A Travellerspoint blog

March 2018

Day 22, León


View Deb's Camino de Santiago de Compostela on Deb Godley's travel map.

Just woke up. I've slept better the last two nights because I've been able to snag an extra pillow from an unused bed. They'd probably charge me double if they knew! Time for bacon & eggs! Then we walk to Leon, but it's only 18 k.

In Arcahueja, we stopped for the usual break - bathroom, hot water/coffee, snack, shoes off. Very nice full moon this morning and sunrise. And a picture of us starting out our last day walking together. Many meetings and partings on the Camino.

Luisa and I are staying at the Unamuno albergue and we've paid an extra 5€ each for a private room with a bathroom (!) ensuite. It's about 3 blocks from the cathedral. Paul opted to stay at an albergue farther from centro where he will meet up will friends. This place is fantastic! And the internet is fast even in the room.

Off to the shower...

We saw a spot for chocolate con churros for later. Doing laundry now, after lunch

Luisa and I toured the cathedral today, walked around the shops, had lunch and then snacks for dinner and finished off with chocolate con churros.

Here's a few pics from Leon's Gothic cathedral. The stained glass windows were amazing.

Full moon

Full moon

Lovely sunrise

Lovely sunrise

Our last day walking together

Our last day walking together

Unamuno albergue

Unamuno albergue

Lovely stained glass

Lovely stained glass

Leon cathedral

Leon cathedral

Posted by Deb Godley 16:49 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Day 21, Mansilla de las Mulas


View Deb's Camino de Santiago de Compostela on Deb Godley's travel map.

Stopped in El Burgo Ranero for non-sweet breakfast, Wi-Fi, bathroom and break.People are just calling me Canada - two cyclists just rode by and waved, yelling Canada! to me.

We're going to try for Mansilla de las Mulas today, 26.7 km to have a short walk into Leon tomorrow.

Arrived in Mansilla de los Mules... which means "handle on the saddle of the mules", apparently harking back to its days as a livestock market.

Nice albergue, 5€, plus 3€ for them to wash all my clothes - going commando, as we speak. There's a kitchen, so we are considering buying food and cooking dinner; on the other hand, there's a recommended restaurant around the corner...decisions, decisions. Nice sized town, so we'll have options.

Not much to see today; the path followed next to a road, with wheat or corn fields on each side all the way. We had a nice lunch on an invite from David (ND), who shared his meat, cheese, bread and dark chocolate (!), which was very nice and an enjoyable break.

I am very grateful to be walking. Several of my new friends have had to stop for physical reasons - bad blister, infections, reactions to bites, etc. I am happy that I have only the small blister to contend with, which makes me a bit slower, but hasn't stopped me.

It's true that the most important asset is healthy feet! Everyone has some foot issue. Whenever we stop and the shoes come off, I see a terrible array of messy feet or taped and bandaged feet. It's rare to see someone without any feet or leg problems. Besides the blister, I have bites on my legs, but nothing major.

I'm basically a bit drunk in the bar. Two 1906 Sam Miguel without food because no one is serving food during siesta. I've moved on to agua con gas con limon, but it's a bit late. We'll get food soon...

We're having chicken with pasta and peppers, artichoke hearts, cheese and tomatoes. It smells really good. Another guest gave us a bit of gazpacho to start. Yum. Dinner is almost ready. Gotta go...

Now we ate having chocolate covered dates...

Into Leon tomorrow. Luisa will continue on, so I won't see her after tomorrow. Not sure yet what Paul plans to do. He is making plans with some friends who have bused ahead to Leon.

We'll walk together tomorrow after Paul's bacon & egg breakfast (I am being so spoiled!) and then decide what we're going to do. I will for sure walk with Luisa to the other side of Leon, where the Parador is that I have booked for my rest day in Leon. I'll say goodbye to her there and then drop off my bag before exploring Leon.

Time for bed, after a fantastic evening sharing our meal with the group.

Roadside totem pole

Roadside totem pole

Church near el Burgos Renaro

Church near el Burgos Renaro

Paul and Luisa and I having a 1906 cerveza

Paul and Luisa and I having a 1906 cerveza

Me at the bar

Me at the bar

Luisa, Paco, Frin

Luisa, Paco, Frin

Paul, Leire, Aitor

Paul, Leire, Aitor

Sunset from Paul

Sunset from Paul

Posted by Deb Godley 16:40 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Day 20, Bercianos del Real Camino


View Deb's Camino de Santiago de Compostela on Deb Godley's travel map.

