Day 36- Ponferrada to Cacabelos

Walked Today: 8.2 mi / Camino2022: 242 mi

Street lights made it easy to find the way ftom Hotel Los Templarios back to the Camino. Our plan today is to walk straight out of Ponferrada on the Calle Camino de Santiago and merge with the “traditional” version of the Camino at about the half way point to Cacabelos.

Having gone the traditional route our first two times out of Ponferrada, we tried today’s route in 2019 and found it preferable for several reasons: (1) it was two miles shorter (2) it gave us a broader perspective of the environs of Ponferrada (3) it was more upbeat and interesting than the tired, run down environs of the “traditional” route (4) it is mostly flat, easier walking (5) there are more services along the way

Odd shaped skyscraper, not in center city with other tall buildings, silhouetted against the early morning sky as we walked out of Ponferrada on the Calle Camino de Santiago.
our walking environment for the first 3 miles

After walking for about 2 miles, just before 8 a.m., we found a bar open and stopped for a break and a light breakfast.

Breakfast #1

We continued our walk which was along this main conduit into the city from what appeared to be high-density residential communities and a “motor-mile” or two in between. But the experience was still quite pleasant as the sidewalks were well maintained and very wide creating a safe, non-intimidating environment for walking.

a suburb of Ponferrada… sidewalks on both sides wider than the road

For the next hour we observed parents carpooling kids to school, groups of older kids catching city buses to school all adorned with backpacks like any other town/city one might observe this time of year.

The streets and sidewalks gradually narrowed as we neared our merge point with the “ traditional” Camino, but still were interesting as the houses became more traditional of the region with slate roofs and brick and stone exteriors that made each structure somewhat unique in appearance. And colorful flowers were common in window boxes and front yards and gardens,

colorful garden in front of a residence, just before breakfast number 2, caught our attention

Near the end of our “non-traditional” Camino walk, we stopped for a more traditional breakfast #2 and break before rejoining the Camino in Camponayara.

Breakfast #2
… back on the official Camino as we walked through Camponaraya
Wine collective as we exited Camponaraya.
nice section of path on the way out of Camponaraya
entering the vineyards with Cacabelos in the background
Mencia grapes on both sides of the path, most of these had already been harvested
harvesting grapes the old fashion way
a little shade and some trees amid the vineyards
leaving the dirt path and walking on pavement the final half-mile into Cacabelos
almost in Cacabelos
Suspected wine baron home on outskirts of Cacabelos
walking toward our albergue in Cacabelos

When we checked-in at 11:00, our transported knapsacks had not arrived, so our routine chores came to a screeching halt. We decided to stop by the Iglesia de Santa Maria to get our credential stamped then get some lunch.

Iglesia de Santa María
inside Iglesia de Santa María

In 2019 on our way out of Cacabelos, we stopped for breakfast at Hostal Restaurante Siglo XIX. Our waiter performed some impressive art on our cafe con leches.

Today, when we ordered lunch at the same place, we were pleasantly surprised to recognize the same young man as our waiter. We showed him a photo we took of his creation and he was surprised that we remembered.

Our lunch was delicious: ensalada mixta for Linda, ensalada rusa for Jim and Solomillo de cerdo con salsa pimienta (pork tenderloin with a wonderful brown sauce) for both of us.

pork tenderloin with frites and green salad
our lunch wine: very nice

After a delicious cheesecake dessert our waiter asked if we’d like coffee and Jim ordered 1 cafe con leche, which arrived with a smiling waiter and some new art to remember.

2019 art (top left), Today’s art (bottom left)

Our backpacks finally arrived at 2:30 and we washed clothes in the albergue machine for 4€, hung them out to dry (took about 2 hrs), then got a snack supper, blogged and read until bedtime.

Day 35- Rabanal del Camino to Ponferrada

Walked Today: 5.6 mi / Camino2022: 234 mi

Camino2022 has gone well so far and we want to keep it that way. Our paced approach today is to not take on the remaining 1200 ft climb to Foncebadón and Cruz de Ferro or to brave either the treacherous downhill section going into Acebo or the very rough, rocky surfaces on the trail between Acebo and Molinaseca.

We walked both of these routes in 2015 and 2017, with full backpacks, but skipped the Acebo to Molinaseca section in 2019. So nothing to prove today.

our “ultimate” overnight stay in Rabanal (left), Cason Rabanal Oca.
the main street through Rabanal
walking down to El Tesín this morning to meet Luis

At 9:00 our taxi driver, Luis, met us at Albergue El Tesín in Rabanal. He was the same driver who picked us up in Acebo in 2019, rescuing us from the walk into Molinaseca.

