Day 31 - La portela de Valcarce to Alto do Poio

Date:May 27, 2018

Location: From:La porcelain de ValcarceTo:Alto do Poio

Mileage:23.4 Km/ 14.6 Mi.

Weather:Cold and overcast with heavy fog

Temperature:40’s in the mornings and high 40’s to low 50’s in the afternoon

Lodging and Cost:Albergue Del Puerte 6

GPS Location:42.°42,45.” N and 7°7.’ 34.” W

Highlights:O’Cebreio, views in the distance when the fog opened up enough to see.

Summary of the Day: 

Last night was a great stay and I was up and out on the street by 6:15 in a heavy fog, heading to O’Cebreio. I knew this was going to be a long tough climb but I never figured it would be as hard as it was. I walked the streets for about 6 Kms before it turned back into the woods and started to climb. It seemed like I climbed for ever. The more I climbed the steeper it got and the fog got thicker.  It seemed like it took me 2 hours to make it to the top, but I finally arrived and people were everywhere... a lot came by car. They had constructed another path down the other side, since  I was here 3 years ago so I decided to take this one instead of the one that I took last time. The weather was very cold and the fog just kept getting thicker. I had made up my mind to push on past where I had originally decided to stay because it was only 9:30. I walked past several little villages that contained nothing when finally the trail took a sharp upturn and climbed steeply until it reached the highway. I remembered this place from several years ago. I stayed in the hotel across the street. (What a rat hole it was! I looked at the Albergue on this side of the street and it looked nice and the bar was full of people. I did decide that I would walk no further today. It was only 11:30 but I had walked over 23 Km and they were hard kilometers at that. They were open and the bar attached also had a Pilgrim’s menu for 10€. And by the way it was great. Vegetable soup, roast beef and potatoes with Flan for dessert with wine and bread. While eating dinner I met this Russian woman, and we got to talking about where she lived. She is now living and working in Germany. She speaks Russian, English, and she is trying to learn German. She was interesting to talk to. After dinner I went to the bunk room and it was freezing in there. Nobody ever turns the heat on, so I crawled into my sleeping bag and went to sleep. Today had been a good day and I made a lot of miles. It seems like the trail is moving fast and in about 5 or 6 more days I’ll be finished with the French way. But for today it was a Buen Camino!

Day 30 - Cacabelos to La Portela de Valcarce

Date:May 26, 2018

Location: From:CacabelosTo:La Portelade Valcarce

Mileage:23.6 Km/14.75 Mi..

Weather:cool and very overcast with a little drizzle of rain from time to time

Temperature:Mid 50’s all day

Lodging and Cost:Albergue El Peregrino 10

GPS Location:42.°39.36.” N and 6.°55.’ 4.” W

Highlights:A lot of road walking again today, but the paths walking through the Grape orchards was beautiful. The city of Villafranca del Bierzo. Seeing the old churches and buildings.

Summary of the Day: 