Started early at 6:26 and have walked 6k to a cafe for breakfast. Happily pain-free this morning. My blister has shrunk and I've taped it up. The new foot cream is really good and has stopped my heel from cracking.

Here we are at breakfast, Luisa just had the bar waiter take a picture of us. Also, the sunset this morning and the church in Moratinos, which was the previous town. You can see that there are some clouds building. I hope we avoid rain. There's none in the forecast, so fingers crossed.

We're about halfway through the day, sitting in Luna Cafe in Sahagun, which looks like a big town from the perspective of the places we usually pass, but is only about 2800 population.

Along the way we passed a camping/picnic park with weird seating of rusted metal.

We are in a bar in Bercianos del Real Camino and have showered, washed the clothes and are awaiting our selection of pizzas. I am drinking a great dark beer - a rare find in these parts. This one is called Grimbergen (a double-amber) and it references a 10� refund in Quebec. I've asked if Marc is familiar with it. Its very good! I've included a picture of the front and back of the bottle.

The albergue is nice and it's donativo, which means we will pay whatever we feel appropriate. The donation will include the sleeping/washing facilities plus a communal dinner, a sunset walk, and breakfast. We have the option of helping to prepare dinner as a group. Sounds good!

The pizza has arrived!

Breakfast in San Nicolas del Real Camino

Breakfast in San Nicolas del Real Camino

Sunrise this morning

Sunrise this morning

Passing the border from Palencia into Leon

Passing the border from Palencia into Leon

Statue at picnic park

Statue at picnic park

Strange seating

Strange seating

Grimbergen beer

Grimbergen beer

Rare train tracks

Rare train tracks

Posted by Deb Godley 16:35 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Day 19, Terradillos De Los Templarios


View Deb's Camino de Santiago de Compostela on Deb Godley's travel map.

We're taking a break after a 17 km stretch with no bathrooms. There was a food truck at the 10k point, but no bathrooms. I had a BBQ sausage sandwich at the food stop and here - fruit salad with yogurt (heaven!).

I'm walking with Paul and Luisa. Sam is a bit faster and we catch up with her at each stop. Also, Jaime just showed up, who I haven't seen since before Burgos. His feet are worse, it seems, but very nice to see him.

By the way, I have my maple leaf the right way up today. We passed a rest stop for Canada (? - see picture).

We've walked 17 k and have 9 more to go.

We arrived at the albergue by 1:30 or so, all of us hobbling a bit from the longer distance and difficult walk on stony paths. I walked the first 17 in my sandals, but the rocky path was more difficult in the sandals, so I switched to the shoes and was a bit better after additional taping of the blister.

The blister doesn't seem any worse, but also not any better. Once again it's very hot in the afternoon. I haven't been checking the temps, but we are certainly benefiting from early starts to finish before the hottest part of the day.

Not much to report. I am enjoying travelling with Paul and Luisa. We don't know where Sam ended up today. Luisa and I paid 10€ instead of 8€ to receive a double room to ourselves. The beds seems a bit "springy" so I commandeered a couple of blankets each to soften the beds a little. Nice to have a private room. Paul's in a room with 5 beds.

Not sure what we'll do this evening. Resting the feet is a must and the town is pretty small. I think we saw it all as we walked to this, the second albergue. The bar kitchen opens at 6 for dinner.

Terradillos de los Templarios is a former Knights Templar stronghold and the albergue is named for Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Order. According to the guidebook, this village is the approximate halfway point between SJPP and Santiago (although I thought it was Carrion, where we were last night).

There was an impromptu concert last night and I could hear a chorus of
hallelujahs from my room where I was resting. Nice way to end the day.

Rest stop for Canada

Rest stop for Canada

Leafs right side up

Leafs right side up

Posted by Deb Godley 16:32 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Day 18, Carrion de los Condes


View Deb's Camino de Santiago de Compostela on Deb Godley's travel map.

12:00 noon and we arrived in Carrion. Luisa and I had a great conversation and walk, stopping twice for 20-30 minutes each time. Still we arrived in good time, although with our stops, Paul and Sam arrived before us despite leaving later.