Luis used the road that sorta parallels and crisscrosses the Camino from Rabanal to Molinaseca (a 30 minute ride). The sky was clear, so we were able to enjoy many of the beautiful and breathtaking views that we enjoyed when we walked this section on previous Caminos.

We recognized the place we stayed in Foncebadón in 2015, and stopped briefly to snap a photo of the Cruz de Ferro today, where we left a shell signed by each of our 14 grandchildren in 2017.

Cruz de Ferro, the second highest point on the Camino at 1505 meters (4918 ft). It is reputed to be an ancient monument, first erected by the ancient Celts, then dedicated by the Romans to their god Mercury (protector of travelers) and later crowned by the cross and renamed as a Christian site by the 9th-century hermit Guacelmo.

We continued along the summit of the Itago mountain range for several miles and recognized the expansive views in all directions. On the way down, we drove through Acebo, where we stayed in 2015 and 2017, then continued down the mountain to the bridge entering Molinaseca, where Luis wished us “Buen Camino”, and let us out to begin our 5 mile walk into Ponferrada, our destination for the night.

the medieval Puente del Peregrino into Molinaseca
crossing the beautiful medieval bridge
the XVII century Iglesia de San Nicolás seen from the bridge upon entering Molinaseca
main street in old Molinaseca
exiting Molinaseca
the Camino becomes a sidewalk from Molinaseca to Ponferrada
just outside Ponferrada, walking through an upscale residential area

Shortly after taking the above photo, Rolfe and Ann, pilgrims friends from Sarasota, Florida caught up to us and we walked together for a half-mile or so, then went our separate ways to different places for the night in Ponferrada. Even though we are walking different distances each day and using different strategies for our Caminos, we keep bumping into each other in stores, in bus stations, in albergues, etc. We said our good-byes/ buen Caminos for the umpteenth time today, but somehow, it may not be our last!

Surprise!!! For the past several weeks, we have continued to cross each other’s paths. Is the Camino trying to tell us something?

We ate sparingly today, never seeming to find a place with food when we were hungry. Tomorrow the problem will lessen as smaller towns along the Camino cater more to pilgrims and not vice versa.

Most of the afternoon was spent trying to find places to stay over the next few weeks… and blogging. A longer walk coming up tomorrow, so pleasant dreams to all!

Day 34- Santa Catalina de Somoza to Rabanal del Camino

Walked Today: 7.4 mi / Camino2022: 228 mi

no street lights this morning
nice trail with gradual upward slope
Our first and only village along the way, El Ganso , ( “goose” in Spanish)
charming shop and cafe in an otherwise near ghost town.
table cloths, comfortable chairs and setting… stylish clothing in one part of the shop.
4 mile stretch of lightly traveled road and path, up the mountain
getting tired of the path, so switched to the pavement to break the monotony
Irago Mountains in background…
rough walking through the forest during the last mile into Rabanal.
our room at El Tesin albergue

We arrived at El Tesin at 10:30 (we stayed here in 2019) and were told that our room would not be ready until noon. We were disappointed, but decided to just wait at a table on the terrace (road in front of the albergue). At noon we were invited in to check in and then escorted to our room.

We unpacked our stuff, Linda got a shower and Jim went down to the bar to get some drinks to have with our bocadillos that we carried from Santa Catalina.

This is where the day took a bizarre turn.

Language is always a potential issue on the Camino if your Spanish fluency is lacking. Jim ordered a orange drink for Linda and liter sized radler for himself (half beer and half carbonated lemon juice.

What Jim ordered

The owner started gathering glasses and dispensing drinks so fast that he was nearly finished before Jim could stop him. At that point, Jim didn’t have the heart to tell him that was not what he ordered (supposedly) and the owner insisted on carrying the drinks to our room on the second floor!

what Jim got

So Jim got to work on the liquid refreshment and our bocadillos.

A half- hour or so later there was a knock on our door. The owner asked Jim to come downstairs. Jim followed him downstairs and was confronted by the owner’s daughter, who had reservations responsibility for the albergue, who suggested that he did not have a reservation. Apparently, a group of pilgrims had just arrived and as they checked in, the albergue was one room short.