I got up at 6:00 this morning even before Ron was out of bed. I had a terrible night's sleep last night. The bed was not firm at all and I think the middle of my lower back rested on a bar below the mattress. I  got up and started packing up and then Ron did as well. We were both just about finished packing when he told me that he wanted to walk some of the option paths for the next few days and that he wanted to find a library so he could e-mail his wife and set their schedule for the 3rd of June as she was going to meet him in Santiago. I was glad that he told me this morning rather than start walking and let me know at the path before he was going to turn off. This way I could stop hurrying about so as not to hold him up. I do like walking by myself some. He left and I went about my packing and a few other chores that I needed to do and then I took off. I finally left at 6:30 walking up the road. I walked for two hours into VillafrancadelBierzo where I went to the restaurant in Plaza Mayor where I ate last time I was here. I asked if he could fix me eggs, bacon, bread and also a café con leche? He said yes so I went and sat down to wait. It was no time when he brought me everything. I sat there and ate and after I ate I settled up and moved on out of Villafranca. The last time I left Villafranca I took the option route up and over the mountain, but this time I decided to take the road path. It was a cloudy, foggy day with a strong possibly of rain especially in the higher elevation so the road just seemed better this time. It was a good route because it was like walking down in the valley and there were a lot of good views up into the mountains not to mention all the views where I was of the valley floor. It wasn’t too long before the trail turned off the road path and started on gravel rocky path into the woods. This was a nice change when I came out of the woods as I was on the outskirts of what I thought was a small town, by the name of Trabadelo, which I had originally thought about staying in tonight. It had nothing but a couple of bars and a couple of Albergues and that was about it, although it did have a la tienda with limited supplies. I bought a couple of bananas and a couple of cookies, but moved on to La Portela de Valcarce for the night. I got there at 11:30 and went in and asked if the Albergue was open yet. The woman replied in about 45 min. I ate an ice cream and waited. I saw lots of people pass by and yet no one stopped. I got to wondering if I had made a mistake in stopping so early, because I had waited about 45minutes and nothing was happening and I still had no bed. I asked a man who was working there about when I could get a bed, and he said about 20 minutes. Well I was all in and there wasn’t much that I could do about it now so I waited. In just a few minutes he came and got me and said to come on he was going to take me to my room. Now I worried a little because I wanted a 10€ bed but he was taking me to my room which is 25€. He opened up the door  to the room and there were four beds so I was pretty sure it was a bed for 10€. I went in and set up. I was kind of hoping at this point that no one would show up and I’d have the room to myself. As time passed on and I saw people pass by I knew that I had made the right decision to stay here. There is nothing in this town except for about 8 houses and about three I think are for sale. The only place to stay is here and the only place to eat is also a only here. I’ve got great WiFi in my room and the food for dinner was great and the woman also gave me a free glass of wine with my dinner because I ordered water, but wanted to buy a glass of wine. The shower is wonderful with Hot water. I have paid as much as 35€ for a room that isn’t as nice as this. I only have 12Km in the morning to summit O’Cebreiro and then I can do another 12 down the other side and start adjusting my schedule to Santiago and also catch up with Noel, my Irish friend, who is only a half a day ahead of me. I’d like to get back with him before the end so we could finish together. All in all this has been a great day and I didn’t even know it or plan it in any way. I guess the Camino does provide. It has been a Buen Camino!

Day 29 - Acebo to Cacabelos

Date:May 25, 2018

Location: From:AceboTo:Cacabelos

Mileage:32.6 Km/ 20.4 Mi..

Weather:cool and overcast in the morning turning to afternoon showers

Temperature:In the mid 50’s pretty much all day

Lodging and Cost:Las Angustias5

GPS Location:42.°36.1.” N and 6.°43.’ 53.” W

Highlights:Beautiful little city of Molinaseca and Ponferrada and the Castle.

Summary of the Day: 

