Day 19 – Bercianos del real Camino to Puente Villarente

Very big day today.  I walked 32.5kms and I am hot, tired and won’t do that again!!!

I am still amazed as to how hot it is.  Most days have been 27ish and cloudless skies but I love it.  

Last nights albergue was very ritzy and I had the best nights sleep I had had in ages as no snorers.  Had a straight 8 hours and felt fabulous.  

Met some lovely people from Slovakia at the albergue.  It certainly is multinational. 

Awoke so refreshed this morning so on the road by 7.10am.  

This part of the walk has been a bit boring because most of the way over the last few days has been walking beside the road which isn’t much fun.  The landscape is also very flat and dry and in the middle of the wheatbelt so lots of tractors ploughing fields and so lots of dust.  


I could be out in the west of NSW.

Another thing I have noticed the amount of houses/sheds not quite sure that are built into the hill

My shoes are permanently white from the white dust and When you touch them or pick them up you end up with a handful of dust.  

As I was walking down the way this morning I swear I saw a UFO.  There were 2 stars in the sky right in front of me, and let me say that I have been out at this time most mornings and watching the sky, but I had never noticed these 2 stars before.   They were very bright in a straight line above each other and then just like that it was if someone turned the light out and they were gone.   Ooohhhh. Spooky!!!

It was 7.3kms to the first town of El Burgo Ranero and the first bar I saw it was breakfast time with the usual.  


What I have noticed is that in the bell towers and rooftops of the churches are massive birds nests.  I am not sure what birds they are for as they are empty but someone has suggested they are storks nests and they only come back to roost once a year.  Probably out delivering babies



On from brekky and it was another 13kms to the next town Reliegos.  Absolutely nothing in between so it was just a wander along the side of the road.  At least there was some shade.   


As I was walking I noticed a man walking on the road rather than the path and a car came around the corner and pulled out to avoid him just as another car came around the corner on the other side.  There was nearly an accident and car horns were beeping and this guy didn’t even move off the road.  

Wouldn’t you know I caught up to him and was about to pass him and it was my Brazilian friend Gil from Orrison and Roncesvalles.  

We walked together for a while and caught up then I left him and headed off into the sunset.  Only because the sun is constantly in my back.

Arrived in Mansilla de las Mulas and I was hot and my feet were starting to hurt so having walked through town turned right into the first bar and ditched the pack and got myself a beer


It was the cutest little bar and the barman was lovely in that he made me sit down and he bought the beer over to me



After a good rest put the shoes back on and headed out of town. 

I am now very close to Leon and will have a day off there.  I wanted to get a bit closer so walked another 6.5kms to this little oasis in the middle of nowhere called Puente Villarente which is about 12kms from Leon.

 


Single beds in the albergue tonight. No bunks. Fantastic. 

So can get up tomorrow and be there by 9.30ish and will have a day wandering around town without a pack on my back. 

The albergue is lovely and would you believe I walked in to the room and there was my Canadian friend Donna that I had been walking with up to Burgos.  She has had a few foot issues but on the mend so will walk into Leon with her tomorrow 

I have had a lot of requests for a picture of a pilgrims meal. There are 3 courses and there are usually 3 choices for each course 

First is usually mixed salad which has lettuce tomato cucumber asparagus egg and tuna. Then there may be pasta usually with just a tomato sauce over it and then just a plain salad without the tuna

Then for main course there is steak, pork, chicken or pasta with meatballs

And then for desert there is ice cream, a flan, fruit or some custard or chocolate pudding.  All washed down with unlimited bottles of red wine and water. 

Tonight I had mixed salad


Followed by chicken


Then ice cream 


Of course there is always bread and unlimited wine



And then here is the communal table that all my fellow pilgrims have eaten together


So buenos noches me Amigos 

Day 18 – Ledigos to Bercianos del real Camino 

I can’t believe how hot it is.  Not that I am complaining because I love the heat and it is not humid but when you have, to walk 26kms with no shade it is very draining. Hence my addiction to cerveza’s con limon to quench my thirst. Not to mention the 2 litres of water I am drinking a day from my water camel in my backpack.  Again thankyou Cherene.

So I set out this morning just as the sky was getting light


Such beautiful mornings and perfect time of the day.  

It was a bit of a strange walk today. Lots of towns within 2-3 kms from each other then a long stretch before the last town. 

