A Travellerspoint blog

Camino de Santiago

Day 15b to Villavante

Hola! We walked from Leon to Villavante - 25km - 5 1/2 hr. The first 15 was new and interesting. The last part straight - although I have lots of guestions on agriculture methods and crop rotations. A goggle trip at some point.overall an uneventful day. One item of interest may be the English lady who was offered a tractor ride -- an attractive blonde. The old farmer gave her a 3 km lift. It was late afternoon so she really appreciated the ride. We wondered if he would have stopped for a man.

The little village is very quiet, nothing open on Sunday except our albergue. It is very new so comfortable except its back to room of 20 plus. I don't see these type of sleeping arrangements in my future after the Camino. I might consider it for 1 or 2 nights for special circumstance.

An older couple arrived today and she is visually impaired. They are carrying full packs - amazing!

Chow

Al

Oh - beyond birds we saw first wildlife this afternoon, some type of black weasel or mink.

Posted by al poole 10:12 Comments (0)

Camino de santiago

Day 15a

Here is picture of me today. I look forward to changing back pack for golf bag.

Posted by al poole 06:25 Comments (0)

Camino de Santiago

Day 16 to Castrojeriz then taxi to Polencia then train to Leon

Finally....ever since I mentioned to Marty that my sandals were from Costco for only $20; he reminds us that if Costco doesn't have it you don't need it.

Until this morning I was becoming a believer. After a 2 hour hike (10km) from Hontanas to Castrojeriz we found a taxi ride to Polencia (50 km) and then a train to Leon -- without Costco (I know Costco sells cars or at least gets discounts but that seemed extreme (and no Costco here). The fun part was working through the language challenge. We thought we had a reasonable plan worked out with the hostess but then the taxi driver shows up ( at this point we don't know he is taxi driver we asked for). Soon there is a flury of fast speaking Spanish with lots of hand signals - and stunned looks by the gringos. It is settled - we hope - a taxi ride to Polencia and then the train. Here - pay attention to taxi drivers as they are in people moving business and know best options. We had a quick taxi ride to Polencia - at times reaching 140 km/hr. We felt safe as he was not reckless. We were on train shortly after arriving and the quick smooth trip at 150 km/hr to Leon. I am happy we walked some of Maseta - but so happy we saw remainder by car and train. You see similar geography across Canadian prairies.

We got to Leon before noon. Our luck changed; a festival in Madrid had Leon full of people from Madrid escaping the festival. I guess the Spanish are not always up to celebrations. In any event hotels and hostels and close in albergues full. Finally, we found albergue with 3 beds in one room - shared bathroom facilities. A great place - better yet they picked us up in city centre and will drive us to city boundary in the morning.

(Crap - I thought I had completed a great blog - but for some reason it disappeared so I have to redo.)

Marty and I took bus into city center this afternoon foe few hours. A beautiful city but I like Burgos best then Lagrono then Pamplona.

This morning we had more clothes on because the day before was at freezing when we expected low 40s. Today it was low 40s as forecasted - so had to shed clothes soon after start.

As I walked this morning I couldn't help feel sad about not being able to say hasta luego to some wonderful people we had met. Given our arrival date in Santiago of May 31 and knowing they had later date it is unlikely we will see them again. Unfortunate! I'm sure it happens too often on this journey.

Also, today I reflected back on earlier thoughts during the Camino - I'm surprised at all the memories that come to life. I think time to reflect is a wonderful thing. I believe I'm so fortunate for all the wonderful people in my life - family and friends. I'll go into more detail in coming days.

I can't emphasize enough - allow lots of time to do this trek.

Tonight Hans and Marty went to the supermarket for groceries and Hans cooked dinner - 15 euros including bottle of wine. We had a salad: lettuce, radicchio, tomatoes, eggs and tuna with spaghetti and a sausage/tomatoes sauce. It was filling and tasty. The boys think we should do it again. At the risk of complaining -- I'll volunteer for next meal and step it up a notch. After all it is a vacation and we should step above pilgrim meal once in a while.,. right!