Ron and I got and early start out of the Albergue. We were gone by 6:30 and making good time. We knew we had a long day with larger than normal distance to cover. I still prefer the 20-22 Km day but Ron had looked at his schedule and the deadline for himself, before his wife arrived in Santiago, so he wanted to push a little. We marked great time to Molinaseca and had a full breakfast, 2 eggs, bacon, bread, orange and café con leche. These are things that I have been missing. The full breakfast gives you the energy to put in miles. Anyway we spent about 30-45 minutes ordering and eating breakfast. After breakfast we pushed on to Ponferrada so we could take the tour of the Castle. We arrived at the Castle at 10:00 and checked in at the ticket center, where we could leave our Packs while we did the tour. It was really nice. I did it three years ago but it wasn’t organized then like now. It’s a self guided tour but now they have arrows telling you which station to go to. It’s about an hour and we were in and out at about 11:00 and back on the trail. The rest of the day was pretty much road walking and nothing spectular to see. We finally made it to Cacabelos where we thought we might better stop by a La Tienda and pick up some food because the Albergue that we were staying is a couple of Kim’s on out of town and they didn’t serve any food. Well as you would know it, it was 2:30 and siesta started at 2:00. The stores didn’t reopen until 4:30, so I suggested that we find a restaurant and just eat a pilgrim’s meal. Again as luck would have it there was no Pilgrim’s menu, thus no Pilgrims meal, so we ordered a la carte, which didn’t have much on it. Anyway I had spaghetti in a tomato sauce. It turned out that is was a pre-package deal. (YUM) After we finished eating we started walking toward our Albuergue, which turned out to be just just across the river which meant that we would be able to walk back into town in just a few minutes each way. We went and got settled into our little room of sorts. It only had two beds in the rooms which was nice, but it also only had one charging outlet and both of our units that needed to be charged was low. Ron’s was more important than mine as his was his camera and he was taking a lot of pictures. He had one completely dead battery and the other was low. I let him charge first, which took several hours as it was a camera battery. I just charged mine over night while I slept. At 4:30 I started walking back across the river to the town to the la Tienda. It had started to rain a little again but not too bad. I finally got to the Tienda and went in. There were two women working, one behind the counter and one standing in the center of the store. When I went in I said “hola”and they both responded. The one behind the counter kept doing what she was doing but seem to have a eye on me. I wandered over to the fruit and said “Los bananas”? The lady in the center of the store said “verde” (green),and they were, so I walked to another part of the little shop and the woman followed me and was right on my heals. She watched everything that I touched. Finally I picked up a bottle of “gaso”, which is a carinated water with a hit of lemon. It is for adding to wine that could be a little bitter. I like it plain, just the water. When I did that the lady behind the counter started to tell not to buy that because it wasn’t plain water. I was telling her that I liked it, and she kept saying no that’s wrong. I finally told her “me gusto gaso” and that seemed to stop her. I paid for everything and got out of there. I was feeling a little hungry on the was back and saw a little restaurant that was playing some ole 50’s rock music at the threshold of pain. I looked in and saw it looked like the old “Happy Days” type of place. They served Hamburgers and French fries. I went in and asked the man that also reminded me of the 50’s era type soda jerk about the hamburgers. After getting all the info and the price I ordered the hamburger and fries with a beer. Fifteen minutes later he brought me my food and it was really good. Here when you get onions on anything they always come cooked not raw. I ate and went back to get my gear ready for the next day. I told Ron about the place and he went over and got a hamburger as well. By the time he got back the rains had set in pretty well and we had rain all night. Ron decided to wash clothes when we got there but I told him the humidity was too high and it was going to rain and it wouldn’t get dry, also I was going to wait. He washed so he’ll be packing wet clothes tomorrow.

Today was a good day and we picked up a few extra Kms. It was a Buen Camino.

Day 28 - Rabanal del Camino to Acebo

Date:May 24, 2018

Location: From:Rabanal Del Del CaminoTo:Acebo

Mileage:16.5 Km/10.3 Mi.

Weather:a little overcast but no rain as was though to be

Temperature:Mid 50’s for the dayF°C

Lodging and Cost:Mesón El Acebo 7

Highlights:AlbergueTomás, (Another Hippy Albergue)Cruz de Ferro, and the view of the town  Acebo from up on the mountain.

Summary of the Day: 

