September 30, 2002

9/30/02 El Burgo Ranero

31 km

A nice walk alone among the stars as I left Terradillos. A peaceful walk as both the sunlight and I made our way west to Sahagún.

Grain silos ahead in Sahagún

The very young, very pleasant hospitalero greeted me at the door of the alburgue. Although I only wanted a sello and maybe to use the bathroom, I was overjoyed when she said the perigrinos had free internet access at this refugio. After answering a few emails, I got a sandwich 'to go' from the bar across the street. Got a few more pilgrim photos before Camille and I made our way to the edge of town.

Claude [Canada]

Virginie [France]

Camille [Switzerland]

Brad & Ben Kammin [USA]

As with a few other places along the Camino, the way divided a few kilometers outside of town. I ended up taking the main route that cut across the plains. It was remarkable in that the entire path from Calzada del Coto to El Burgo Ranero (~14 km) was lined with trees planted specifically to provide shade for those pilgrims walking during the 1999 Jacobian Holy Year. Too bad the sky was overcast and threatening to storm later.

Camille, Jessie & Chris walk the tree-lined Camino

But I couldn't resist a photo-op in a cornfield when Jesse, Chris and Camille caught up to me. I continued to walk with them despite my shorter legs. [smile] I was a little sad that they were going to continue on for a killer-day of some 44 km. Said goodbye and headed for the alburgue.

Corn, corn, corn...

The wonderful Carmine, the hospitalero, welcomed me but said the beds were all full. "Would you mind sleeping on the floor?" Considering that I've carried my air mattress for almost 400-km, I'm glad to finally use it. I was the first but not the last to find a spot on the floor to sleep.

Headed across the street and who do I see eating lunch at the bar but Jessie, Chris and Camille. They decided to get something to eat before pushing on. We chatted for a while, and when they lifted their backpacks to leave, it started to rain.

Just a little dust from the road

While they kept walking, I went into the bar to have a beer with Brad. Soon, the sprinkles turned into a cold downpour and I hoped my friends had turned around and come back. Thirteen kilometers, cold and wet, on top of a very long day of walking is not good. My thoughts were with them.

Eventually the rain subsided long enough for me to get back to the alburque across the street relatively dry. Who do I find there but Camille. She said she just stopped for a second and the rain convinced her to stay. But in the short time I was away, almost every available piece of floor-space was covered by sleeping bags. And there were some very wet people trying to dry out and get warm. Should be a cozy night.

Had dinner with Brad and Ben at the bar across the street. An OK meal but the most expensive this trip at 8€. Later I got a chance to talk to the hospitaleros, Carmine and Juan. Carmine had done the Camino with her mother and sisters, and was volunteering her for two weeks. She was from Malaga and said Carlos had been here a few days ago. Juan said they were celebrating tonight because their two-weeks were up. He said it was a lot of work and some nights bad. A few days ago, a few pilgrims got drunk and threw-up all over the bathroom. But most of the time, they said the pilgrims were very appreciative of their work. We ended up having a few small glasses of orujo, a home-brew liquor. Very powerful stuff!