouver Island.
It was a long day today of almost 16 miles. We started with a steep climb in the dark before sunrise, but most of the walk was flat. We had reserved our beds in our albergue, Estrella del Camino, in Fromista.
A few people from our albergue from last night are here and a few from the albergue the night before are here, also. We have lost a lot of people we met near the beginning of the journey. They are probably ahead of us. The only exception is Carol and Anya from Poland. We see them frequently and we’re always happy to see each other. They are young and so cute. In Burgos they bought new sleeping bags because the ones they had were too heavy. They wanted to send the heavy ones home, but we were in Burgos on Sunday and the post office was closed. No towns since then have had a post office, so they’ve been carrying two sleeping bags around. Today as they breezed by us, Carol (pronounced like Carl) yelled out, “Mission post office.” It closed at one so they had to rush to get to town.
The weather has been perfect. Clear, sunny days. It gets warm in the afternoon, but we have been finishing by 12:30, so we beat the heat.
September 17, 2018
Pilgrim dinner last night was interesting. About 12 of us from all over sitting at a long table enjoying paella and wine. Two pilgrims are from Gatineau, Canada, Jessie’s boyfriend’s home town. One of them, the man, kept saying he liked Americans, but I’m not so sure about that. One time he said he liked all Americans, except one, the leader. That was the first political statement I’ve heard on this whole journey.
The morning routine in the albergue was comical this morning. We were all tending to our feet with ointments and tape and Compeed, the Spanish version of moleskin. Seems like everyone is having problems, although my blisters were a little better today.
We had a short walk of 13 miles today. Luckily, we had made a reservation at an albergue last night for this town because the albergue was full when we got here and we got here before it opened. We already made a reservation for tomorrow night. The albergues we’ve been staying in the past few nights are private, smaller, quieter, generally older people than in the municipal albergues. This albergue has large dorm rooms, but single beds instead of bunk beds.
As we walked into town, we had a beautiful view of the church and an old castle on a hill overlooking town. We encountered a tour group from England walking through the town. One woman in the tour told me they were following the Camino route, but on a bus. She said they all felt guilty as they drove by pilgrims walking on the road this morning. Then the tour leader, a young guy, came over to talk to me. He whispered to me that he had to take the group slowly through town because they were all in their 60s and 70s. I told him I was in my 60s and he couldn’t believe it. I told him anyone can do Camino.😀 And then at our albergue we met a 75-year old man.
Today is the two-week mark of our journey. Hard to believe. Walking and doing laundry for 14 days.
September 16, 2018
My bed in the alcove at the albergue was so comfortable that I didn’t want to get up this morning. But I did. We had a shorter day planned today, 13 miles, but it was a hard day for me. I was tired most of the way. The trail was flat, (which I don’t like, I prefer hills) and rocky. According to our book, we need to prepare for days and days of flat trails through wheat fields.
We were nervous about finding a bed for the night because the trail was crowded today and I was walking slowly so everyone was passing us. When we arrived in Hornillos del Camino, we walked into the first albergue in town ( there were only three, it’s a small town). We asked for beds and the woman said she just had a cancellation and we got the last two beds. She put out the completo (full) sign. It’s a private albergue (not municipal), so smaller, with a lovely little backyard area and a pilgrim’s dinner tonight, where everyone will eat together at a large table. Paella, salad, dessert and wine.
I’ve been wondering how people are getting the time to do the Camino. Since we’re older than most, retirement is only an option for a few. Several people (including the couple from Poland) have told me they’ve quit their jobs and will look for work when they are done.