Camino de Santiago Day Twenty-One Burgo de Ranero to Arcahueja Stamina (Three Weeks Walking)

20 04 2018

I hit the bed like a rock last night, Suzy said I was speaking a combo of German and Spanish or maybe just an alien language in my sleep, but it was comfortable. It was one of those nights I literally fell into bed, but come morning I enjoyed a hot shower and spreading my clothes all over the room and while Suzy was eating breakfast I was able to dress freely without having to shimmy into clothes in a wet shower stall. Really luxurious actually!

Suzy noticed a bunch of pilgrims getting into an air conditioned coach bus clearly to bypass this next leg, but reinvigorated by a coffee we began our journey onward. There were hardly any pilgrims along the long “senda” or pilgrim track parallel to the road but we felt a lighter energy than the day before. We saw plenty of birds in including a huge stork.

The weather was better today, less hot and with an almost constant breeze. We had a great stop at Reliegos at Bar Gil II for a beer and some churros and the owner also gave us some slices of the best “tortilla” that I’ve had so far. “Tortilla” is the frittata like egg cake most bars make with potatoes and egg. This one was lighter and had maybe some leek or onion in it.

We had another quick stop in Mansilla de las Mulas where we enjoyed some time in the gorgeous grass at a neat place called Le Jardin. With our beers we were presented two more delicious tapas, jamon, chorizo and cheese on bread. We ran into Nessie and later our Aussie vineyard owner and another guy we’d seen a lot of on the trails, a great town but we couldn’t stay as Suzy’s bag was being delivered to Arcahueja (we hoped!)

It was basically another day of “Nothing to see here” but our spirits were high, our energy strong and we kept on going. Not much to see save a very grand bridge and then a terrible stretch going through Villarente right on the road amidst gas stations, repair stations and small strip malls.

Finally we escaped the chaos of the busy road winding up through a park and into the hills to Arcahueja.

Around a bend as I was losing momentum Suzy was first to spot the herd, they were Merino sheep! She’d done some research on them. The wool they provide of course is like gold to a pilgrim. It wicks away moisture, resists water, dries quickly and amazingly doesn’t smell… and is not itchy! My favorite items are my 100% Merino wool socks and what I like to call my magic shirt, a long-sleeved Merino wool shirt, all made by Smartwool (and no they haven’t sponsored me to say that). Apparently these sheep were so prized for their special wool that they were carefully guarded. In fact in Spain before the 18th century exporting of Merino sheep was a crime punishable by death, so the Spaniards had a monopoly on the industry for many years. The shepherd confirmed for Suzy that she was right, these sheep were Merino and definitely not for consumption. They gave us the boost we needed to get up the hill to our comfortable Albergue La Torre. We took advantage of the bed plus pilgrims dinner and breakfast option for 20 Euros and had a great dinner with two female pilgrims from Holland and Germany. In fact the German lives in Umbria, Italy and runs a hotel there so plans were started for a spring 2019 visit to Italy. We played them a few songs and then off to bed where I’m now finishing my blog. Lots of snoring tonight.

Today was another big day. 18.7 miles. Yesterday was 19.1 in the heat. I’m not sure about the next walk but I think we need to keep eating these miles up to make it on time so I can fly home from Barcelona. We have come so far but there’s so much left to go!

I’m still here for 15 days and at times I’m just want to fly home. It’s hard being away from your comfort zone for so long, from your people and your life. From creature comforts like having your own bed, clean clothes and privacy. Hooks for towels, toilet paper and soap, things like this become luxury items.

One of the ladies last night was considering stopping in Leon. This is her third and final leg of the Camino completing the whole trip but pshe was going to go to Santiago a second time. She too is homesick. After we wrapped up our songs, finished the wine she said, “I’ve just decided to keep going.”

This is a long haul. I will keep on and we will make it to Santiago de Compostela.

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2 responses

21 04 2018
chilelindosfgmailcom

…your voyage brings me so many memories from what is truly a spectacular experience. Adelante peregrino.

21 04 2018
Nina B.

Rebecca…so nice meeting you and Suzy today in Leon! We’re a day behind you, heading out of Leon tomorrow. Buen Camino!

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