Walked from Ledigos to Terradillos de Los Templarios which was only 2.6 kms down the road. Thought I could go a lot further than that so headed of to Moratinos which was 3.2kms on and again I had my stride in so went on to San Nicolas and it was brekky time.  Found a lovely bar and had my usual.  Cafe con leche grande, Zumo de naranjo and tortilla.  Because I am now fluent in Spanish I will translate   Coffee with milk, orange juice and frittata.  Fluent!!!


It was then onto Sahagun which is a seat of great ecclesiastical power.  Of course that went right over my head!!

Little remains of the famous abbey of San Benito founded in the 10th century and rose to become one of the most important Benedictine monasteries in Spain. Charlemagne was also linked with the town which from the earliest times has always given shelter to pilgrims of which I am one.  

 

When you are walking on your own as I did today the things that go through your head is crazy. I was walking on total flat land most of today and couldn’t stop singing ‘climb every mountain ‘. Then out of the blue I started singing the abba song I do, I do, I do’.  Go figure. 

The flies here are about as bad as at home.  Where is your cork hat when you need it.  So I have swallowed a fly today – perhaps I’ll die!!! 

Mainly because as you walk and you are walking on your own you sing, you talk to yourself and as all of you know I have great difficulty keeping my mouth closed so it was inevitable that I should swallow a fly.  I felt like I was at home!!! 

As I was walking on my own I didn’t really stop today and as I said it was hot and dusty so by the time I got to Bercianos del real Camino my body was flashing saying stop stop stop.  




This church was on the outskirts of town and so different to the ornate churches I have seen on this journey 

There was only one Albergue in the book in this town so was concerned I may not get a bed but I don’t know why I worried as I walked into town here was a very luxurious albergue right at the start of town.  It turns out it only opened a month ago and it was lovely so in I went and would you believe half an hour later in walks my friends Oswin, Kian and Celia as well as Jean-Pierre, Anna and Melanie from the other day and other Albergue so here we all are in the lovely garden on a warm Spanish evening with some other people from Slovenia and it is so communal and friendly.  


So my friends as we sit here on a mild Spanish night having our pilgrims meal with unlimited wine I must sign off again on another perfect day. 

Buenos noches me Amigos 

😘 

Day 17 – Villalcazar de Sirga to Ledigos

I have today been walking for two and a half weeks and I am officially half way 373.9kms to go.   


I have been meeting so many wonderful people and staying in some wonderful places and walking through ancient towns.  I am feeling very small in the scheme of things but could not have asked for anything more enlightening that what I am experiencing. 

Today I walked again with Oswin, Kian and Celia and we had a good fun day.  They are now following my blog so I am going to put a few photos up of them so they can remember our fun time we had.  This is at dinner last night


And this was on the road today


We left pretty early this morning only because everyone was up, the lights were on and we were packed ready to go.  So many stars. It didn’t take long for the sky to lighten and the day begin

The first 5 kms before breakfast and we entered the town of Carrion de Los Condes


This town was effectively the capital of much of the tierra de campos area and ruled the Counts of Carrion several who met premature deaths at the hands of El Cid.  

Stopped for breaky and headed out of town 




The above shot reminded me of the agricultural pavilion at the Royal Easter Show as this area is a huge wheat growing area.  

Today was a very hot day and a long and flat dusty road. We had been told to make sure we had plenty of water and snacks as there was nothing on the way for 17kms and they were right.  No shade either

Hat, sunscreen and long sleeved cotton shirts today.  I don’t know how anyone can walk the way in the summer!

17kms later and over a little hill and there was the town of Calzadilla de la Cueza and what a relief.  Straight to the Bar, pack off, poles against the wall and in for a muy grande cerveza! 

In fact so thirsty didn’t take a photo I just drank it



5.6 more kms to go and I was calling it quits.  I was hot, sweaty, tired and I was ready to call it a day but still a few more hills to climb and we passed a shepherd with his flock all with bells on and with the flock were goats and a very cute donkey




I have walked about 28kms today so I have found a lovely albergue in Ledigos with a beautiful sun drenched lawn and garden and I am blogging.  


I will be in Leon by Friday I think and now that I am closer to bigger towns the wifi is so much better.  

My friends have gone on to another town so I will walk on my own tomorrow although I don’t think that will be for long as I have just met another German man who is walking to Santiago.  

It will be my pilgrims dinner and early bed tonight as my body is tired.  

Buenos Tardes me amigos. 

Day 16 – Itera de la Vega to Villalcazar de Sirga

The most beautiful morning this morning and as I left just as the sky was becoming light the stars in the sky were amazing. No southern cross in this sky.  