Jim has called for a reservation 8 or 9 days earlier and told they were reserving a room for us, which the daughter ultimately admitted, but apparently she planned to put us in an overflow property they also owned. She had not bothered to tell her dad this, so when he checked us in, he assigned us to our current room. The daughter was all flustered, especially when he said it was not his problem… which she reluctantly admitted.

The dad asked if we would change rooms and Jim, now, totally in control of the situation. said he would need to see the other room first and if it was acceptable we would consider moving. The father quickly offered to drive Jim a short distance in his car to see the other room, which actually was a choice between two vacant rooms.

Having seen both alternate rooms, Jim called Linda, who was still in possession of our original room, described the offerings and a decision was made to accept the nicer of the two rooms but with a shared bathroom… with two other rooms.

When Jim returned to El Tesin, a host of pilgrims had now accumulated in the bar and reception area and one pilgrim looked at Jim expectantly and gave the thumbs up with a questioning smile and Jim’s thumbs up response received a relief from the hopeful crowd and especially the daughter.

Jim said we’d get our stuff together and be ready in ten minutes for a ride back to our new room. As we left El Tesin, the father gave us a partial refund on our room because we no longer has an ensuite bathroom and the daughter offered us a free breakfast tomorrow at El Tesin.

our room in Casona Rabanal Oca
shared bathroom in Casina Rabanal Oca pención

We settled into our new room, Jim finally got his shower and then we headed out mid-afternoon to find our main meal for the day.

We happened on the restaurant attached to the hotel we stayed at in 2017, just before it closed for the break until dinner time (7:00). It was a very nice restaurant, excellent service and a delicious salad.

a really delicious ensalada mixta: mesclun lettuce, tomatoes, tuna, white asparagus, toasted goat cheese, walnuts, and onions with a mustard based dressing. Filled the bill for lunch and dinner.

We stopped by the small church in the village, got a stamp for our credentials from the Benedictine priest who was manning the nearby church store, and walked back to our final room for the day (we hope!).

sanctuary of the Iglesia de la Santa Maria de la asunción… operated by the Benedictine Abbey of San Salvador del Monte Irago and offers a moving Vespers service with Gregorian chant and an evening pilgrim blessing.
a small statue of Santiago in the church

Day 33- Astorga to Santa Catalina de Somoza

Walked Today: 5.8 mi / Camino2022: 221 mi

It was dark at 7 a.m. as we walked through Astorga. It was a chilly 50F and a slight breeze made it chillier! Street lights made headlamps unnecessary as we walked by the Hotel Gaudi (where we stayed in 2019), the Episcopal Palace ( designed and built by Gaudi and across the street from the hotel) and the Cathedral of Astorga , adjacent to the Episcopal Palace…. all somewhat visible in the dark.

Street lights followed us for nearly a half-mile outside the city and were replaced by natural light from first light and sunrise.

We walked along the lightly traveled road, then angled left onto a smaller road that took us into the Maragato community of Murias de Rechivaldo, one of about 40 villages around Astorga. The Maragato prople are rumored to be descended from the Berbers of North Africa, who arrived with the Muslim conquest in the 8th century and later converted to Christianity. Maragato men traditionally worked as muleteers, mule drivers who transported goods (especially fish and gold) around the peninsula.
approaching Murias de Rechivaldo where we stopped for breakfast
back on the dirt trail headed for Santa Catalina de Somoza.
…still chilly and as we climbed upward, leaving the meseta behind and heading into the mountains.
just outside our destination for the day… and possible obstruction ahead
this guy gave Jim a hard “you want a piece of me?” kind of stare, which Jim pretended to ignore, sorta, while snapping this photo and moved quickly on his way…. the young bull never budged… maybe it was the bright red/orange daypack Jim had on his back!
We have a pose similar to this one for each of our four visits to this village.
our room at Albergue San Blas
look what we found behind the “extra” door from our room, it’s ours alone
never pass up an opportunity to exploit extra space… or a single, lonely chair

….. does that chair… look like a….barber chair?….

Good grooming is a must for seasoned, over 75 pilgrims. When planning your Camino be sure to include a barber in your entourage.

Has anyone noticed that as we have moved closer to Santiago, that Linda is developing a halo?

We spent the day hanging out in our quite unusual habitation, venturing downstairs to the albergue bar for lunch (pizza) and dinner (paella).

Today’s walk was very easy, especially when compared to yesterday’s. Tomorrow we continue up the mountain toward Cruz de Ferro, the highest point on the Camino Frances at 1505 meters (4918 ft).

