Today we arrived in El Burgo Ranero (after 27km walk) and will probably get to Mansilla tomorrow and then on Friday on to Leon for a rest day. The past few days have been cold and at times rainy and definitely a challenge to walk through mud when trying to do so in sandles! With the blister heel it is not practical to get foot in boot, so sandles will have to do for now. Anyone got good blister remedies? I was so hoping I´d get through without a blister, but no thanks to my 1000 Mile Socks, I still got one anyway. Hope to find a pharmacia this afternoon after the shops open again.
The afternoon siesta really is a daily thing here in Spain. Shops close at about 2pm and only open at 5pm (small villages and the major cities). NO chance you find anything open except bars during that time. Also very little activity before 9 or 10am in the morning – most businesses open from 10am and kids are definitely not in school by 8am.
We always hope and pray to find a bar open somewhere early in the morning so that we can get our first cup of coffee! As we start walking at 6am, we usually only get our ´cafe con leche´ later. The night owl suffers daily for lack of lie-in time and lack of late night reading! By the way, a ´bar´ seems to be a general term for the place where you can buy anything from coffee and a croissant to heavy liquor and also sometimes get access to internet and the daily news on the TV. Very functional gathering places for locals and also not very clean, but useful for desperately hungry and thirsty pelegrinos!
I am craving something to read in English and hope to get a newspaper in Leon again. There is simply no English reading material along the way – I´ve searched every shop and alberge from here to San Juan it seems, but no joy.
Interestingly enough the Spanish men are as far as we can gather a bunch of chatterboxes! They talk continually and loudly in Spanish! Amazing. It is the same everywhere, constantly. I think our South African men are definitely not even close to being so talkative. We´ve still not gotten used to the constant loud talking in Spanish we hear daily, everywhere. But then again – this is Spain and we have to try and get used to it. If only we can understand a little more, it will help. However, now we are finding more pelegrinos from other countries and not just predominantly from Spain and France. Today I walked with a lady from Bulgaria. We also have our troop of people who are more or less keeping to the same walking schedule daily and end up staying in the same towns. You actually get quite attached to these people and every day we check up on one another´s wellbeing as it relates to the blisters, heels, knees and ankles! Last night we had dinner with a South African guy from Joh´burg (a priest) and two guys from Belgium and a German guy now living in Spain. All cultures, religions, shapes and sizes – we see them on the Camino!
Well, I have to close off and check if my washing has dried outside. The washing line is next to the perimeter fence of a school next to the alberge and while I was hanging up my clothes, a bunch of kids were looking at me through the fence as if I was an exotic zoo animal! As if they´ve never seen a tired pilgrim before! Such is life on the Camino – strange things happen and it is all part of the experience.
So from El Burgo Ranero it is bye for now and Buen Camino!