Bericanos to Mansilla de las Mulas
It was a cold morning (only 2°) but without the wind, it felt much warmer although I’ve had to drag out the beanie and wear a long sleeved shirt under my tshirt. Such a shame I look like a bank robber in a beanie. Today was down for another 26kms so caught a taxi to El Burgo Ranero cutting off 7kms and making it a manageable 19km day. From there it was a 13kms stretch on nothingness to Reliegos and the last 5kms were hard as my feet really started to hurt. The path wasn’t pleasant to walk on (lots of bitsy gravel) so took to the road, which isn’t usually the preferred option.
We’ve been walking along an incredible avenue of trees (don’t know what they are although the leaves resemble maples) that have been planted every 8 to 10 feet for about 40kms, very impressive.
As always, the walk into town was long and tedious and walking over a bridge with no verge felt a little dangerous.
I thought we were staying in another albergue tonight but it turns out to be Albergueria and it ain’t nothing like an albergue. The building is very old with an interesting collection of memorabilia and antiques. My room had a cast-iron 4-poster bed with a mammothly high mattress that almost required a footstool to get up to and view of the church steeple.
Even though my feet are still incredibly sore, I still went for a walk around the village just somewhat slowly and gingerly and came back to have a very enjoyable dinner at the hotel with Llwellyn and Craig and Leonie.
Mansilla to Leon
Given the lovely bed from the night before, I didn’t sleep as well as I’d hoped but the bed was very comfy.
The Brierly Bible advised that today we would actually be walking on the main highway into Leon and prattled on about how dangerous it is and advised taking the bus for our own safety. Some listened, some didn’t. Strangely enough, I fell into the latter. The highway was very busy, I’ll give him that but dangerous, I don’t think so. There was a very wide very verge and at no time did I feel like my life was on the line. I did however need to pee and obviously with that much traffic there was nowhere to go. There was a service station across the road but I really thought I was risking it trying to the highway twice so had to hang on and walk faster.
Caught up with Sioux, David and Karen and walked with them into Leon. As usual, the walk into town took forever. Walking past massive numbers of large apartment blocks that seemed to go on interminably, as well as the first KFC I’ve seen (didn’t stop).
I always thought that my feet would toughen up with all the walking. The more I walked, the more they’d get used to it and not hurt as much. Over the last few days, I’ve realised that it isn’t the fault of my feet, it’s my shoes. While the shoes are really comfy but the tread is too thin. My feet are hurting because I feel every bloody stone I walk on. Every piece of gravel, every rock, everything. Llwellyn had said that her feet start out ok but are really sore by the end of the day but I’m starting my day like she’s finishing it. As much as it scared me to buy new shoes (because of the blister factor) I had to do it otherwise I wasn’t going to be able to finish. The guy at the shop actually knows and sells the brand of shoe that I was wearing and he said they’re a great shoe but he’d never recommend them for the Camino because the tread is too thin and you’ll feel absolutely everything. Will have to have a word to the “Camino Specialists” in Melbourne that recommend them…..hrmph! 130€ later and I’m not 100% convinced they’re a perfect fit but I can walk on cobbled paths and Roman roads and not be in agony….oh joy!
Leon – Rest Day
Rang Dad this morning. He doesn’t sound good but it was great to speak to him all the same.
Did the tour over the Basilica that we are staying in. We stood on walls that pre-date Christ….wrap your head around that!!
There are still 8 monks that live here. At breakfast there was a big round table set up for large group and plenty of other tables for 2 or 4 people. I was surprised as I watched this old man get his breakfast and walk all the way to end of the room to sit at this big table on his own. Turns out it was the monks table and he was one of them.
Did the tour of the cathedral, which is very beautiful and did the usual chores like laundry. I don’t know why but my backpack seems to know when I’m having a rest day and it just explodes over the hotel room. I posted a whole lot of stuff home and while there now seems to be more room, the pack doesn’t seem any lighter.