We tarry a bit as it looks so cold, windy and dreary outside. At 9 am, after a coffee and some cakes, we brace ourselves and walk out into the driving rain. It is not as cold as yesterday but still cold at about 8 degrees. After an hour, we reach the next town, Moratinos, but all the cafes are closed. We walk another hour to reach San Nicolas del Real Camino where we have a real breakfast-- eggs and chorizo, pork chops and salad, and cafe. We start walking again after an hour together with 4 other pilgrims -- Georg, Kathryn, Wiebke from Germany and Mary from Ireland. They keep a nice steady pace as the wind whips their rain ponchos. The rain intensifies and we try to get some meager shelter under some church eaves. Finally, the rain stops but the wind continues to blow against our faces.
We arrive in Sahagun at 12:30 noon. It is the halfway point of the Camino. From here, the Way forks into 2 routes at Calzada del Coto, about 4 kms out of Sahagun. The left route goes through Bercianos del Camino and El Burgo Ranero and is a gravel path that passes mostly beside a road. They say that the right route passes through a more pleasant, greener route, via Calzadilla de los Hermanillos, but I am not sure that there are albergues open there. We decide to go on the left route.
We first pass Berciano del Real Camino and stop to eat a ham and cheese bocadillo and a cola. Later, we encounter Matthew, an Australian based in London, on the road and chat about all sorts of things, including the European economy, politics and so on. We eventually reach El Burgo Ranero at around 5:30, after 8 and a half hours of walking and 2 food stops.
Here we stay at the municipal albergue, Domenico Laffi, a donativo. It is quite pleasant sitting in front of their wood stove fire. Dinner is across the street, and here we meet the 5 American walking friends yet again. They plan to take the bus to Leon tomorrow-- our planned walking stage for tomorrow.
Efren, the ebullient hospitalero from Bilbao, talks with us a bit at the albergue living area as we warm up before the wood stove before sleeping. He is very nice and tells us that the Camino del Norte is a very beautiful way but that it is better to pass there during the months of June, July, August, September.
|Jacques de Molay is a famous knight templar -- from the Wikipedia, "[Jacques de Molay] was the 23rd and last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, leading the Order from 20 April 1292 until it was dissolved by order of Pope Clement V in 1307"|
|Fork on the road -- via Bercianos del Real Camino or Calzadilla de los Hermanillos|
|The Way beside a country road|
|Cruzeiro at the entrance to El Burgo Ranero|