Saturday, May 14, 2022

Day 21 - 13 May - Sahagun to El Burgo Ranero

As Bill Haley famously sang:

When you’re walking the Meseta                          

Daily ten to fifteen mile                                          

Your mind turns into mashed potat-er                    

And you start to crazy smile                                   

And you know sooner or later                               

You’ll be losing it with style

After a coffee and giant but tasteless croissant at the hotel we were on the road this morning at twenty past eight. The stroll out of Sahagun was pleasant enough along a tree lined path which eventually morphed into a road side path and there it stayed for much of today’s eleven miles to Burgo. It sounds pretty boring I know but it all remained very pleasant. The adjacent road to our right hand side saw only a handful of vehicles pass and the countryside to our left was largely green and - yes you’ve guessed it - pleasant. 

We had a good six and a half miles from Sahagun to Bercianos del Real Camino, a small village and the only rest stop of any consequence between Sahagun and Burgo. So we stopped for coffee, a slice of tortilla and a very tasty slice of Tarta Santiago. Then onwards to Burgo.

Burgo is very typical of the villages we have encountered whilst on the Meseta part of the Camino. Far more ramshackle than the villages we passed through in the earlier part of our Camino - almost certainly reflecting life style and living standards in this part of Spain - the Meseta villages see beautifully renovated properties standing side by side with others which are barely standing. Adobe (mud bricks, enhanced with straw and/ or dung) was the principle building material historically and you walk past properties that look like they were made out of, err, mud bricks enhanced with straw and/ or dung. These villages typically have a main street and/ or main square and a church, at its centre, usually of such grandiose design and splendour that it looks like it has been airlifted in from the Vatican. Anyway, most of these villages have a certain charm and Spanish-ness even if quaint they are not.

We checked in to our private hostal. Our double room is small and delightful and immaculately clean. Lovely. Accommodation is consistently problematic to come by, a combination of peregrino numbers and fewer, post-Covid, bed options. So, we spent an hour sat in the sunshine with a beer looking at options and now have the next two nights booked. However, tomorrow’s anticipated ten-miler has now become a fifteen-miler as a consequence so we have decided an early start will be in order. 

Later we strolled around to the main street and parked up in a bar where we ended up eating. There we met Mark from the UK who is hoping to complete his Camino in a total of two weeks having run the first bit, now cycling and then running the last bit. Ex-military, he does iron-man events in his spare time (doesn’t everybody?). A really nice and interesting guy although I now feel a bit inadequate only attempting to walk the five hundred miles.

We still have one more day left of the Meseta, that part of the Camino that many choose to avoid. Mrs C was always a bit concerned about the Meseta because the long, straight road with monotonous scenery in the Spanish sun is said to mess with your mind and she thinks my mind’s messed up enough as it is. Be that as it may, the Meseta has simply been different to what went before and presumably to what lies ahead. It really has been integral to the whole experience to date and apart from inventing half human, half rabbit creatures and railing a bit at cyclists (not you Mark by the way, I wouldn’t call anyone that does iron-man events an arsehole) I think I’ve survived it pretty well. I haven’t seen the light yet but I’m told that the Lord works in mysterious ways. He let me down this last week with Sheffield Wednesday’s play-off ambitions so he’s got his work cut out but who knows what the rest of this adventure may yet have in store for us.

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