Day 20 and 21 Calzadilla de los Hermanillos to Mansilla de las Mulas and on to Leon

Sorry folks for not blogging the past couple of days, so here’s a quick update.

Calzadilla de los Hermanillos to Mansilla de las Mulas – Maps and photos in the following link: https://www.relive.cc/view/u2891789761

I totally forgot to blog on Day 20 owing to Teresa showing up a day early. Rodrigo had arranged it but kept it as a surprise. It was a very nice but emotional evening seeing her again.

Having dropped her car at Leon and caught the bus back, she joined us for one last walk to Leon the next day.

Mansilla de las Mulas to Leon – Maps and photos in the following link: https://www.relive.cc/view/u2894802691

As this was Rodrigo’s last evening, we went to a nice restaurant and tried Cocido and of course several beers and wine was called for.

We stayed in an airbnb apartment and have acquired another pilgrim, Sandra a German student.

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Day 19 Ledigos to Calzadilla de los Hermanillos

Last night’s accommodation was pretty bleak. The room looked ok at first glance, but it was cold and the beds were not comfortable.

We went to the only other Albergue in town for dinner. It was much better all round and the food was plentiful. First course was a bean stew with chorizo and ham. It was a meal all to itself. Second course was half a chicken with sliced garlic potatoes, and dessert was rice pudding with cinnamon. All served with vino tinto if course.

Bed couldn’t come early enough as we had an early start, as we were meeting Denis at the next town of Terradillos de los Templarios. We met him just after 7:10 as planned and started walking to Sahagun. I had discovered that you could get a half way certificate from sanatorio de virgen peregrino. I thought it would be a nice surprise for Rodrigo as he is leaving on Saturday when we reach Leon. We found the place easily enough and left our credentials at the desk whilst we took a look around. Upon our return we were all presented with halfway certificates.

At the next town, Calzada del Coto, we had a choice to make. Either turn left and walk alongside the road or right along an old Roman road and the more scenic route.

We chose the Roman road that is longer and ended up in Calzadilla de los Hermanillos. It’s a small town with a municipal albergue and two hotels. We chose Hotel Rural Case El Cura and we’re not disappointed with our choice.

Map and photos in the following link: https://www.relive.cc/view/u2889660970

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Day 18 Carrion de los Condes to Ledigos

Yesterday’s birthday celebrations started as soon as we had showered. I needed some Vaseline for my feet, so insisted we find some first. I was pleased when we found some in a hiking shop and Denis also bought a compression sock to help with his shins splints. So essentials purchased, it was off to a bar to have a beer or three to celebrate my 55th birthday.

Funny that saying, because that’s exactly what happened – we had three beers, or at least I only remember three 😉 We were joined by another German couple we’d met before who were walking the Camino together for their 21st wedding anniversary. Most of the conversation was in German, but I was surprised how much I could still remember after being in Germany over 20 years ago. I even managed to join in some of the time. There were some Spanish children playing in the square and it was such a pleasure watching them play.

For our meal we went to a restaurant called La Corta. It looked expensive and it was, but the pilgrims menu was the price we’ve become accustomed to paying. So for €11 each we had vegetable soup with bread, followed by grilled salmon and garlic potatoes. And for dessert a local speciality that was like rice pudding with honey but so much nicer. Oh and the vino tinto was included in the price.

Today’s walk was a long stretch of 17km to the next town of Calzadilla de la Cueza followed by another 6km to Ledigos. Because of the large first distance, we made sure we had a good breakfast and carried plenty of water with us. We needn’t have worried though as someone had set up a makeshift bar, selling food and drinks half way to the first town. Along the way the guys met a Spanish lady called Mai, or at least I think that was her name. She walked with us the rest of the way to Ledigos, stopping for a break in Calzadilla. Her constant chatter was a bit much for Rodrigo and I, so we walked ahead of her and Denis until we were out of earshot.

We had arranged accommodation for the three of us as usual, but Denis wanted to carry on to the next town where Mai was due to catch a bus at 5 later in the afternoon. So Rodrigo and I stayed in Ledigos and left Denis to carry on. We know he’s found accommodation and is only 3km away, so I guess we’ll catch up with him tomorrow.

Map and photos in the following link:https://www.relive.cc/view/u2887096480

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Day 17 Fromista to Carrion de los Condes

The days now are starting to merge together. With a pattern of Walk, Eat, Sleep, Repeat, every day seems the same, but with differing beautiful countryside each day. What I’m trying to say and failing miserably is that I don’t know what day it is when I wake each morning.

The physical challenges of the Camino are coming to an end, in that blisters and pain seems to be getting less. Either that or we are so used to it now that is less of a bother.

Our next challenge is a mental one as we walk alongside fields and fields of similar looking crops through a plateau known as the Meseta. Lots of people skip this section as they find it boring and monotonous. Me, I’m finding it therapeutic as all you can hear is the rustle of the crops and birdsong. So much nicer than cars zooming past all the time.

When I awoke this morning, I checked on the guys to see if they were awake yet, but it seemed not. No sooner had I got back to my room, when they both came in singing happy birthday to me, I was quite touched. We had something to eat before we left and dropped the keys in the post box outside as we had been told.