Day 32- Leon to Astorga

Walked Today: 10.7 mi / Camino2022: 215 mi

At 7:25 we walked to the bus station, stopping for breakfast along the way.

Leaving Leon center-city on our way to the bus station.

We left the station at 9:15 and were let off at Hospital de Orbigo at 9:45, and began walking.

The Camino today was on frontage pavement road and dirt paths for most of the way, taking us out of the meseta. Thus, the terrain began to change, now including more wooded areas, more rolling hills and more mountains in the distance.

narrow path along N-120, noisy but it felt safe
pavement along N-120, safely away from traffic
The only place to stop for the first 5 miles was this gas station. We used their facilities and drank a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice, while resting for a few minutes .

After walking 7 miles we were back on a dirt path which took us away from the highway and headed into San Justa de Vega.

A monument to San Justa de Vega on the hill outside of the village of the same name. Astorga can be seen in the distance, another 3 miles away.
Linda and a thirsty and very still pilgrim at the entrance of the village
the sidewalk into St Justa de Vega was lined with lavender.
Main street, maybe the only street through St Justa. We’ve stayed here on two previous Caminos, instead of Astorga.
back on a wide path between San Justa and Astorga
the zig-zag bridge over the railroad tracks into Astorga.
our hotel, Astur Plaza, and room balcony, overlooking the plaza.
Astur Plaza

After our 10.7 mile walk, we were pooped. But since it was late, 2:30, we checked in, took our stuff to our room and headed back out to have lunch… and to relax/recover with a tasty meal and glass(es) of wine!

A very tasty , late lunch at a recommended restaurant…. 1st course: Lentel soup and green beans 2nd course: veal and pork

We retreated to our room and recovered for the remaining afternoon.

view of the plaza from our room balcony
Astorga Town Hall (1683), from our room balcony

Even though we has a long walk today without a significant break/rest along the way, we are pretty much recovered as the day comes to an end and we are physically and mentally ready to hit it again in the morning.

Leon

We took advantage of our off day by sleeping to 7:30, then walking toward the bus station, stopping along the way to get breakfast.

The bus station in being renovated, so a temporary area with ticket kiosks, rest rooms and small shops was enclosed at one end of the area where buses arrive and depart.

temporary Leon bus station

We were approached by an official but very nice young lady who answered all our questions in English and even gave us a bus schedule. She also showed us where our bus will be located when we board tomorrow morning!

For Camino2022, we want to by-pass walking through the western outskirts of Leon, which offer eight or so miles of city walking with traffic, inconsistent sidewalks, then highly industrial areas and then roadside paths or shoulder walking.

Based on our findings this morning, we will walk to the bus station tomorrow morning, leaving the hotel around 7:30 to arrive at a bar just a few steps from the station and have breakfast. Our bus to Hospital de Orbigo departs at 9:00 am from Leon and arrives at 9:33. We will purchase tickets for 6€ each from the driver when boarding the bus.

We will disembark just outside Hospital de Orbigo (where we stayed in 2015 and 2019) and will begin our walk for the day.

With our logistics planning done, we began working our way back toward our hotel, and as always, enjoying the beautiful new and old buildings that remarkably blend together so well throughout this nearly 2000 year old city.

Remnants of the reinforcements of the Leon city walls

We made stops along the way to buy a few items we anticipate we’ll need on the remaining weeks to Santiago. Items like a replacement belt that broke on Jim’s shorts, a long sleeve shirt that Jim forgot to pack, some warm tights for Linda, replacement batteries for our headlamps, etc.

We also needed to find and buy an additional credential for stamps to verify/prove that we walked the necessary distance to Santiago to earn a Compostela. The single credentials we started with won’t have enough space for all the stamps we will collect for our nearly 60 day journey.

we spent a lot of time browsing eating and people watching on this beautiful walk street from the Cathedral to city center.

We unloaded our purchases at our room, then walked across the plaza to have a pizza lunch at the Boccalino Hotel restaurant.

Napoli for Jim, Margarita for Linda
Jim’s pizza never had a chance!

After lunch we visited the beautiful building we’ve been viewing from our room.

The Basilica de San Isidoro

The basilica, Real Colegiata de San Isidoro was commissioned by Fernando I to house relics returned by Muslims after their defeat in the Reconquista.

inside the basilica

The relics of San Isidoro of Seville (ca. 560-636) are housed in the basilica. Adjacent to the basilica is a museum and pantheon that includes the remains of 11 kings, 12 queens and a number of other princes, princesses, counts and other nobles. It also contains the chalice of Doña Urraca, the daughter of King Ferdinand I and Queen Sancha, the Holy Grail, reputed to be the goblet used by Christ at the Last Supper!