I got up this morning in the Albergue at 6:00 but there was no hurry to get out as they were fixing a simple breakfast at 6:45 so I figured that I might as well stay for that. Ron and I ate and started to get packed up. He went on and left before me and I finally got out at 7:30. There was a lot of uphill to start. It was good though as it helps you to stretch out the leg muscles. Ron and I discussed how far to go and decided on a 25. Km day to Molinaseca but as the morning continued and he started talking about being ahead of schedule which got me to thinking that I could be as well, even though I have plenty of time here as still lots to do on other trails. He decided that he wanted to stop in Acebo so I agreed as well. It’s good to do a short day and alters my stopping point tomorrow, which is also good. I’ll be in Pomferrada which has a large castle. I can get there early and spend a lot of time in the castle looking around. Anyway we finally got to Albergue Tomás (the hippy Albergueand saw all the stuff he has there. Ron got a cuof tea but I passed on that and pushed on to Cruz de Ferro, where I put two stones on the pile of stones at the base of the cross. One was mine from LookoutMtn. and the other was given to me by my  granddaughter, Sarah. There was a really big crowd there, so we moved on heading toward Acebo. There are some of the finest views down into the valley’s below from these heights. The mountains to the South havethe peaks covered with snow, which keeps me thinking about O Cebreiro and how much snow is there. It’s a long day up and over the top of the mountain, but I will deal with that Saturday or Sunday. We continued on toward Acebo until we could see the town come into view down below. The going down hill was far worse than going uphill, but we finally made it into town. There were a number of Albergues in town. Ron wanted to stay at the AlbergueApostal Santiago, (a religious Albergue associated with the church) but it wasn’t going open until 4:00 and that didn’t work for me, or Ron so we walked back up to the AlbergueMesón El Acebo. When we came in we  were  told that we’d have to wait until 1:00 to check in but that we could reserve the two beds, and check back, so we did. Finally 1:00 arrived and the man came into the courtyard and told us to get our gear and go pick out our bunks. We both got lower bunks which is good and are centrally located in the room. We won’t be jammed in next to people. It’s always good to get to the Albergue first and early. Most of the time you get to pick your bed, but sometime they are assigned. We are in and set up. Now for shower time, which is another whole adventure of its own. The rest of the afternoon was good. I got to rest and get ready for dinner. Around 6:00Ron and went out to find this vegetarian restaurant that he saw on a board coming into town. We never saw the board again, but we found the restaurant and it was closed. We ended up eating where we were staying. Which I thought was really good. I had Lomo de cerdo, (grilled pork loin) and French fries with a large salad and a vanilla moose for desert. Pretty much after dinner it was time to turn in. 

Today was a great day… no rain and it still remains cool so we don’t burn up during the day. The hardest part about today was all the down hill into Acebo but that’s a small price to pay.

It has been a lot of fun walking with Ron, we have a lot in common. So today has just been another Buen Camino Day!

Day 27 - Astorga to Rabanal del Camino

Date:May 23, 2018

Location: From:AstorgaTo:Rabanal Del Camino

Mileage:20.6 Km/ 12.9 Mi..

Weather:warm this morning but cooling down and starting to look like rain

Temperature:Mid 50’s

Lodging and Cost:AlbergueGaucelmoDonativo

GPS Location:42,°28.56.” N and 6.°17.’ 6.” W

Highlights:The walk from Astorga to Rabanal Del Camino was uneventful as it is traveling along the side of a highway, but the end results in Rabanal is wonderful..

Summary of the Day: 

Up at 6:00 and out of the Albergue by 6:45 and on the streets to a beautiful day. It is warm enough that I could have started without a jacket. I walked for about an hour and a half before stopping for breakfast. I found a nice little restaurant in Santa Catalina Del Somoza. I didn’t see a menu for breakfast so I asked if she could fix me dinner eggs and bacon with Café con leche and orange juice. She said yes for 5€. I thought that I had heard her wrong, by that was right. What a deal! When it arrived not only did I get bacon, but she threw in 4 hot dogs, which they called sausage, but they were hot dogs. I didn’t eat the hot dogs. After a nice breakfast I was off and felt good. I was ready for the day. I started to think about not stopping at Rabanal, but then a little later I ran into Ron. The fellow that I met about a week ago in the Albergue where the So. Koreans accused the Italian of stealing their cell phone and even called the police from what I heard. (A follow up to that story... I ran into Ron a couple of days ago and he told me that the saw the So. Koreans a few days after the infamous cell phone fracas “ and she was using the cell phone. He said that he said to her, "I see you found your cell phone." Her reply was "Oh, mistake," and walked on. This after blaming someone with not proof or evidence.) Anyway Ron and I walked on into Rabanal together. He asked if I was going to stay here but I had thought about going on another 5 Km. Then he reminded me about the London based Albergue here and I had heard so much about it that I changed my plans again and decided to stay. When we got there we found out that they didn’t open until 12:30 we ran down to the local la tienda and bought a couple cervezas con limon( beer with limonand some cookies and fruit, then went back to the Albergue and waited at the door for them to open. It was long before the doors opened and we we greeted by there people. This is a albergue that is sponsored by the British Pilgrims and all three were very British. Although I think one of the men was from Canada. It is a totally "donativo"Albergue so you pay what you want. It was great and we had plenty of room. Everybody was very friend and they said that there was high tea at half past four. When the lady that was signing me in she noticed that the date on my birthdate on my passport was the same, she asked if today was my birthday and when I said yes she started signing birthday and a Spanish lady from the Basque Country back near the French/Spanish border starting singing happy birthday in Basque. It was an experience for sure. After getting cleaned up I went for a quick walk around town and see what was there. It only took about ten minutes because there is only one Main Street in town and then two streets leading off to a dead end. While it’s a small town, it has three restaurants in town and one was pretty upscale. At 7:00 the three monks at the monastery held vespers and did all the chants. I didn’t go to that as I was more interested in eating dinner. They called us down at 4:30for tea and crumpets (basically just some nice little cookies). The tea was reallgood and it was hot and the cookies came out of the local tienda, but they were good as well. Was in bed by 9:00 so I can walk in the morning after they fix us a simple breakfast