I loaned Luisa my sandals for the last 6 km so she could test to see if different shoes would help (also because it was painful to see her walk, especially after a break). Happily, it made all the difference and there is a great shop here (miraculously open on the feast day) where Luisa bought new hiking sandals and bought me replacements for all my blister supplies.

The Espiritu Santo albergue is in a sisters' residence (although they said not exactly a convent) and it is really fabulous. All single beds, great showers and washing facilities and a kitchen, and a courtyard with a basketball hoop (not sure if the nuns play?). Very nice and clean for 5€. Bargain. Paul, Sam and Coco have all arrived and are in the same dorm. Later, we'll go to the pilgrim's mass and blessing here at 7, which sounds really nice.

It's 2:30 now and I'm heading out for a cold drink with the others. Coco just arrived and is going to rest a while. There's several groups of elderly men playing various games - cards & dominoes, and we're watching the Olympics in what is clearly the local hang out for the retirees. Synchronized swimming is currently on.

Carrion is a much bigger town with several plazas and lots of shops, most of which were closed for the feast day (Santa Maria). For tomorrow morning, we've found a restaurant that opens at 6, so the others can get a morning coffee before we start. Normally, it would be only a short walk to the nearest next town for the first coffee, but tomorrow the next town is 17 km.

I'm planning to walk in my sandals tomorrow with my new blister stuff on and see how that goes. I can always switch back to the shoes if needed, but the route looks pretty easy and I think it will be a nice change. Luisa will be wearing her newly purchased sandals.

I just attended a mass in Spanish, which included a blessing for the pilgrims. Before the mass, one of the nuns asked if I would bring the pilgrim prayers to the priest during the mass. I think she picked me because I was sitting in the back, I looked like a pilgrim and not a local (mostly because the locals are wearing their church-best dresses, while the pilgrims only have shorts to wear), and the first person she asked said no (I saw). I doubt she was worried about my faith.

So, I was given a basket with some papers and she said she would indicate with a wink to me when it was time. I suggested she would need to point and wave, since I was seated near the back and couldn't see her. She appeared to want someone near the back, so it would be a long walk down the aisle. Anyway, Paul elbowed me when it was time because he's taller and more attentive, and I took the basket of prayers and handed them to the priest. This was during the collection.

The mass included a prayer for the pilgrims, which was the only part in English. Then at the end of the mass, all the pilgrims were called down to the altar. First, the priest said names of countries and we raised our hand for ours. This was followed by group and then individual blessings. After that there was a song and then we were invited into the sacristy to have our credential stamped. It was very nice, even if I didn't understand the Spanish mass.

The pilgrim's credentiel is the document I get stamped at the albergues and churches, museums, etc. as proof that I have walked. If I don't show it with stamps every day I cannot stay in the cheap albergues and won't receive my Compostela at the end when I arrive in Santiago, which is a Latin document attesting that I completed the pilgrimage.

I have to show my passport and my credentiel at every albergue. They also all seem to keep records of where everyone is from. One albergue had a large map with pins, but I didn't think to take a picture. It already had an Ottawa pin. I'm going to have to get a second credentiel in Leon because this one is almost full.

Also earlier today, I lit three candles for our Dads - Martin, Jim & Tim. I chose this church to light the candles because all the other churches had electric candles and it didn't seem the same.

I haven't needed the power monkey (solar charger) yet, although I did top up the charge just to be sure. So far, I've not run out and the albergues have all had plugs, but I understand it is sometimes more difficult, so I won't say wasted until the end, but at the point does appear to be unnecessary. Of course, I started to think the blister stuff was unnecessary and that was wrong, so we'll see.

It's almost time for lights out. I think the nuns are strict about the 10pm lights out. We're planning to get up at 5:30; breakfast at 6 and leave by 6:30. So I better get yo sleep; my alarm is set for 7 hrs, 48 minutes from now (so it said when I set it) but the lights are still on for another 17 minutes.

The nuns came around to the dorms and said Buenos nohes at 10:15, just before the lights out. Great sleep, great albergue!

My bed with all my stuff

My bed with all my stuff

Villalcazar de Sirga

Villalcazar de Sirga

In the retirees bar

In the retirees bar

Lighting a candle

Lighting a candle

Approaching Carrion

Approaching Carrion

Streets of Carrion

Streets of Carrion

Posted by Deb Godley 16:27 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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