What I am still getting used to is the sun is always on your back or behind you whereas down south in Oz the sun is always on your face.  I have to stop quite a lot to turn around and see the fabulous sunrise and colours in the sky.  


It was a hot day today.  I have been walking in shorts and tshirt for 2 weeks now and today was hot.  Hat and sunscreen a must.  Of course I have a high water mark on my legs from both the socks and shorts and on my arms from the tshirt.  I will look lovely in a cossy when I get to Singapore.  


When I got to the albergue yesterday I met a lovely girl from Denmark, Celia.   I have met a few people from Denmark and when I mention I am from Australia they immediately have to tell me how popular Princess Mary is and how everyone loves her.  Of course I have to assure them that all Australians are like that!!!


When I left this morning by the time I got to Boadilla which was the next town she had caught up with me and we walked together all day.  Lovely girl. A final year law student who did an exchange in Melbourne 2 years ago.   Behind us came 2 young German guys who also were in the albergue and as the day progressed we all ended up walking together and decided we were hot and tired all at the same time so here we all are sitting in the beautiful garden of our albergue in the sun surrounded by wet washing and lots of other pilgrims. 


There are some lovely french people here who I got chatting to and she thought as we had all walked into town together I was their mother.  I laughed as only I could do and assured her I was far too young to be their mother.  

Age is so irrelevant on this trip.  Meeting so many different nationalities, ages, backgrounds. All adding to the incredible experience I am enjoying.   

The countryside was very flat today and very brown and dry. I gather not much rain has fallen here for a while and looking at the weather I don’t think there is any forecast for at least another week.  




Some of the walk was very straight right beside the very straight highway then we turned off and next thing we are walking beside this huge canal.  Very full.  We came across a couple of older men in their overalls and some form of home made pronged spear made out of wood.  They had a bucket and I could swear they were yabbies or a Spanish variety.  Not quite sure how they caught them as they were a little smaller than a yabby but the bucket was half full.  


We then came to the end of the canal and there were the huge sluice gates and a drop of about 50m down the spillway to the river.  

I have noticed all along the roads in the farming areas they have long almost viaduct like drains running above the ground on stilts and I am sure this is how they irrigate their properties. Having seen the canal and the irrigation as we walked today am positive of it.  

Celia and I stopped in Fromista for breakfast and the boys Oswin and Kian followed us in and we then walked together for the rest of the day..

We didn’t realise it at the time but the route by the river and the canal was an alternative route to the town but so much nicer, prettier and easier on the legs.  Came to a little bar by the river and as it was a hot day stopped for a cerveza!  


We then continued along the river which by this stage was almost dried up but still very pretty. Saw the first autumnal hint today with trees starting to turn the colour of their leaves.  

So we arrived in Villalcazar de Sirga and all decided our feet and legs needed a rest 

Villalcazar de Sirga is well known for welcoming pilgrims since the 12th century when it became a commander forthe Knights Templar

Of course there is a Templar church here


Very pretty town and have found this lovely albergue with a little oasis of a garden inside that we are now settled in with shower and washing done and beer in hand.  
Some pilgrims have just walked in that I met a few nights ago so there will be stories to share. 

So having spent the afternoon in the garden I have now taken a walk around town, visited the church and am sitting in a lovely bar with a rose and tapas and my lovely compadres sitting at the next table have taken a photo of me drinking a glass of wine with a pilgrim. 


So now I will put a few photos up of the albergue and the dormitory so you can get an idea of what this is all about





So me Amigos as I bid you all a fond buenos noches at the end of day 16 I will finish my Rose and wander back to my albergue for my pilgrims meal and bed.  

Adios Amigos x

Day 15 – San Bol to Itero de la Vega

Today I have been walking for 2 weeks and 1 day and feeling great.  Have my pack up and out of town sorted.  My routine when I get into my albergue for the evening and know exactly where everything is in my pack.  In approximately 3 days I will be over the halfway mark which will be 388kms I will have walked in 2.5 weeks.  

I am amazed by the amount of people with injuries such as horrendous blisters, tendinitis, bad knees, 

It is not an easy walk and I am so glad that I wore my shoes in and got my orthotics weeks before I came as I have not suffered any sore feet at all other than tired feet from walking for 6-7 hours a day or muscles in my legs I didn’t know I had due to the massive mountains I have had to climb and worse than that coming down the other side.  