Today was a good day and a nice way to celebrate a birthday, and it was a Buen Camino

Day 26 - San Martin del Camino to Astorga

Date:May 22, 2018

Location: From:San Martin Del CaminoTo:Astorga

Mileage:23.8 Km/14.9 Mi.

Weather:another beautiful day. Short sleeved weather from the start

Temperature:In the mid 50s from the time I started at 6:30

Lodging and Cost:Albergue Sierras daMaria 5

GPS Location:42.°27.10.” N and 6.°3.’ 5.” W

Highlights:Hospital de Orbison and the sights in town. The walk into Astorga as well as the town itself.

Summary of the Day: 

Today was a great day. The German’s in typical fashion all got up at the same time  and proceeded to tell each other that they were up and then went over and turned all the lights on to announce to the ones in the room that were deaf that they were up. After that they all got packed up to leave. By that time several others were up including myself.When the German group walked out the door, they proceeded to turn all the lights off again thus leaving all of us in the dark. Remarkable group of people! Anyway I was up and packing rapidly to get on the trail at first light. I wanted to have a full day in Astorga. I’ve always liked this little town. It wasn’t long before I was coming to Hospital de Orbigo. I was looking forward to having a good breakfast there but the restaurant on the river wasn’t open yet so I pushed on. I did stop by the Albergue San Miguel to check the date of the Mid evilFestival. This town hosts it every year. They have jousting matches and Falconry, all kinds of sword fights, not to mention the typical jesters and clowns. It’s a fun weekend, I was here in 2013 and spent the weekend in town. When I first came across the bridge into town it looked like they might have just had it as tents were set up and other stuff was laying around, but when I checked the date I saw the it is going to be on June 2-3. At any rate I’ll miss it. I pushed on looking for breakfast. It was t long before I came to the little town of Villares de Orbigo and there was a nice restaurant. I had a full breakfast as well as watched the news on TV. It looks like the volcano in Hawaii might have finally blown its top. I remember when I lived in Hawaii back in the early 70’s, that was a feature on the nightly news. All they talked about was how it was oozing lava which was making the island larger.  

Anyway after breakfast I headed off for Astorga. About 5 Km. On top of the mountain before coming into Astorga there is a fellow that lives in a little self made shack of sorts, but he puts fruits of all kinds and drinks for everybody to help themselves. It a donation type affair. His fruit is always fresh and good. As I was coming up toward his place I saw a number of people there taking a break and eating fruit. When I got there he was cutting watermelons and they looked good. I stopped like the rest of the people and ate some watermelon. He probably makes more by doing it by donation than putting a price on each piece. As I crossed the road I could see Astorga in the distance and the staples of the Cathedral down below. I had thought about where I was going to stay tonight. Last time I was here I stayed in the Gaudi Hotel and it was very nice, but more expensive and I was totally isolated from the other Pilgrims. This time I’m staying in mostly Albergues along with others. It’s a lot of fun, but now that Albergues are taking reservations it is some times a challenge to get a bed. I’ve been pushed on 3 times so far and the worst is yet to come when we hit the last 100 Km. Well I came to the first Albergue as I came into town and stopped to look when two ladies came out. I askedthem if there were any beds available and they said yes and that the place was nice and had been modernized. That was enough for me. I went in. The place was great and I got a bed for 5€.  

