A Travellerspoint blog

DAY TWENTY TWO - SAN JUSTO DE LA VEGA TO FONSEVADON

sunny 18 °C

A walk of 31 kilometers was finally completed in around 6 hours. We knew the mountainous area was coming, and certainly it was a trial today, the last five kilometers were really steep and drained the last of our energy.

The way was among the trees of several forests with the beautiful autumn colors that have become visible most of the recent days. There is a beautiful style to the towns in this area. In the first two weeks most of the towns had white walls and flowers in the windows, and last week the few towns on the way had yellow, cream and brown walls, but today there were many places which were really small, only one street towns, but even more gorgeous, with most of the buildings having walls made of stones.

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Our albergue was in the middle of nowhere, in a town with a population of 6 people, ha ha ha. It is a beautiful place in the mountains with an unforgettable view. The albergue was gorgeous, with Miguel as a hospitalero, and when we arrived he was picking up mushrooms, and he gave me two for my lunch – they were magic mushrooms which made me happy for the rest of the day (this is not true, ha ha ha), they were really yummy. After my shower and lunch I headed out to find more mushrooms for Miguel and found a special one, he said the one that I found was one of the most delicious mushrooms there are and there are not many of them, lucky me.

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In this albergue we all cook together and we had fun making dinner.I It was absolutely hilarious to listen to the people with their stories about the Way, everybody talking about their blisters and pains. Somebody said “No pain no glory”, and now I understand why my feet were a little naughty at the beginning. It was a really good night with great pilgrims.

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We had the good luck to meet a father and his son, Saturdino and Oscar, the poor son had suffered so much on the first day of his Way seeing how his feet looked, and he had to abandon his boots the first day and buy a new pair. They were really nice people, and were really concerned for me, as my backpack looks really big, but it is not too heavy. They brought me half of their lunch they got at a local café/restaurant to give me energy, such cute people.

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Posted by erika_simon 10:58 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

DAY TWENTY ONE- HOSPITAL DE ORBIGO TO SAN JUSTO DE LA VEGA

sunny 18 °C

We decided today to have a short walk because we wanted to stop in the albergue where Carlos (our old friend) had worked, and also because Simon had some issues with his left foot.

We left early which is life as usual now, and when we did first step out, the first surprise was there, a big full moon. It was stunning to walk for around one hour with the moon in the night sky above us, it was our light for our walk in the dark early this morning. The moon showed our path, the corn fields, the trees and the surrounding towns.

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The sensation of perceiving the power of the moons light, its energy and its beauty, was a miracle this morning. This kind of phenomenon has surprised me and made me appreciate these gifts of nature. In addition, it rained last night and as a consequence our friend “mud” was present in many places of our walk today.

On the way we were walking happily, enjoying the path when suddenly we found a gift from the universe. A table with fruit, breads, juices, etc, for free being given by two angels to the passing pilgrims. It is a place calls La Casa de los Dioses (Gods’ House), where David and Andres lived (in the middle of nowhere) and offered food to the pilgrims without cost, only for hugs and a smile. Everything that they offer is organic, and they prepare the bread, omelets and rice using a wood burning fire.

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We had a long conversation with them about the meaning of the Way. In many places the sense of the Way has changed in Spain, and it is now more commercial and financial than a spiritual sensation. David wants to make things different, by only seeking donations and help from the people of the nearby towns, he provides things for the pilgrims. For us it had an enormous value, and after walking for many hours and finding an apple or a banana in the middle of nowhere it is something magical; it shows the love of special people for others and for the Way.

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After this gift, we arrived at the albergue that we were looking forward to staying at for the night. Another gift for us, a lovely, small, cozy place hosted by a man named Herman or “mum”. It was a really small place with three bedrooms and the walls of the living room are full of messages that people have left for Herman and for the next pilgrims to arrive.

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Herman was a really special person who has done the Way twice and the first time he did it without any money and found a lot of help along the Way and as a way to give back he has created this albergue from donations. He offers everything that a pilgrim needs: love, smiles, shower, a bed, yummy meals (including an exquisite paella), great conversations, millions of tips, and a place to share and chat with more pilgrims, and the real sense of the Way. He is called “mum” because he cooks like the mums in Spain, or this is what people in the town said.

Posted by erika_simon 10:56 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

DAY TWENTY – LEON TO HOSPITAL DE ORBIGO

sunny 18 °C

After our time in Leon with Alexy, we started this morning with a big breakfast and early departure. It was long day with us walking around 32 kilometers, and I think the breakfast prepared by Alexy gave us a lot energy that we needed so we could walk around 8 hours.

Most of the way was next to the main road which made the day quite boring. The landscape was again green and the corn fields appeared. We arrived at a big town with a long, old, and beautiful bridge. In general the day was long, but still very enjoyable.

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We were thinking to stay in a town before this Hospital but after talking with this old guy (in the photo) we decided to walk a bit more, he persuaded us the extra distance was worth it; he was an angel, he was right this place is beautiful, middle-sized, and the architecture is truly wonderful. A nice place to prepare a yummy dinner and get plenty of rest for an another day of walking.

