July 17, 2008

Day 66: 18 June- Moratinos to El Burgo Ranero

I let myself out quietly at the Peaceable to make an early start at 6am, as it seemed like it might turn into a hot day later. I picked up the eggs that Paddy had kindly boiled for me the night before, and hope I never woke up my hosts.....
By staying in Moratinos I was away from the pilgrim throng, and had the first 3km of the walk all to myself. And I was able to enjoy this peaceful sunrise with views all around on the flat terrain. These kind of mornings were one of the things I treasured most about the Camino.
Yellow signs in the area had new meaning for me: I knew that locals like Reb and Paddy would have been out repainting them anywhere there was confusion about direction etc.....
At the next village along, the storks were stirring on top of their church tower nest, and three Mexican pilgrims were just emerging from their albergue for the day. Soon I was in the province of Leon, and came across this peaceful chapel and old bridge.

I was glad that I had visited Sahagun the previous day with Rebekah and Paddy, as the Camino took a route through the town that seemed to just head for the albergues and bypass all else of interest.
The walk continued in its flatness. The trail moved close alongside a road, but this was a quiet road. Cyclists that passed by seemed particularly cheerful on this flat section in the sunshine!
Trees have been planted for shade along this section of the route, and we noticed that irrigation hose was also alongside them, a huge undertaking. The trees are relatively small still, but one day they will provide summer pilgrims with some incredibly valuable shade.

My initial plan was to stay the night in Bercianos del Real Camino, but it was still quite early when I arrived there. And though it was sunny, I figured it was only about 24C. So after a pleasant break in a local bar, I left a note for Lyne and Denis, under a stone on the seat next to the church. I had no idea whether they would get to read it or not. Then I headed off on the next 8km stretch for El Burgo Ranero.
The signs were a bit confusing when I arrived in El Burgo Ranero, but with help from a friendly local, I found the municipal albergue.
This was a purpose-built place made in the local mud-straw style. The hospitalero was friendly, and two restaurants were right over the road. This was great as my ankles were quite sore, and it was also quite warm by now....
I heard via "Radio Camino" that L & D had decided to stop in Bercianos for the night. But imagine my surprise when they turned up just as I was about to e-mail them! They had read my note, pointed out to them by some locals who seemed to know it was intended for them. And they were nosey enough to want to hear about my exploits from the previous day, when I had been spirited away from them by car! We laughed..... they had seemed to know which of the albergues to try first to find me.... somehow we had learned almost how to 'smell' each other out!!!

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