After I got settled in and cleaned up I hit the town. I walked up to the Cathedral to look at it and ran in to one of the women from a week or two ago. See was looking for a nice place to eat and wanted to know if I knew of a place with the menu of the day available. I said no but that we could find one. We walked down the street and I saw a couple of older men standing there talking so I asked them. In two minutes we were on our way. They told us of two nice restaurants only a couple of blocks away. We went in and I ask to see the menu of the day and it looked good. All the tables were covered with white linen and all the knives and forks and spoons were set, along with various glasses, so we knew we weren’t eating at one of the ordinary restaurants, this was really nice. We had a three course meal along with a good bottle of white wine. We spent about two hours having lunch. Good food, good wine and good company. It was a great way to spent the afternoon. After lunch she had things to do and so did I, so we said we’d see each other up the trail and went our separate ways. 

Later I found a great little backpack shop. it wasn’t just your basic Camino shop to sell the peregrino something. This was a full scale backpack shop with equipment that I use and would have bought some new Wrightsock brand sock if he had my size. (They’re the best sock made). I spent about an hour talking to the owner and his wife. I wish I were going to be here another day I’d go back and look some more. Anyway after that my day was pretty well done it was getting late and bedtime is right at 9:00. And I get up around 5:30 to 6:00, depending on if Germans are in the room. (Lol)

Today has been one of my best days on the Camino and it truly was a Buen Camino.

Day 25 - Leon to San Martin del Camino

Date:May 21, 2018

Location: From:LeónTo:San Martin Del Camino

Mileage:26 Km

Weather:Beautiful blue skies and cool in the morning and warm in the afternoon

Temperature:In the 50’s early but warmed up fast by 10:00 into the mid 60’s

Lodging and Cost:Albergue Santa Ana 6

Highlights:Very uneventful it was a road walk just about the entire.

Summary of the Day: 

This was one of those days where there was nothing but traffic. Yes you were on a path which was just about 10 to 15 feet off the road and all you had to do was to put your head down and put one foot in front of the other. All I could do was look for an Albergue to stay in. It didn’t arrive too soon. It was a nice place to stay and I was the only one there for the better part of the afternoon, but then people started to come in. By 5:00 it was three fourth full. Which was fine except that everybody that came in were either German, or French. The Albergue owners fixed a communal dinner which was good, but the only conversation around the table was French or German, No one spoke English, so that was a little awkward, the French talked among themselves and the Germans among themselves and I just ate dinner and glanced around. When I was finished all I could do was sit there so as not to appear rude by leaving. Finally one fellow left and like a shot I was out of there. It was a good dinner though.

The day wasn’t one of my best but I’m on the Camino and not all days are diamonds and like this one it was somewhat of a Stone. Tomorrow will be a Buen Camino, I get to go into Astorga and spend the day.

Day 24 - León for an off day

Date:May 20, 2018

Location: From:LeonTo:León 

Mileage:o.o.

Weather:Beautiful – Blue skies

Temperature:warm in the 50’s in the morning and in the 70’ in the afternoon

Lodging and Cost:Albergue San Francisco (Room) 45€

GPS Location:42.°35.37.” N and 5.°34.’ 12.” W

Highlights:sightseeing around the city.

Summary of the Day: 

First day off since I started the trail on the 28th of April. I slept in until about 7:30 then I got up and after getting dressed I remembered a little local restaurant that I went to three years ago for breakfast. I took en off and found it. It was as great as it ever was. Two eggs, toast with jelly, bacon and café and fresh orange juice all for 5,80 €. After breakfast I headed out for the Cathedral to get my credential stamped. From that point on I spent the day just was walking around looking at all the sights. It would have been nice to have someone 5ere to see the sights too, but it was nice just to pass the time away.This was another Buen Camino Day.

Day 23 - Mansillas de las Mulas to León

Date:May 19, 2018

Location: From:Mansilla de las MulasTo:León

Mileage:18.1 Km/11.3 Mi.

