It was raining when I set off this morning. Unnecessary I thought. John the Dublin lawyer from last night caught up with me. He was really moving which spurred me on in the rain. We went quickly through the next 3 villages and soon arrived in Sagahun over 19 klicks from Ledigos. John was on a mission and we covered it in a little over 3 hours. Had it been a race we would have come a close second and third to olympian Haile Gebrselassie, had he been on the Camino instead of winning the Berlin Marathon.
It was still before noon and although Sagahun was a stopover for me on my original plan, once again it was too early to stop. We had lunch. I cut John loose. I knew I couldn’t keep up the pace. He expected to be in Santiago in another 9 days, a full week before my ETA. He was intending to do almost 40km a day. That’s shifting.
Didn’t like Sagahun much. Dunno why. So I was glad it was still early and there was no need to stay overnight. After scouring every shop for greek yoghurt, to feed my £2.80 a day habit, I gave up and set out again, yoghurtless, but with a giant bar of cocoa rich chocolate. That stuff doesn’t melt.
I arrived at Bercianos del Real Camino in the late afternoon, found my albergue of choice, (Santa Clara) and was given a warm welcolme by the owners. I got the last lower bunk in a room with only 5 other pilgrims. After a rest I took a walk around the town and found the other, larger, albergue which was busier and had a big garden, and more importantly, a bar. Although I was allowed a beer (thank goodness!) the server wouldn’t give me food as it wasn’t served between 2.00 and 5.00, despite it being on display behind the counter, so I got another beer. There’s protein in beer… I think. Yes, I’m sure there is.
I joined two guys in the garden. An American I had spoken to a couple of times further back on the trail, and Bob, a Canadian from Pugwash, Nova Scotia. Bob and I hit it off straight away and we would walk together many times in the next days.
After a shower I set off of for the “busy” part of town. I had directions from the Hospitalero for a street ‘full of bars and restaurants’. I was far from impressed when I got there. There were a few snack bar type places and nowhere with an atmosphere. Well I had to eat, so I selected one and had a very average dinner. No one else was in the cafe. I left about 8.30. On the way back I heard some music emanating from a narrow side street. Well I do love a back alley… So I went down and discovered the street I should have been on in the first place. There were a half dozen good bars but as I had an eye on the curfew time I only had time for a nightcap. I accidentally ordered a bottle of Rioja instead of just a glass, (I keep doing that), so as long as I didn’t get locked out I would sleep well. And I did.
Next morning after coffee I spotted an iron and an ironing board. I ironed everything, tied my hair into a bandana, tilted my hat, and stepped out. Yeah. Oh Yeah. I was bringing sexy back. Bob my buddy from Pugwash Nova Scotia caught me up before the first village, El Burgo Ranero, where we stopped for breakfast. Bob was an interesting guy, a retired English teacher, a humanist with very liberal views and some well thought out solutions to social problems.
The time soon passed as we chatted and finally arrived at Mansilla de las Mulas, almost 30km covered. We rolled into the first Albergue and Bob had lunch and decided to stay there. I had picked out Albergue Gaia so after a beer I headed there.
The lady running the show there was very nice (at first) and I was soon checked in. I had a bunk in a room for 6 again. I decided to do some laundry. Just as I finished I noticed the sign prohibiting laundry in the kitchen. In came my host and she was not best pleased. I got told off. Grabbing my soaking apparel I want to the courtyard and wrung them out into a parched flowerpot. My host had followed me and told me off again. Use the floor was the instruction. I did and proceeded to hang them in the sun, on the washing lines provided. Wrong! Told off again, and directed to another washing line in the cold shadows. Wow, I hadn’t been spoken to like that since I was about seven years old. I really felt like checking out right then. I bit my tongue. I am the prince of peace.
My clothes were still wet the next morning. I used up 18 of my allotted daily swear word allowance, dangled the wet clothes off my bag and got moving.
Bottles of wine consumed in so far – 11
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