There were several small villages we passed today, but none special enough to shout about. We stopped for breakfast at Villovieco and as we left I noticed that the owner was collecting money from around the world in a frame behind the bar. Looking closer, I couldn’t see any English money, so gave him a £5 note for his collection. You should have seen his face, he was so pleased and wanted me to write my name on it. Before leaving he gave us all a Sello for our credentials and a pilgrim shell to tie to our packs.

We hadn’t planned on prebooking accommodation for tonight as with plenty of beds available in the Albergues we didn’t think there would be a problem. As we approached the town of Carrion de los Condes, the Albergues looked cold and uninviting so I started to look at booking.com for something nice. I found one and was about to book it, but the guys stopped me, saying they had already booked it yesterday. Not just a bed in a hostel but a whole apartment, with separate rooms, kitchen, dining room, lounge and all the facilities. I feel like a prince- what great friends they are.

Photos and map in the following link: https://www.relive.cc/view/u2884638100

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Day 16 Castrojeriz to Fromista

Yesterday we visited the Pilgrim Temple in Castrojeriz. It is a simple house, but every corner of every room, including the garden is dedicated to the Pilgrim. There is no way to really describe it, except when you enter, you get a feeling of utter peace and contentment. It made me feel very emotional. I picked up a postcard in there and wrote some words from the house on it and sent it to my beloved wife for our 15th wedding anniversary tomorrow. I hope she doesn’t cry when she reads it, as I did writing it.

We were all taken with Castrojeriz, it had a certain feel about it, that made you happy and like you never wanted to leave.

Leave we did though the next morning. Breakfast as usual was Tortilla de Potata and cafe con leche. Denis decided to eat two bananas an apple and some nuts he’d been keeping as emergency rations.

Not long after we left, it became apparent to Rodrigo and I that Denis was hurting. He didn’t admit it when we asked, but he was obviously slower than he’s been before now. He’s had his leg taped up with kinesiology tape for a few days because of shin splints. We stopped the top of a large hill, some 1050 metres above sea level and met the Dutch mother and daughter again. I think Denis was relieved to have a break. At the next town, we were going to take a proper break, but Denis carried on, getting slower and slower. Finally admitting he was struggling and in pain we walked slowly with him for 2km and stopped at an Albergue that also had a bar.

We had walked 10km and had 15km left to get to Fromista where we had accommodation booked. We convinced him to take a taxi there and rest up, which we could tell was hard for him to accept being in the army, but it didn’t make sense for him to carry on. Rodrigo and I took advantage of Denis’s taxi and sent our backpacks with him to make our walk quicker and easier. Without our backpacks the next 3 hours flew past and we were soon in Fromista.

We had dinner early and looks like we are all having an early night.

As usual our mapped walk with photos are in the following link: https://www.relive.cc/view/u2882875666

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Day 15 Hornillos del Camino to Castrojeriz

After our seven course meal last night, breakfast was a much simpler affair, but just as good. As much coffee and toasted bread as you wanted.

So, after breakfast we were dropped back in Hornillos del Camino to continue our journey, by the grandmother of Emilio Estevez’s son’s wife. Well I just had to have my photo taken with her, didn’t I!

My feet today have started to improve, the blisters clearing up nicely, so much so that I’m not limping anymore.

Denis and I walked and talked as usual, and were taking it easy, because I didn’t want to agrovate my blisters and Denis his shins splints. We were passed by several pilgrims including a man at least 20 years my senior who passed us like we were standing still. It was really quite funny.

We reached Hontanas and stopped for second breakfast and cafe con leche in the first Albergue we came to at the top of the hill. We met some pilgrims there we’ve seen before; two elderly brothers from London, both with long beards. Also an Australian couple, Ted and Tina, plus a mother and daughter from Holland, both stayed at the country house we stayed at last night.

From Hontanas we continued downhill through beautiful countryside and then along a very straight road until we reached the ruins of San Antonio, and old monestary whose arch goes over the road. From there it’s about 1.5km to the outskirts of Castrojeriz.

Denis wanted to take a good picture of the castle and town, so decided to walk up a track that goes uphill and parallel to the main road. I carried on and wexnet at the first church, at the entrance to the town.

I had been in contact with Ridgigo via WhatsApp to tell him we were nearly there and he directed us to the hostel, El Meson, he’d booked for us. When I said we were there, he came down to meet us in the bar. We hugged like long list friends, it was so good to see him.

Now it’s time to chill, shower and wait for dinner time.

Details and photos of our walk today are in the link: https://www.relive.cc/view/u2880830248

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Day 14 El Molino

El Molino is the name of the country house that we stayed in last night, where Martin Sheen stayed. We ate dinner at the same table he ate at.

So, the story we learned is that Martin Sheen’s grandson walked The Way and fell in love with the daughter of the house we are staying in. Emilio Estefan’s son was lost in Spain and had to fly out to bring him back – a love story. But this was the origin of the story of The Way, where the son, in this case Emilio died in the Pyrenees instead. It’s a true story, we even saw the wedding photos.

Wow, I feel so privileged, nothing like this ever usually happens to me.

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