The Holy Grail?

We pretty much chilled for the rest of the day.

Hotel Boccalino
our room from outside, second story, with extended windows just below Boccalino.
We put the window alcove and 3rd bed to good use.

In spite of our “day off” we still managed to walk another 4.5 miles today, around Leon, but not to be included in our total for Camino2022.

So tomorrow it’s back on the Camino for our final 180 miles to Santiago.

Day 31- Mansilla de las Mulas to Leon

Walked Today: 4.1 mi / Camino2022: 204 mi.

The rain had stopped when we left our room and walked through one of the Manzilla de Las Mulas gates this morning, then rejoined the Camino.

Massive gates and huge surviving walls surround the fortified town.
back on the Camino
colorful corn fields replaced our usual wheat fields today

The path ran parallel to a busy road and shortly became the shoulder of the busy road. Our plan today was to walk to the next village, Puente de Villarente, then get a taxi or bus into Leon. The path into Leon is not very interesting with multiple road crossings, industrial and highways, none adding much to the experience, so it seemed like a good section to skip.

too close for comfort

A half mile short of our destination, we spotted a bus stop, occupied by two pilgrims. Jim walked over to them an inquired about the bus schedule. They replied, “the bus to Leon arrives in 10 minutes.

“opportunistic pilgrim collaboration”

So, opportunistic pilgrims that we are, we joined our fellow opportunists and boarded the bus …

bus riding is an unfamiliar exercise for us, but much appreciated at times

…and enjoyed our 15 minute ride into Leon (1.45€ each).

masked bandits…. or just pilgrims doing what required

Walking into Leon (and out) has never been much fun but walking in and around the center of Leon is a pure delight. We really love this place.

An interesting display just after walking into city center
pedestrian friendly sidewalks and walk streets throughout…
…. colorful, well maintained, architecturally diverse buildings and shops of all kinds
a park near our hotel, El Boccolino

We walked the 3/4 mile from the bus station to our hotel, grabbing breakfast along the the way. Our room was ready and we checked in immediately.

our room
the view from one of our room windows

First item on the agenda was to go to Valor, a restaurant specializing in churros, Linda’s favorite. We also added some tasty sandwiches and called it lunch.

Valor churros are to die for

We chatted with two charming ladies from Holland who were with a group touring northern Spain. One of the ladies had walked the Camino 25 years ago.

Jim likes ‘em too

We stretched out lunch with people-watching from our lunch table, then walked around re-famiarizing ourselves with landmarks and getting re-oriented after a 3 year absence.

our lunch view
The Leon Cathedral… a few steps from our lunch spot, 5 minute walk from our hotel.

The rest of the afternoon and evening included making reservations for the next few weeks, settling into our “habitación” for our two day stay in a most favorite Camino location.

We’re taking a break tomorrow, so no advancing on Camino2022, but we’ll give a brief report on whatever mischief we got into on one of our rare “days off” when walking the Camino.

Day 30- Bercianos to Mansilla de las Mulas

Walked Today: 8.2 mi /Camino 2022: 200 mi

Even without alarms, our bodies are now on automatic to wake at 6:00 a.m.! So off we went into the dark, expecting rain at any minute, but not wearing our ponchos, yet.

We felt some light sprinkles just before entering Burgo Ranero… but they went away as we stepped into our “routine” breakfast stop, La Costa el Adobe.

Our first thoughts were remembering our breakfast rendezvous on September 5, 2017 with Ken and Mandy, special Camino friends from South Africa and fellow bloggers. They are planning a return to the Camino in 2023. A cafe con leche toast to you both and Buen Camino!

Jim’s toast today…. our first in person meeting in Bercianos on September 4, 2017.

We called a taxi to take us to Reliegos. He arrived a half-hour later and we hopped into his car. We both were surprised when we saw the inside, which looked familiar.

Look familiar to anyone?

We had a very nice chat for the next 12 miles as we covered a section of the Camino that we didn’t like too much and which dropped our total walk to just over 8 miles. The driver spoke very good English and we learned that he had lived in Texas and California. Jim asked if he had solar cells at home and he said yes, but not batteries… “generated his own electricity during the day and bought it during the night.” He charged us 18€ for the ride, a very quiet one, and wished us well as we put on our ponchos and began walking in the rain.

