Walked Today: 7.5 mi / Camino2022: 192 mi
Today was going to be a shorter walk, after hoofing it more than 8 miles the previous two days. It actually started out just as planned. We left our hotel at 6:45 and walked for about 2.5 miles in the dark. We reached a junction just outside of Calzada de Coto where the Camino splits. Going through Calzada results in walking an extra 3 miles and it misses Bercianos completely, where we have reserved for the night.
We missed the poorly/confusingly marked split-off in 2014 and walked nearly into Calzada, before a local resident pointed us in the correct direction. Having learned from our 2014 near goof, in 2017 and 2019, we carefully maneuvered through the junction and were merrily on our way. Today was a different story.
We remembered not to go right at the junction, but we went too far left and missed the Camino entirely. Not realizing we had found a new way to goof, we continued walking for over a half-mile until we realized that nothing around us looked familiar.
Jim pulled out the Google Earth app so we could see the actual area from above and when we saw what had happened, we looked for a way to take a short cut back onto the Camino. We cut across a couple of mowed fields to a farm road the angled over to the Camino. (If we had remembered that it was at the junction that the Camino becomes a path with evenly spaced trees to provide shade all the way into Leon, we would have become aware of our wrong turn much sooner. What a difference 3 years makes!)
The map below shows our path, then reversing course, then cutting across the fields, then returning to the Camino.
This unplanned deviation added an extra 1.6 miles to today’s walk!
Adding to our excitement, forecasted showers had been threatening all morning long. We delayed putting our rain gear on mainly because we were focused on getting “unlost”! With less than a quarter mile to go, small water droplets began falling. We walked faster, entered the albergue gates, hustled inside and ordered breakfast. No sooner had we taken our first sip of cafe con leche, when the heavens opened up! For the next 20-30 minutes, thoroughly drenched pilgrims came charging up the sidewalk, into the front door, while we watched… warm and dry in the refuge.
We stayed at La Perala in 2019, soon after its opening. It is a very nice albergue, owned and operated by the same family that owns and operates Albergue Los Templarios, where we stayed two days ago.
The hospitality demonstrated by our hosts was unsurpassed today. Every member of the staff went out of their way to make sure that our stay was satisfying. They were each well organized, friendly and striving to please…. at 40€ per night for a double room, ensuite bathroom, large shower, good food, plenty of comfortable sitting areas in a warm, relaxed environment.
We had interesting conversations with a guy from Holland, as well as a former Michelin employ who lives in Leon, France and was walking his Camino from there. We also chatted with a young lady from Germany, and a lady from Sarasota, Florida, among others.
We’ll hopefully get our shorter walk day, tomorrow and have shut off our alarms tonight, accordingly. It’s amazing how our miscue this morning was so quickly overcome and lost among so many positive experiences and encounters during the rest of the day.