311 Miles to Santiago
Last night continued stiffly and awkward but pleasant enough – mostly due to the company of Troy and another young American girl starting her camino today. Still, I was happy to leave that strange, strange place. Troy and I wandered around the city and checked out the cathedral before checking into another albuergue – this time in the city center. It didn´t take long before our friends arrived. Turns out they went to the weird place and when they found out we had left they immediately turned around and came here. I know this isn´t in the spirit of the camino, but it did give me a bit of satisfaction to know these people were loosing business thanks to their own bad business practices (not to mention general unkindness).
Anyways, I´m really looking forward to tonight. Time for siesta now. Hopefully I´ll be healed soon!
197 Miles to Santiago
Took the bus from Burgos to Leon today and am feeling really good about it. In a lot of ways it would have been easier to walk because I wouldn´t have to think much about it. Today forced me to stretch my language skills and I was pretty comfortable with it all. So I am satisfied.
Leon is a gorgeous city! Just from the little I´ve seen it has pretty much trumped Pamplona as my favorite city on the camino. I wish I had more time to explore it but after 4 days of rest I´m itching to get walking again. So at this point I´m pretty sure I´ll start walking again first thing in the morning.
Last night in Burgos was bittersweet. It´s a beautiful, lively city and we had a great dinner out (my first in a while as its way cheaper to eat out of the markets). But it was the last night with some of the best friends I´ve made so far. We had breakfast together this morning (churros y chocolate! yum!) and said goodbye as the sun rose. This is the second group I´ve had to say goodbye to. But it is the camino after all and I´ve already met people here in Leon. By the time I meet my mom on the 21st I´m sure I´ll have a 3rd (and maybe even a 4th!) family going. With the tendinitis I´ve been walking 5 days and then needing to rest 4 days. But I´m hoping to walk the next 9 days straight. If I do that, going 20 km or so a day, I can meet my mom in Sarria without taking a bus. That would be ideal, but I´ve learned now to be flexible, so we´ll see what happens.
183 miles to Santiago
I miscalculated my route. Whatever I do I will have to take a bus to Sarria (though if all goes as planned I will only be one day behind – which puts me almost exactly where I thought I would be schedule-wise when I left St. Jean). Anyways, today was okay. I overdid it a bit coming out of Leon because I wanted to keep up with a group I became a part of as we all found ourselves having trouble navigating out of the city. It was worth it to stay with them because I don´t know that I would have been able to find my way on my own (at least not as quickly). But almost as soon as I fell back my ankles let me know they did not care for my previous speed. Even so I reached Mazarife before 1:30 (I usually get into town around 3). I think the perfect weather and flat terrain helped a lot. Although I´m a bit sore and swollen, I think I´ll be alright for another day of walking tomorrow. That makes me happy.
I think from here to Sarria where I meet mom I´ll be walking alone. Although I prefer to walk alone during the day, I´ve been traveling with a group that I´ve spent time with in the evenings (one from St Jean to Estella, another from Estella to Burgos). In order to avoid needing another 4-day break and to be fit to walk to Santiago when I meet mom, I´ve decided I really need to commit to days no longer than 20 or so kms – no matter how cool an upcoming albuergue is or where my friends are going. Most people will be going further, which means I´ll likely be with different people every night. That will make it hard to establish another pilgrim family. It will be different, but I think it will be good to be on my own for the next week – and actually I will meet more people this way. But I´d be lying if I told you that I don´t already miss the people I left behind in Burgos and even Estella. But as a friend put it to me just a few days ago – a big part of the camino is meeting people, but another part is letting them go.
170 miles to Santiago
As I write this I am sitting in the sun between the trees of an orchard that doubles as the backyard of tonight´s albuergue. Living here in the yard is a porcupine and a cat. The cat wanders from pilgrim to pilgrim meowing loudly until someone gives him the attention required. Then he moves on to the next. He´s come by my chair 3 times since I´ve sat down. He does not like the porcupine because when I discovered him everyone´s attention was diverted away from the cat to the porcupine. The porcupine, however, does not like this attention. It seems we have disturbed his nap. So, much to our delight, he has gotten up and walked away – all while the cat continues to meow loudly in the background. And that is the drama of the day.
It was a good day. I walked about 19 kms without too much pain. I´m happy with that.
Last night I fixed myself a large dinner that kept well enough to eat for lunch today. Usually, my lunch consists of bread and cheese or chorizo. So this was quite a grand treat. I am still full now, while usually I arrive at the albuergue starving. I need to start eating big lunches more often.
I can´t stop staring at the porcupine. He´s just nosing around but for some reason because he´s a porcupine it´s so interesting. The cat is getting very upset with me.
I just realized I´m not the only one studying the porcupine. There are at least 3 other ladies sitting in the yard doing nothing but staring. We must look pretty crazy.
I think maybe I´ll take my siesta today in the sun. Perhaps after that I will be able to write about something other than porcupines.
Wonderful night in Santibañez! Made lots of new friends over dinner at the albuergue this evening. It seems like it´s the dullest towns that always have these awesome, funky, crumbling albuergues. Maybe I won´t be traveling on my own this week after all.