Another 15 miles.
As I mentioned yesterday, we stayed in a trail not on the Camino Frances. It was a sleepy little town. We stayed in whats referred to as a rural house. The owners were a husband and wife couple. It was clear the husband marched to his own drummer.
We had an enjoyable evening. The husband was singing as he prepared our dinners in the kitchen. The food was quite good and definitely not traditional pilgrim menu. Only two rooms out of 7 were occupied. The place was beautiful.
T&M made it pretty clear they were likely not walking in the morning. So I set about getting things ready for the morning with as little disturbance to them as possible. I thought I would sleep in so I set my alarms for 6:15.
We all went to bed really early. I chatted with home via text until about 11 and then passed out. Like a light switch flipped on, I was awake at 5:15. I laid in bed for a few minutes before realizing sleep was futile. I got up and took a quick shower.
I was on the trail by 6:15 with not a soul in sight. Camino Romana is definitely not a popular way to go. I hiked all morning and saw a grand total of 6 pilgrims. Out if the gate I walked through a 10 mile dry stretch. There was no breakfast at the hotel and. I thing else in town was open. I subsisted on 3 pieces of fruit until I came to a small town called Reliegos.
I had been hiking for about 45 minutes when I received a text from Tony. Molli had decided she wanted to walk, so they set out. They would meet me in Mansilla.
When I arrived in Reliegos, I stopped at an albergue that had a cafe attached and had an egg sandwich, pastry of some sort and a café Americano. I’m sure the detox from caffeine when I get home is going to be thrilling, but here it’s not worth the effort of asking for a decaf. The caffeine has also been a welcome boost in the mornings when the mileage from the day before still has me weary.
From there it was less than 5 miles into Mansilla de las Mulas. From Reliegos, I merged back with the Camino Frances. It was a nice trail beside a rural road. I walked in the cover of shade trees the rest of the way. A welcome break from the exposed dirt road I had come from.
Today’s hike flew by. I arrived in town just after 11. 15 miles in 4 hours 45 minutes with a stop for breakfast. The flats make for easy fast hiking. I rarely managed faster than 2.25 miles an hour on the PCT. Hugely different dynamics at play, but a comparison none the less.
I arrived in Mansilla and found a place to stay. I let T&M know where the hotel was so they could find it. I went down to the town square and wrote for a little while. I saw a number of familiar faces come into town. Shortly after 1, Tony let me know they were at the hotel. Odd, I thought, considering I would have seen them come into town. I walked the block back to the room and met them.
It turned out they took a cab from a point on the trail. Mollis leg was still giving her problems. They dropped their stuff and we headed out for lunch. We all had Paella and an ensalada mixta.
It’s peculiar, but I am developing a taste for raw tomatoes. I’m sure it has something to with the calories I’m burning and the nutrients I’m losing. Prior to the Camino, I would just as soon not eat, than eat a raw tomato. My how things change. It will be interesting to see if my new-found taste translated back home.
After lunch, I laid down and took an hour and a half nap. Both T&M took a siesta as well. Before the Camino both of them were pretty adamant that they didn’t nap during the day. Sheer exhaustion will soften even the toughest resolve.
After the nap I wondered down to the bar and had a couple of beers with an Irishman. Michael is 33 and spent the last 15 years traveling to different countries partying and teaching English. He’s an interesting guy. You can tell he’s looking for the next stage of life. The wanderlust is starting to fade.
Tony and I lamented early on; we are all here for a reason. Few just happen across the way. Most are drawn for one reason or another.
Tomorrow we arrive in Leon. There has been a draw to Leon since we have arrived. I look forward to what it has to offer. It’s also a short hiking day. Only 11 miles. Yes, only!
Happy summer solstice