On my way … Day 19 … Calzadilla to Mansilla

Thursday, May 31, 2018 … 23km … 15 miles 

Last night as Marco was cooking dinner, we ran across the street to buy supplies for today’s walk. This day started off with a long stretch of nothingness. Just us and the long old Roman road for 17 km, 11 miles. The guidebook showed one picnic table along the way.  

Lunch was bought and we planned on sitting and eating somewhere along the Roman road. 


As we ate our breakfast at the hostel, I realized there was no coffee. As you can see, I do like my cup in the morning. No worries, I just had a great breakfast and I have lunch in my pack. I have water and an Aquarius (remember this is their electrolyte drink) all will be well. 

The sun was just over the horizon as we stepped out the door. I stopped, should I go get a Cafe con Leche? No, the cafe is in the opposite direction. That was the last thing I wanted to do.  

We were all ready for our day. After looking at the guidebook, we had decided to take the Roman road to Reliegos, 17km away. When we leave Reliegos the Camino would follow the highway to Mansilla. Good plan! 

Little did I know how good that plan really was. 

First 4 km 

As we left town the road was wide and flat. This is a nice trail, I was thinking. You could feel the extra energy in the morning, everyone was laughing and talking. Cale was lagging behind us filming his videos. The sun was rising and you could tell it was going to be warm today.  

As we arrived at the beginning of the Roman road, we had a choice, keep following the Roman road or turn left and meet up with the regular route. No one even questioned it, we started down the old Roman road. 

Roman road 

The path started to change. No longer smooth. Rocks were everywhere, big and small rocks. Loose rocks spread out everywhere. They were very hard to walk on. Did we make the right decision following the Roman road? 

I kept moving around the road, trying to find the smoother trail. I looked like I was drunk. Nothing felt right.  

We continued walking. I tried my best to act normal but inside I was starting to hit my wall. A little talking, a little quiet time, walking together, and walking alone. This continued for a few miles.  

The sun was rising and getting hotter. Oh my, this is going to be a hot one.  

This Roman road was flat with nothing! 

The Wall 

Then it happened. On Day 19, I have hit the wall.  

What is the wall? It will happen to you, either day 5 or day 20, somewhere along the Camino you hit a wall. It’s when your body and your mind are stretched to the limit. Most marathon runners hit it at 17 km. You just have to push yourself through it and you will feel amazing on the other side.

I knew it was happening. My body and mind were shutting down. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, I just wanted to be alone. Prayer wasn’t even a thought, no energy. I just wanted to be alone. I wanted to distract myself from what was happening.  

What was happening? 

My feet were heavy, my legs were tired, I was hot. I just wanted to get through this stretch. The rocks seemed like boulders. I couldn’t lift my feet high enough. I kept tripping myself on the rocks. The bottoms of my feet were sore. I couldn’t find a smooth spot. It was hot. I was miserable.  

Please just let me be alone.   

In these “hitting the wall” moments, you have an opportunity to grow and expand. But at this moment, I didn’t care. 

A book, this will distract me. I can listen to a book on my phone. I grabbed my phone and put my earbuds in and pushed play. Awe, a nice book to distract me. This will be perfect. Just as the book started, it wasn’t even into the second sentence.  

I heard the Lord say, “why do we(humans) always distract ourselves from our pain and suffering, we must embrace it to grow.” 

What? Why did you have to say that to me now? I want to distract myself. 

But I heard Him and I knew. So, I carefully took the earbuds out of my ears and placed my phone back in my pocket.  

Ok Lord I am listening, but I can’t do it without you. 

And I walked. 

I walked in silence, no prayers, no words. Just me, the earth beneath my feet, and Our Lord. 

Slowly, step by step, things got easier, I felt a little better. Not perfect but better.  

During these steps, I embraced the pain. Embraced the sorrow. Embraced my cross.  

Moments of tears and moments of silence.

Step by step I walked in prayer now. Feeling the peace within my soul. So thankful for this day along the old Roman Road.

A day I will never forget because this day was the day, where I embraced every part of me. I embraced every part of my life, I embraced everything.  

“Hardships prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary life.” – C.S. Lewis 

I felt peace within, I felt my heart open. My heart was healed. All is well. 

I am back Lord, I am back. Thank you for this, thank you.   

Spiritual traditions from around the world emphasize that although life can be painful, a higher power is at work using our circumstances to humble us and to shape us into what he, she, or it wants us to be. C.S. Lewis once noted, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Richard Rohr opines that suffering “doesn’t accomplish anything tangible but creates space for learning and love.” Suffering serves the purpose of humbling us and waking us from the dream of self-sufficiency. Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/why-we-need-heroes/201504/want-be-hero-embrace-suffering-and-sacrifice 


As all of this was happening within me and everyone was just walking. Not sure what was going on within them but Wow what a day for me. I was feeling better but now I was hungry.  