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I did not have much to write about today’s trip and just remember two things: Firstly, I have learned how important it is to look back. We usually are concentrating on walking and looking in front of us, but one day a lady who was in front of me, turned rapidly, took a photo and told me “never forget to look back or you can miss a stunning landscape”. From this moment I have looked back occasionally and she was right, I have been able to find astounding scenery, great people walking behind me, and sometimes a kiss blown by Simon who is following close behind me.

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Secondly, when Simon and I were leaving for our trip, we got our backpacks, and they fitted us perfectly so we could attach their belts snugly around our hips. Simon and I have lost weight and it is so funny to see how the backpacks are too big currently, the belts are too big, and we now have to wrap clothes around our waists to have most of their weight carried on the hips and not on our shoulders, and also to avoid, for me, getting the painful bruises and red marks. The things that happen after walking for 20 days.

Posted by erika_simon 10:16 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

DAY NINETEEN – MANCILLA TO LEON

overcast 15 °C

We had been talking last night in our party/dinner and I found out that this last week was a really boring landscape (not for me I loved it). It was mostly flat, grass and desert, long distances to walk, straight paths, no distractions and plenty of time to think and contemplate. Some people mentioned it was the real pilgrimage; the next coming weeks it looks like we are again going to see green and mountainous areas. Also the rainy areas are coming, so we will see how that affects things.

This morning after going to bed late last night around 10:30, we got up late and the cold and fog were waiting for us. We walked next to a main road for the first few hours and the cars were coming towards us and with their lights it was difficult to see, but the effect was amazing and Simon really enjoyed it.

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Unexpectedly the fog arrived and we could not see more than 300 meters.I It is so interesting how the weather changes, and how the fog can arrive in only a few seconds. On our way there was also a beautiful old bridge, which with the fog, the trees, and the very old architecture was one of the most beautiful moments and landscapes we have been able to appreciate.

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After 20 kilometers of walking we arrived at Leon, a gorgeous city. Most of the pilgrims fall in love with this city. It has a big cathedral, some parts of the wall of the old city are still visible as monuments, a river runs through the centre, there are big green areas, wonderful gardens, and a town square, and the famous statue of a pilgrim resting and looking at one of the most gorgeous hotels in this city.

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We were blessed to stay with a friend who we met in Palmy before our departure from home. We stayed with Alexy and he was a wonderful host, who cooked like an angel and is one of the best chefs we have met. We had a great time with him and he showed us the city, and many secret places in Leon. We had a wonderful time with him.

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Posted by erika_simon 09:59 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

DAY EIGHTEEN – BERCIADOS REAL CAMINO TO MANCILLA DE LAS MUL

semi-overcast 15 °C

After the lovely night last night we got up with an amazing breakfast and walked around 26 kilometers, and it was a rainy and cold day. Most of the way was flat and straight and with a lot energy from last night we walked without stopping for five and a half hours.

Because of the rain I did not have the camera with me and I was concerned about what photos to upload in my blog, but another memorable night was waiting for us.

Today was the first time I did not want to stop walking. After 26 kilometers when we arrived to Mancilla, the town we agreed to stop at tonight, I wanted to carry on walking - my body was not tired. I had heard this from other pilgrims that there were days for them where they only wanted to continue walking without stoping, and I did not understand what they meant until today.

Simon was tired and I stopped for him, but if I had been alone I am sure I could have done a few more kilometers. When we stopped I had to do more exercise so I did some yoga and went for a short walk around the town, ha ha ha. I could not believe this feeling, my body was so much more energetic than normal.

Most of the people that shared the albergue with us last night arrived at this albergue tonight too. This albergue was a normal place, but at night something unforgettable happened. The 40 people separated into around three groups and each group cooked together and shared the food with everybody else.

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The albergue had a big garden in the middle of the house, the rain had stopped and the night was not cold. Everybody was outside sharing, eating, laughing, and having great time. It was like a small party where everybody had an absolutely great time. The Spanish group made patatas con chorizos and pancakes, the Italian group did pasta with garlic bread and another group put together an amazing salad.

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The evening sky and stars were the witnesses of how we created a community of friends and it felt like everybody had known each other for a long time, but the reality was that most of us had met the previous night or tonight but we will probably not see each other again. For instance I had to say goodbye to two really good friends, Jacinta and Robert. She is returning tomorrow to England, and Robert is rushing to Santiago as he has to fly to Canada soon.

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Everybody was so different, but we all had something in common, the same goal that we all shared, all trying to “arrive to Santiago” next week, in two weeks, next month, next year, ….. but everybody will arrive at Santiago one day. It has been a wonderful and transforming experience for most of us.

Another thing that happened, I had not done a good job sowing Simon’s blistered feet and he has been in some pain, but because we are such blessed persons, the hospitalario in this albergue loved to help the pilgrims with their blisters. She saw Simon and got her kit: gloves, scissors, bandages, alcohol, etc. She checked his feet and started working on his blisters. Simon nearly died (see the photo, ha ha) but he is much better now.

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Posted by erika_simon 09:48 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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