Wednesday, May 30, 2018 … 27 km … 17 miles, Cloudy / Sun
Today was a day full of towns and options. The morning would be full of plenty of places to sit and take a break, but the afternoon was different. There were two paths today. The Real Camino Frances is the most popular and was 23.5 km. The other option is the Via Romana which is 26.7 km. You might wonder why would someone choose to have a longer day. Here is why.
The Via Romana would take us along a rural splendor. It offers us the opportunity to walk the Roman Road, supposedly the most perfect extant of the Roman road in modern Spain. The original pavement is visible at times.
We did choose to walk the Roman Road and I am so glad we made this decision.
The first 18 km of the day we would have towns and a good portion walking along a highway. Then we would split from this Camino and walk the Roman Road. This would be on a wide dirt path across the remote countryside. No breaks and very little shade for 9 km. There would be a café in a small town just before we start the Roman Road. Which would definitely be a stop for us.
Again, being the great team that we were, we all agreed on this path. We sent Minh’s bag ahead but this time we didn’t make reservations. We figured most pilgrims would walk the regular route so we should be fine.
As everyone was packing up to get ready to walk, I scooted down to the restaurant to get a quick Café con Leche. I knew we would be stopping just down the road but I enjoyed this little treat.
Everyone left at the same time this morning, so today we had a group of nine. At least for the time being. We weren’t sure of the route they chose to do.
After a few kilometers, we came to Moratinos. This little village was unusual because it had lots of underground ‘dwellings’ – we called it our Hobbit village. But I guess everyone did, because the sign read, “No! The Hobbits don’t live here!”
it looked like a Hobbit village. They were bodegas, historically used to store food and wine, nowadays used for parties and storage cellars.
This town was so cute, they had wrapped the trees with quilts.
Not only was the town cute with a Hobbit village, but I was also able to get a piece of toast with peanut butter on it. Now that is a rare occurrence along the Camino. Peanut Butter!!
We would be walking through one big town today, Sahagun. As we left the Hobbit Village, the path looked like any other day along the Camino. Starting with a Santiago sign.
We continued talking with our new friends. It was a very nice morning. The weather was cool with the clouds and the spirits were high.
As we arrived at the next town San Nicolas, our four friends said they were going to stop again. We stopped long enough for a bathroom break but felt ready to move on. We said our goodbyes and said, Buen Camino!
But of course, we had time for a group shot, we had to remember this moment.
Sahagun was 7 km away and we had planned to stop there. As we walked, I was telling everyone that there was a church on the map I would like to stop and take some pictures and say a quick prayer. That’s of course if it is open. It was just before Sahagun and it was called Virgin del Puente.
Until then, we had 4 km along a highway. Nothing exciting but nice.
We came to a junction, we could continue on the highway or turn to see the church, we went towards the church.
Our Lady of the Bridge. The original pilgrim hospice was no longer standing but it was a nice chapel with beautiful grounds. Picnic tables gave the weary pilgrims a place to rest. Lots of trees and shade.
Sahagun was a larger city but not too big. A nice city. Next time, I will stay a night here as well. So much to see. It is also the center point of the Camino and you can get a halfway certificate. We had found a little Irish pub, yes you heard me correctly an Irish pub.
We went inside and enjoyed our break. As we were sitting, I looked for where we could get our certificates but they were not open. Oh well, next time. Meanwhile, Cale was trying to find out when the running of the bulls would be happening. It had to be soon because of the gates on the roads. Check out the video below.
We missed the running of the bulls by 14 days!
The last thing to do before we left town was to find the grocery store. Snacks would be a good idea to have for the long dry spell on the Roman Road. Once we left Sahagun, we had 4 km to the Roman Road and 13 km to our resting place.
We found our Supermercado Dia and went in and bought lunch and snacks.
I think Natalie had the right idea, a little dessert for after lunch.
Just then we all saw the rock with the sign, pilgrim staff, and shoes. We had reached the geographical halfway point of the Camino. Of course, we had to take pictures.
