FrI can see the value in starting the Camino at St. Jean. Communities form there, and people who meet there keep running into each other on their path to Santiago.
Last night I engaged in dynamic conversation, dragged into a discussion of American politics and gun control with a group including those from Poland, Belgium, and an American transplanted from Argentina. Tonight at the dining room table I ended up talking with folks from Wales (Sam), Kendra (from Virginia), and Denmark regarding everyone’s journey, and dogs. Oh and fairys and ferrys (an early confusion point that ended up a running joke all evening).
Sam arrived later than expected last night, after 8:00 pm, including delays in the bus schedule and necessary reconstruction of his bicycle after packing it in a (provided) bicycle bag on the bus. By that time the Municipal Albergue had no vacancies. Fortunately by then I knew my way around town (if you consider the two intersecting streets). In my comings and goings over the past couple of days I’d cycled through most of town. We wandered to the albergue I had in mind, but the sign outside indicated a price four times what I’d seen earlier. We wandered off to try another one. More success the third time. I helped to get Sam checked in (causing some confusion there with two of us). Sam had anticipated that, even with his lack of Spanish, I’d be able to translate for this journey based on my background. I can barely hang in there, but get slowly better.
Afterwards we sat around a bit to catch up, before the albergue closed up and kicked me out (at the late hour of 9:30 pm). Sam would meet me at the morning at my hostel, as they would kick him out at 7:30 am where mine gave me until 8:00 am.
I returned to the municiapl albergue to have a great conversation, and went to bed. While I woke up several times in the night, I got out of bed at 7:00 am, only to find the entire 18-bed area (separated into two rooms) completely vacant. I met Sam, and we headed out.
My knee still bothering me, I set a slow pace for the day. Sam good-naturedly isn’t in any real hurry. We also fought strong headwinds all day, and pushing against headwinds only makes them push back harder.
We planned roughly 80 km for today, at a nice casual place. We stopped in Carrion de los Condes for groceries (as the market in Fromista had not opened by the time we left this morning).
We did some searching in Sahagun for the “ancient ruin” indicated on the map, and found only the old city gate. We took a break for a while nearby in a park next to a ruined church.
Leaving Sahagun the weather began to turn even more blustery with occastional drops of rain. We found another castle – homes built into a hill. The sign outside gave a brief history, with a secific note indicating these were not hobbits, but bolzanos – spaces for storage of food and wine.
Nearing Calzada de Coto the rain began, and we ducked into an unused bus stop to outwait the rain. When the rain stopped we headed forth, only to miss our turn, turn back around, and duck back into the same rain shelter just as the inclement weather returned.
As the rain stopped a second time, we decided to press onwards. From there only 13 km remained. 2 km from our destination, the rain returned in ernest, and we (mostly) made it under a bridge to again outwait the rain.
Arriving at the municipal albergue in El Burgo Ranero, we encountered a sign indicating “completa” (full). Fortunately El Burgo Ranero must be a major Camino Frances stop point – the town abounds with hostels and albergues. The hostal across the street was quite expensive (more a motel that hostel) , but the next albergue down the street invited us in.
Forecast for tomorrow are cold and raining. We hope to get to Leon by noon before the rain starts, and I’ve already reserved a room in an actual hostel, a bit more upscale that the albergues, and a place to weather the weather. Now if only Sam can get me moving in morning in the colder temperatures.