So now I listen to my body.  I start at about 7.15 as the sky is getting light and by 1.30-2ish my feet are usually screaming at me to sit down. So I stop, book into an albergue, have a shower, rinse out my clothes, hang them on the line and then order a very large beer!!!  Well deserved I say.  

So this morning up and out by 7.10am and hit the track.  It is quite funny to see other pilgrims coming down the way with there head lamps on – people not cars!!

Today was pretty flat walking most of the day.  One thing that I loved was this morning as the sky was becoming lighter on the right hand side of me were white flashing lights up high and on the left hand side of me were red lights flashing.  I could have been in the middle of some alien/sci-fi movie or another planet. It was all the lights from all the windmills that you continually see along all the mountain ridges.  There are 100s of them and they look spectacular. 


I would imagine all the lights were to warn low flying aircraft.  

Another thing I noticed as the sun came up is the amount of jet stream in the sky.  This morning I counted at least 8 aircraft flying in all different directions with all the jet stream behind them.  When there is not a cloud in the sky it is pretty spectacular.  

Got to Hontanos by about 8 and ran into one of the girls from last nights Albergue but too early to stop so kept going. Walked onto San Anton where there were ruins of a convent that dated back to 1146 and was dedicated to the care of pilgrims who suffered from the ‘the fire of San anton’ a disease that spread through the Middle Ages.  


Opposite these ruins was a courtyard were this lovely music was coming from.  A Scottish jig then Danny Boy.  I couldn’t help having a laugh at this.  So I went in for a coffee a cheese sandwich a loo stop and off I went.  

Walked into the town of Castrojeriz which yet again is another ancient town.  It was very flat all around leading into the town but there was a large hill overlooking the town with a massive crumbling monastery on the top


The church in the town was pretty old as well dating back to 1214

Looking back from where I had walked it was pretty amazing countryside 


This is from the mountain I Had to climb after passing through Castrojeriz.  And that is the way I came along the track.   That is the ruin on the top of the hill that you saw before from the approach.  This is having climbed the mountain beyond and the view



This is the track and the mountain I climbed and as always you have to come down the other side


This is where you discover muscles you never knew you had!!!

As you can see from the photo it was pretty flat and hot.  And that is the track I walked straight through the middle. 

Once I got down on the flat and kept walking the landscape changed again and I walked over a single lane bridge with traffic lights for the cars to stop while the pilgrims walk over it 

A right turn over the bridge and a 900m stroll to Itero de la Vega and my body said stop. 
So here I am in my albergue for the evening.  I have got a bit of a taste for a lemon flavoured beer. It doesn’t have a slice of lemon in it the lemon flavour is in the beer.  

My downloading of photos has come to an end as the wifi is dwindling so no last photos but at least you have a few.  

I am now off to pick up my book and enjoy the rest of the Spanish evening

Adios Amigos 

Day 14 – Burgos to San Bol

OMG I have just found a little oasis in the middle of nowhere and it is gorgeous. A tiny little Albergue just off the beaten track 5kms out of Hornillos de Camino. 
It has a little pool/fuente/stream that the water is from is apparently very good for healing your feet. I have just my feet in and they nearly froze off so now I can’t feel my feet at all so must be good!!!!

Had a terrible night last night. I was coughing as the end of the little head cold came to an end and we had at least 3 snorers who I am surprised didn’t raise the roof! 

This morning all the lights were on and people were on the move by 6am so I thought may as well get up.  

Of course it is pitch black. I think Spain’s daylight saving finishes when ours start as the nights are still really light until 8.30ish.

Set out on the road at about 7am and just followed the crowd. As it was a big city there were lots of street lights to guide us and we were out of town and back on our track by the time the sun came up.  

I walked part of the way this morning with an Irish couple. Father and son who were just walking from Burgos to Leon. I think I will be there in another 4 days.  

Before I knew it we were in the town of Tardajos which was about 11kms from Burgos and it was only 9.00am. Breakfast of coffee and frittata and back on the road. Walked through the Meseta today which I think is the Spanish equivalent of a desert. Very flat and the ground, even though ploughed was full of stones and rocks. Looked like a limestone to me. It was amazing and quite beautiful in its own way. All around us on the horizon were heaps of windmills looking very spectacular in the background. The path was very rocky and a lot of up and down and my quads were killing me. Going down steep rocky paths, of which there are a lot, really tests my leg strength.  