A lesson on the Camino, don’t get in a rush. Enjoy every moment. Take your time. Be present.
So many people rush to get to the next town and they are missing out on all the moments along the Camino.
What a beautiful stretch after leaving Sahagun. It was along the road but lined with trees and a nice trail. We had 4 km and then we would be at the Roman Road. It was now 11:30 am.
The things we do along the Camino. Especially when every muscle is sore. Check out Minh and Cale, they were very creative along the Camino.
Again, we came to our fork in the Camino. We had to cross the road and make our way into the town called Calzada del Coto. It was lunchtime. We decided to sit at the café in town and buy drinks, but eat the lunch food we had just purchased at Dia. Of course, I also bought a Snickers at the cafe.
Enjoying the nice breeze and talking with the other pilgrims. There were only a few. Most pilgrims stayed on the main route. We didn’t waste much time because we did want to get to town and get a bed. After a final bathroom break, we stepped out into the bright sun and headed down the road.
Luca took this great shot of Cale and me at the beginning of the Roman Road, I just love it.
8 km and the sun is shining. This stretch was long and dry. Just countryside and not much of anything else. Once we left town, we didn’t see anything else until our next town. Not a house, not a car, nothing.
The last few kilometers were tough. It was hot and I was tired. I think everyone was tired. Everyone was walking alone and being quiet. Just then we saw the most beautiful thing, the town.
Yes! I was so happy. As we walked into town, we passed a café and there were a few pilgrims we knew, a quick wave and we kept walking to the Municipal Albergue in town. This is where Minh’s bag was delivered and this is where we were hoping to get a bed.
As we walked in the door of the hostel, we saw Minh’s bag, I know that made him happy. The good news, they had some beds left. Also, this was a donativo, even better! Yay! Happy days!
Hostel: Albergue de Calzadilla de los Hermanillos, 22 beds, Donation
The hostel was perfect. It had a large dining room/sitting room. They even had a library. The kitchen was nice and the little nooks with the bunk beds were also nice. Just a quaint little hostel. We were happy to get a bed. There was a little grocery store across the road which was just right. Small but they had the essentials. After the normal afternoon routine, we just relaxed around the hostel.
I was outside enjoying the weather and saw a few pilgrims sitting in the backyard. One looked familiar, was that Greg? As I looked closer, it was him. I met Greg about a week ago and haven’t seen him since. We met him while eating at a café. He welcomed me and I sat and just enjoyed the conversation. After a little while, I excused myself and went back inside.
Everyone was lounging, talking, and playing cards. Sean was in there. He said the rest of them stayed on the regular route but he was wanting to do this section. As we were all hanging out a guy named Marco came to the table and introduced himself. He said, he was from Italy and he wanted to cook everyone dinner. Who would want to eat with him?
Wait, what? Someone we have never met wanted to cook everyone dinner.
He needed to know how much to cook so he asked us to raise our hands if we wanted to join him. We all raised our hands. There ended up being about 14 people. We all tried to give him money but he said, “no his treat!”
We all wanted to do something, so we said we would get the Vino. Marco proceeded to shop and cook and wouldn’t let anyone help. So sweet! We ended up with about 6 bottles of Vino on the table.
It was perfect, an amazing pasta dish and great fellowship.
“Blessed are you, pilgrim, when you find God’s grace on this path of life.”
Wednesday, May 30, 27 km … 17 miles
Today was a long day. We walked along the old Roman Road. It was amazing. To think of all the pilgrims that walked this before us. So much history, so many prayers.
We are at the halfway point. Halfway to Santiago. Such an amazing pilgrimage!
I love staying in the hostels. All the different people, all the different faiths, it’s so awesome. Talked to Greg from Korea about Buddhism and meditation. So awesome!
The lessons are endless and the joy is always there.
Amazing dinner! Marco from Italy cooked dinner for everyone in the Albergue. So good, amazing dinner, good food, good times, good vino!
Good night and Buen Camino!