Weather:Absolutely beautiful, blue skies, cool to start then turned into short sleeve shirt weather.

Temperature:Upper 50’s to start then went up to the lower 70’s

Lodging and Cost:Albergue San Francisco ( an individual room), 45€

GPS Location:42.°35.37.” N and 5.°34.’ 12.” W

Highlights:having to take a detour into the city and climbing to the highest point where all the phone towers are and seeing the entire city laid out for you..

Summary of the Day: 

This was and exciting day for me on many levels. First I love the city of León, I like the way it is laid out and secondly all the neat things there is to do and see. The food is good and the people are really welcoming , like none of the other big cities, (Pamplona, and Burgos). León seems to have a bit more history to it. I left the Albergue at 6:40 Walking to León along a path by the roadI walked for about 2 hours before I came to a nice bar where I stopped for Café con leche and had a little breakfast. I took about 30 minutes before I got back on track walking in. It took me until about 11:00 get into the city. As I was walking in a met a man from the UK who was section hiking the Camino. He had started about a week ago in Burgos and was going to finish his section hike this coming Monday by taking a bus to Santander to meet his wife and daughter to head down South to Barcelona for a family vacation. Anyway we were walking together when he ask me if knew where the bus station was, of course I didn’t, so he stops the first man on the street and starts asking him in English. The Spanish man didn’t know what the fellow was saying nor did the man from the UK know what the Spanish man said. That’s where my Spanish came in. I was able to ask the man for directions to the bus station and get the info to the man from the UK. It was great. I feel that it was one of my better Spanish days. Right after I came to where I was going and told the fellow from the UK.  Best of luck and went into where I was going. I checked to see about a room and they had one and I was in. After cleaning up I walked up to the Cathedral to look around and get something to eat. While there I sent my friend Noel, from Ireland, an e-mail to let him know I was here. I walked past one of the patio restaurants and I saw the man from the UK sitting there eating. I asked him if he was able to find. The bus station and get his ticket for Monday and he said yes that the directions were perfectFinallylater that day I got an e-mail from Noel and we met up a short time after that. We spent the evening walking around the city and finally I told him about a music festival in the city park and asked if he wanted to go. He said yes and we were off. It was a lot of fun. Nothing like country music Spanish style. They played and got the crowd involved singing and dancing.It didn’t end until after 10:00. It was a lot of fun. Noel headed back to his Pensión and I back to mine. He is heading out in the morning but I’m going to stay another day and night to sight see and I’ll leave Monday morning early and catch on Tuesday or Wednesday. This was an ending to a perfect day. A nice fairly short walk and great town to come to, with a good clean place to stay and someone to sight see with. I’d say that it doesn’t get any get any better than that. And that makes for a Buen Camino.

Day 22 - Bercianos del Real Camino to Mansilla de las Mulas

Date:May 18, 2018

Location: From:Bercianos Del Real CaminoTo:Mansilla de la Mulas

Mileage:26.7 Km/16.7 Mi.

Weather:Beautiful weather and cool in the morning, but turned warmer

Temperature:in the mid 50’s in the morning and went up in the middle 60’s

Lodging and Cost:Albergue Municipal 5

GPS Location:42.°29.59.” N and 5.°25.’ 6” W

Highlights:same Meseta path as the last 5 days, but still very prettand happy to be in Mansilla de las Mulas.

Summary of the Day: 