Our driver, Linda…sheltered by the building while donning her poncho, and our ride!!!

We continued for the next 3 miles walking in a light rain but comfortable and dry in our ponchos.

Our Caminos are usually during the months of August and September which are typically dry, so we seldom need our ponchos on the Camino, but still carry them just in case.

The rain we are experiencing is forecast to continue through tomorrow afternoon. It is the remnants of Hurricane Danielle which affected mostly the western coast of Portugal on September 11-12 with rain and strong winds. We are seeing rain and wind, but nothing approaching hurricane strength.

We arrived in Mansilla de Las Mulas just before noon and waited 30 minutes for our room to be ready.

We took the next several hours to find an open restaurant for our main meal, dodging showers in between, then settled back into our warm, dry room for the remainder of the day.

our room, Hotel Rural los Soportales, in Mansilla de Las Mulas.

Day 29- Sahagún to Bercianos del Real Camino

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.

walking along a campground on our way out of Sahagún

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.

Our erroneous path (in green)… the Camino is the path with the dots (trees) alongside.

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.

Beginning our “shortcut” across a mowed grain field
cutting between the fields on a farm road
….from farm road back onto Camino

This unplanned deviation added an extra 1.6 miles to today’s walk!

back on the Camino again
Getting off our feet for a few minutes after 5.5 miles non-stop, and finally getting back on track.
la Perala, light sprinkles and imminent cloud burst in minutes… will we make it?

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.

hustling into La Perala
Breakfast at La Perala and sipping cafe con leche as the rain begans to pour!

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.

Day 28- Terradillos de los Templanarios to Sahagún

Walked Today: 8.3 mi / Camino2022: 184 mi

It was a warm, humid 62F when we left Los Templarios at 6:35 this morning. Our first rest/breakfast stop was a little more than 2 miles down the path, in Moratinos.

our first breakfast stop
an above-ground “wine cellar” in the field across from the bar.

Shortly after, while walking to the next hamlet, we looked over our shoulder and saw a nice sunrise.

familiar looking scenery, still on the meseta.

Another two miles later, we made our second rest/breakfast stop. Before arriving in San Nicolas del Real Camino, we passed a sign regarding one of the two bars/ albergues in the hamlet.

Advertising on the Camino

We stopped at the first bar, a favorite, from prior Caminos. We have stayed in the albergue (2014) of bar number 2 and eaten there also Both bars have good food, based on our experience.

this is the first bar, not referred to in the sign attribution to Socrates.

Just outside of San Nicolas…., the Camino pulled alongside of N-120, going into Sahagún. We then walked the next 4 miles, arriving at our hotel at 10:40 and check-in.

Camino becoming a path along N-120
decent walking surface, gradual incline
Approaching Sahagún (in the background, 2 miles away)
milepost marking leaving province of Palencia and entering Castile and Leon.
final mile stretch on shoulder of N-120

Our room was still being cleaned, so we waited on the hotel terrace until 12:00, when we accessed our room and began unloading and organizing our stuff for the afternoon and evening.

Our room meets our basic needs: twin beds, ensuite bathroom, clean, on or close to the Camino.

We decided to walk 7 minutes to a supermarket to gather some snacks for the next several days. By then, it was 1:30, so we took a seat in the hotel dining room for our main meal of the day.

The owner/ waiter brought us a menu in the form of scribblings on a small piece of paper, and proceeded to go down the list quickly in Spanish (did we mention that people around here are all fluent in Spanish, for some reason, and mostly assume everyone else is too?) making it clear by demonstrating on our first question, that all responses were going to be in even faster Spanish. Jim, whose stomach growl could be heard by Linda, chose something with included the word pasta for his 1st course, and after asking about the last item on the list and understanding nothing.,. said he’d take that one. Linda followed a similar approach picking an item with tomato in the description and the word pollo (chicken).

1-Jim has no clue after ordering, 2-success on first course: delicious multi-veggie pasta with brown sauce for Jim, sliced tomatoes with basil & olive oil on fresh cheese for Linda 3-second course:fried chicken & “Lincoln log”? fries for L., baked wing and breast of something that flies. and fries for J.

So, what was the verdict on Jim’s mystery selection for course 2?

cleaned to the bone, literally… yum!

What do you think?

The rest of the day was spent napping, blogging, etc. Long walk, feeling strong, having fun on the Camino Frances.