Having got to Hornillos del Camino I went to sit down in the square where there were tables and chairs in the sunshine and was told that unless I bought a drink I couldn’t sit there. That was enough for me I ate my apple on the road out of town and 5kms later fell upon this absolutely gorgeous place. It only has 10 beds and there is a communal meal tonight where we all sit around a beautiful round table and above us is the dome of the beehive that is in the picture.  

Got here at 1 and the albergue didn’t open until 2 so just lazed in the sun until opening. €5 for the bed and €7 for the communal meal.  

I have done my calculations and €10 is equivalent to $15.  

So now I am sitting down in the beautiful garden by the Fuentes having dunked my feet and now I am going to start on a new book.  

By the end of the afternoon 8 people had turned up.  There are only 12 beds so was really lovely.  

The pilgrim dinner this evening was wonderful. The hospitalero had prepared a wonderful salad and this out of the world home cooked paella yummy.  Desert followed and of course unlimited red wine.  As we were such a small group and had all been lounging around in the sun in the afternoon we decided we should all go around the table and introduce ourselves, where we were from and where we had started and where we were going to.   Such a mixture.  Denmark, Germany, Canada, Scotland, London and another Aussie from Croydon.  We admitted we could almost be neighbours.   

The Hospitalero then showed us how to lock up and how to lock the door in the morning when the last one left and drove off into the night.  

Such a different night from the big albergue’s.  

In bed, lights out and sound asleep by 9.  

Buenos noches

PS having a terrible time downloading pictures so am going to post and update as I am able.  

Enjoy the blog.  

Day 13 – Cardenuela Depico to Burgos ï»¿

I am starting this blog at the end of an amazing day.   I am sitting in the plaza outside a heritage listed gothic church the likes of which I have never seen before in my life.  

I am in Burgos which is a very big city in Spain and yet again incredibly old.  

I left out albergue this morning at 7.30am in heavy fog and walked 14kms into this amazing town.  

It wasn’t a very nice walk as we were approaching a big city so lots of pavement, walking on the side of a road and then having to walk through the industrial area to get into town.  

A bit of trivia for you it is the 50th year celebration of firestone/Bridgestone tyres being in Burgos!!!  Mr firestone started the company 50 years ago.  Another reason for a fiesta!!! 

Naturally it was extremely built up and hard going on the legs pounding pavements for 14kms but we got into town with a few side trips as we got a little lost and ended up in the old part of town and what an amazing place. 


I am sitting in the plaza outside this gothic church that is unbelievable.  

Another 10th century building that I can’t get over.  It is also the burial place of El Cid the famous moor warlord who I think Errol Flynn or some old actor played in some very old black and white movie.  

Decided to have a bit of a day off today so after coffee and a wander around town with Donna we said our farewells and she headed on out of town and I went to find somewhere to stay. The amount of plaza’s and churches in the town are amazing. 

Found the tourist bureau and got a map. You know me have to have a map!

I wandered off and because I was walking around with a map in my hand the amount of locals who couldn’t speak English but came up and wanted to help me were amazing.  

Eventually found my albergue and checked in. Really cheap tonight. Only €5 but no pilgrim dinner. Not that I was that worried as there were so many bars and restaurants to try.   

After a shower and a spot of washing I was out into this incredible town.  

As I said before this gothic church was unbelievable. So old and the intricate work of it. Lots of these churches took over 300 years to build. If you have read The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett you may understand what it takes to build them.

I decided to go and sit in the sun in the plaza and people watch and how amazing was that. Everyone meets in the plaza for drinks and tapas. Mum dad family friends everyone and then at 3pm when it is siesta they all disappear the tables and chairs are put away and I was left sitting there like an empty lemonade bottle!! Got up and wandered through the old part of town and decided to go inside and have a look at the church. OMG!!! Gold and ornateness at its best.  

Saw the burial place of El Cid and his wife Jimena and just stared in awe at the inside of this massive church. I think it has 22 knaves or chapels off the main area.

Ran into Roz and Debbie who had decided to get a bus to Leon rather than walk there as their time was limited so when we came out of the church we sat in the plaza and had a farewell sangria before they headed off. I sat and finished my book then wandered back to the cafe right outside my albergue and had paella for dinner. Yum! Then Christine and Paul came by and they joined me as well as another lovely Swedish guy I had met on the road. We had a few more sangrias and said our farewells as Christine and Paul had decided to get the train to Leon and walk on from there.  

So as of tomorrow I will be back on the way on my own but not for long I am sure.  

I am setting off early tomorrow for Hornillos but think I will probably get further.  

Buenos noches