Well up early this morning after an eventful night last night in the albergue. There were just the three of us in the bedroom, (me and the two Germans that spoke or understood any English) about 9:00 we turned all the lights off to go to sleep, and within 5 minutes they started a conversation with each other at the top of their lungs. This carried on for about ten minutes so I made a sound of irritation to let them know it was time to be considerate and quiet. They got quiet and I dosed off to sleep, then it started again, but only louder and it woke me up, then my tone changed and I said in English to be quite and go to sleep! Again they stopped, but about 10 minutes later they started again, and that’when I hollered “That’s it” and got up heading to the front desk. One of the men jumped out of bed and grabbed me and said "No!" I pushed him back and said I needed sleep and went to the door. By the time I walked down the short hall to the desk the night manager was standing there. I told him what was happening and he went to the room. Both Germans were sitting in their beds. The manager didn’t speak German, but he looked at them and then put his finger to his lips and said "shhhh." He turned and left and they never made another sound for the rest of the night. At any rate I slept pretty well and was up and on the trail by 6:15. The walk was along a path which went next to the  side of a little use road all the way to Mansilla de las Mulas. It basically had no rise or fall was perfectly flat across the desert. It wasn’t hard except for on your feet. This kind of trail gets hot and the surface is hard. I passed one little air strip at the village of Villamarco, but there were no planes the and the dirt airstrip looked like it hadn’t been used in quite some time. I think, even though it had a sign up saying it was an airstrip, that it was probably a dust cropping strip. I finally got to where I was going and found the Albergue that I wanted to stay in. It was really nice. The building was built around a nice courtyard so you could sit outside and the winds would blow you away. All the bedrooms were up stairs on the second floor but the showers and bathrooms were down on the first floor. I got a good bunk in the back with a window. I had plenty of room and it was quite that night. I ran into Ron from, Arizona, whom I had met a number of days back in the Albergue where we had the “South Korean cellphone incident” and we ate dinner together that night. All in all it was a good day and this makes for a buen Camino.

Day 21- San Nicolas del Real Camino to Bercianos del Real Camino

Date:May 17, 2018

Location: From:San Nicolas Del Real CaminoTo:Bercianos Del Camino

Mileage:17.5 Km/11.0 Mi..

Weather:Beautiful Cool in the early morning, but but 10:00 was short sleeve shirt weather.

Temperature:In the mid to upper 50’s early but in the mid 60’s by noon

Lodging and Cost:Albergue La laperala, 10

GPS Location:42.°23.21.” N and 5.°8.’ 12.” W

Highlights:More MesetaWalking, but the city of Sahagúnwas a good break point.

Summary of the Day: 

Noel and I got up and we’re out of the Albergue by 7:30. We took off heading toward Sahagún 6 Km away for a nice breakfast. I told Noel about the halfway certificate that he could get there and he really wanted to go there. After we ate some breakfast we walked up to the convent where he could see the display and we could get our certificatesWhen we got there it was closed and the sign said it opened at 10:30 and it was only 9:45. He said that he really wanted it, so I said that we could wait if he like, and I’d stay with him. He said no and that we should go. I think that he was disappointed and really wanted to stay. At any rate we left and went back to the walking the gravel and stone track next to the highway. After walking another 10 km we came to Bercianos Del Real Camino and I suggested that we stop for the day. It was just about noon and I thought that first of all we’d end up in a situation like yesterday and I wasn’t going to walk another 30+ Km Days. That would end my trip for sure. It’s just not worth tearing your body down completely. This is the thing that non-experienced hikers don’t understand. Give your body time to build up.  You’ll have a better time in the end. Well he said that he felt good and wanted to continue. I said ok. I’ll see you up the trail because I’m staying here. We parted company. There is a chance I won’t ever see him again, but the truth of this is I probably will. I hope it’s just because he slowed down, not because of injuries. Anyway he went on and I went up to a new Albergue. They had beds for 10€ a night and it is 4 people  to a room and the beds look brand new and there is plenty of room in the room. I have good WiFi in the room, so I got everything that I need. About two hours later two Germans came in and one of the things they wanted to know was do I speak German. I said no and not another word has been exchanged between us. One has been out, I think at the bar and the other has been asleep all afternoon. This is fine with me because I’m wanting to rest anyway. It was really nice being alone for a change as I could work on the blog and also not be pulled here and there to go do this or that. Finally it was nearing dinner time so I went and asked when was dinner being served and the woman told me that it would be from 6:30 to 8:00 and I understood her to say there wasn’t a Pilgrim’s menu but as it turned out there was and for 10€ I got a nice steak and French fries along with a large salad and for dessert ice cream. After that it was pack for tomorrow and go to bed.  I’m looking forward to days off in Leon. Today was truly a Buen Camino.

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