Just up the path was some big stones, the perfect spot to sit and enjoy our picnic. We had to be getting close to Reliegos, I was hoping we were only a few kilometers from town. We had left town at 7 am and it was now around 11. 

As we continued after our snack, we started to see civilization. A farm. Cows, potatoes and crops. Since we left this morning, we had only seen one car all day and only a few pilgrims. Most the pilgrims left earlier than us.  It had been a quiet day. 

The rest of the walk into Reliegos was on a long hot stretch. No trees and on top of a hill so I felt like the sun was just beating down on us. Hopefully, this town is close.  


I had never been so happy as I was when we arrived at Reliegos. I felt good spiritually and mentally but physically my body still needed some help. Food, real food, no snacks please! Coffee, please let me have some coffee! Ok, maybe I have a little coffee problem.  

My legs were tired and my feet were sore from all those rocks. 

As we walked up to the café, there was Sean again. He is like a magician; we don’t see him all day and then there he is. I plopped into the chair. Awe it felt so good to be in a chair and out of the sun. 

After ordering my food, I took my shoes off and massaged my feet. The cold pavement on my feet felt amazing. At this moment, everything was perfect.  

As I stood to start walking again, I was a different person. I felt great. We had 6km to Mansilla de las Mulas. This path followed the road, yet this path had trees. 

Up ahead on the road, we saw something odd, we kept waiting for it to get closer. It was a little red cart, being pulled by a donkey but on the donkey was a dog. I promise just look at the picture below.  

Mansilla de las Mulas 

We arrived in Mansilla around two o’clock and made our way to the hostel.   

Mansilla de las Mulas – This is one of the best medieval works of fortification in the province of León. It dates from the time at which Ferdinand II repopulated the town. The walls are made from limestone and rock and are crowned with battlements. Large fragments of the wall, several fortified towers, and one of the four gates –the Santa María gate– can still be seen today. Source: https://www.spain.info/en/places-of-interest/remains-city-walls-gateways-and-defensive-towers/ 

Hostel: Amigos del Peregrino, 70 beds, 5 Euros 

This hostel was nice. We walked in and guess what? There was Sean, he was in our room. They offered massages and had a nice courtyard and kitchen. We all unpacked our bags and rested. That was usually our go-to on arrival. Some would jump in the showers, while others like myself, liked to lay down and chill for a bit.  

I decided after that day, I needed a shower. A hot shower will feel so nice. I haven’t really talked about the showers in the hostels. Some were good, some OK. For the most part, you would have hot to warm water, but once I had nothing but cold water. Let’s just say I did a quick shower that day. But overall they have been good. Today wasn’t that day for me. 

I went into the shower area by the courtyard and proceeded to a shower. The room had 2 showers, a toilet, and a sink. One shower was available so that’s the one I entered. After undressing and hanging everything carefully so nothing would hit the floor, I turned the water on. Well, I thought I turned the water on. The water was barely coming out.  

I definitely didn’t want to change and move to another shower, what if it was the same way. This water pressure will never get my thick head of hair wet. At this point all I could do was laugh. At least it was warm. I cupped my hand under the trickle and would splash my body. I was able to lather up with soap and splash myself to get the soap off. Again, very comical.  I couldn’t wash my hair but my body was clean, it just took a little while.  

Friends along the Camino 

After we all showered, we walked into town and did the usual grocery run and exploration. The temperature had dropped and it was getting chilly. As we walked into the hostel, I saw my friend. Or should I say I heard my friend. She always yelled my name and ran to me with open arms. Such a lovely lady. We hadn’t seen each other for at least 5 days.

I never learned her name; we spoke different languages. Our language was love. A few head nods and a few words. Her husband spoke some English and he would try to translate for us. It was a beautiful Camino friendship. 

We had a nice dinner with Sean and Greg. Again, a wonderful day on the Camino. Today wasn’t easy but it was still wonderful. I have never felt better. God is good! 

My Journal: 

Thursday May 31, 23 km … 15 miles 

This was a hard day, five tough hours of walking on rocks. I was tired.  I felt like I couldn’t lift my feet. The rocks were painful, the path was difficult. 

I shared most of my journal up in the story so I don’t want to repeat it here. But today was a day of growth. 

I walked step by step in prayer and allowed Our Lord to help me grow in this suffering as I walked. 

I felt peace within, I felt my heart open. My heart was healed. All is well. 

I am back Lord, I am back. Thank you for this, thank you.   

“Blessed are you, pilgrim, if you slow down on this Camino and find rest. Rest for your soul.” 

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