Our plan is to reach Santiago May 29 - drive to coast May 30 then tour city May 31. It means 20ish km/day for 12 days.

Bob Noble - I will pay attention to walking difficulty for last 100 km in the event you and Bambi decide to do it one day.

Buenas Noches.

Al

Posted by al poole 06:18 Comments (0)

Camino de Santiago

to Burgos

Another hot day - feels like longest 20 km yet. As you enter Burgos you walk 6 km through industry. We decided to jump on a city bus - one euro. Best euro spent to date. By end of this day I've decided walking is done - I'm lucky to be pain free - but find the walks long and dull - a real grind.
Burgos is a very beautiful city. We see many of our pilgrim friends here. Another good visit with Darren Lamothe and his sons. In honour of Darren's 50th birthday they had him walk 50 km yesterday. Amazing - you could tell the boys pretty proud of dad.

I've been meaning to include this comment from the beginning... I do a quick reread to make sure essence of stories correct - not worrying about spelling or conjugation.... one finger typing on small pad is painfully slow.

We end the day with wine and tapas. A wonderful evening.

We amigos looking forward to hotel room and good night sleep.

Al

Posted by al poole 06:13 Comments (0)

Camino de Santiago

Day 13 to Hontanas

Buenas Tardes! We did another 20ish km today. It was 5 hours with a couple of short rests. We went through 3 villages in first 80 minutes but nothing open. Good thing we had grapes, oranges and apples. We had coffee and breakfast at 11:30 at our albergue - Juan De Yepes. It is beautiful - brand new we think. Today's trek had us in the Maseta (Spain's prairie). There are many spots across our prairies that look very similar. One of the hi lites was a fly over by jets - F16 and F18s.

With good fortune, tomorrow will be short 10km and then a taxi or bus ride to train station at Sahagon - then to Leon. There are a few sites to see along the way - perfect.

Remember yesterday I spoke of doing laundry - it clouded over and turned cool so didn't do it, so glad - this place has washer so two loads done for 2 euros each. We just hung clothes on the line. Occasional machine wash is necessary as I think our hand washing would not pass higher level scrutiny.

We still continue to see people we have met earlier. One young man, Ian, really surprised us. Hans saw him over a week ago and he was very I'll. A pharmacy got him on right track with meds and here he is. Young can tell he is proud of his accomplishment to date. A redhead -- says it all. I'm happy my hair is white now as it is easier to be wise (ha ha).

As I walked today I reflected back on the cathedrals I've seen. The one in Burgos is massive, a very impressive architectural structure. You can't help but be somewhat in awe looking at it. However, I walk away thinking it is not all that great. I admit not understanding the need for structures like this - why? I guess some powers at the time had a grand idea - found away to raise money - and most importantly - had access to a very large supply of expendable workers. All the historical structures in many places around the world - same story--large expendable workforce. Keep that in mind next time you admire old world historical sites.

I just took a break to chat with Petra, a young lady for Switzerland ... she quit her work as it was boring/not fulfilling. She thinks the Camino a good way to take time and think about what she really likes and perhaps more importantly what she doesn't like. A very engaging refreshing outlook - I'm sure shewill do very well.
I continue to be amazed at some of the people we see walking; considerably older than me and appear to be less physically fit. Perhaps they ate much stronger mentally - they just keep going at a nice steady pace. I'm guessing it is a religious journey for many. I think it would be interesting to chat with them - that language barrier again. Dam!

We chatted with 3 ladies from Oregon when we arrived - Portland or Portland area. Martytarted comparing Portland and Hawaii weather - and they weirdness of inner Portland, it lead to some good banter and laughs.

All in all a wonderful day. Time to enjoy and reflect is important. However, I'm still thinking it would make most sense to walk St Jean Pied to Pamplona - then ride a bicycle - then walk last 100 km to Santiago.
I will continue with my amigos to Leon - then decide on next stage.

Oh -- before I go -- Dawn Marshall -- I've used the duck walk going down steep hills -- it works. Thanks for the tip.

Chow

Al

Posted by al poole 05:07 Comments (1)

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