Friday, 10 August 2012

Burgos to Leon

Sunday 10 June: Burgos to Hontanas - 20 miles (32km). Natasha is suffering this morning so we split up at a road bridge just short of Tarjados. There's writing is on the wall. I continue to Hornillos del Camino and when the skies open up I take shelter under a little overhang, put some music on and fall asleep. When I waken there's not a cloud in the sky, I've been dozing for two hours. Now entering the flat tableland of the Spanish Meseta I continue alone to the pretty village of Hontanas. Erin & Cameron, Dave & Julie, Mike, Johanna and Canadian Christine are all there when I arrive. Sitting outside drinking refreshments, Julie shows everyone a photo of me asleep by the wayside. Later I give all the girls an ancient Thai hand massage which goes down well, Christine asks if I could give her a private full body massage the next evening.
Albergue el Puntido (5), welcoming and friendly but with the usual banks of squeaky bunk beds.
Monday 11: Hontanas to Boadilla del Camino 17 miles (28km). After an English breakfast for brunch in Itero de la Vega, it's raining and I have no waterproofs, so I pick up the pace and overtake an astonished Mike on the run into Boadilla del Camino. Dave & Julie are there but Johanna is in the more basic municipal albergue. Our's is a good one offering a very tasty communal dinner. Sitting opposite me is amply-proportioned Tara with a catholic priest to her left and Julie to her right. Tara has been travelling for nine years mostly in Spain and Honolulu and is on her way back to Pamplona to walk the camino again, she's already walked it five times. Our conversation continues something like this:
Me: "So where are you from?" (I think she's Irish-American).
Tara: "I'm a citizen of the world."
Me: "Well, let me put it another way, which country issued your passport?"
Tara: "That's a very personal question - I'd sooner you asked about my sex life."
Priest: "Gulp."
Me (I know what I want to say, but I glance at the priest and tone it down to something ineffectual).
At lights out Tara and I are drinking wine on the sofa in the separate lounge where we spend the night. In the morning she's gone.
El en Camino (6), great albergue, mostly bunks with some beds, congenial hosts, good food, a swimming pool and sculptures in the little grassy courtyard, comfortable lounge.
Tuesday 12: Boadilla to Carrion de los Condes - 16 miles (26km). Leaving late I catch up with Erin & Cameron who I walk with for a while before I realise that I've left my laundry hanging up in the albergue, I go back. Laundry in my pack, I start again but meet Erin & Cameron who are walking towards me, we had all taken the wrong path. We can't seem to escape Boadilla, but soon we find the correct route along the pretty Canal de Castilla, over a ruined staircase of locks, and into Fromista. Walking alone again I catch up with Johanna and Julie who are walking together and accompany them into Carrion de los Condes. Julie (from the US, walking with, her father, Dave) is a 22 years old studying in Madrid and Johanna (Swedish student) is 23, so they probably have much in common. The girls head for a nunnery albergue and I for the more expensive private one. Later in the evening I meet Mike who shows me around the nunnery where they are all staying. It's not bad - beds, rather than bunks, and mass included.
Hostal Santiago (15) shared 4-bed bedroom with en-suite hot tub and free laundry service - luxury.
Wednesday 13: Boadilla to Sahagun - 25 miles (40km). I meet Dave at the little bakery, where we buy breakfast, before walking alone all morning to meet up with Johanna and Mike at a lunch stop bar in Caldadilla de la Cueza. We walk separately but again meet up at the spacious Los Templarios albergue (no wifi) in Terradillos de Templarios. Mike decides to stay, but Johanna and I walk on towards Sahagun. This could be a long day as Johanna is trying to escape the attentions of an Italian guy who is trailing behind her. She's a physics graduate from a family of dentists in Gothenburg, and is awaiting final confirmation of her acceptance into dentistry college. She's walked the camino before, two years ago, and is walking it again on the advice of her mother's lifestyle coach! We stop for beer and ice cream at Albergue Laganares in San Nicolas del Real Camino where Johanna devoures two ice creams in a fashion that implies that she definitely knows how to enjoy herself in the company of men. Continuing to Shagun we have a nice four-berth en-suite room all to ourselves.
Monasterio Santa Cruz (5), monastery and hotel with various en-suite rooms around a central grassy courtyard, small library and art gallery.
Thursday 14: Sahagun to Mansilla - 24 miles (38km). I always start late but walk fast so, as usual, Johanna is ahead of me. We have agreed to meet up but there are two routes and I take the more scenic route and miss her.
Amigos del Peregrino (5). Basic municipal albergue with little grassy courtyard and kitchen.
Friday 15: Mansilla to Leon - 11 miles (18km). Walking alone again I stop at for brunch at bar Casablanca, east of Leon, where classical music is blaring from the outdoor speakers. As I walk into the bar and a girl rushes up, flings herself around me and greets me with hugs and kisses, it's Johanna. We walk together into Leon and she tells me a little more about her life.
She works in fashion shop but can earn more money in two hours as a stripper than she can in all week in the shop. She's sold two of her Gucci handbags (I don't know how many she has) to pay for this trip as she is trying to save money for a lip job, a boob job and liposuction (she's 23!). She has been to London once but didn't see any sights as she was partying in the West End with a girlfriend and rich Arab men, hence the Gucci handbag gifts. We reach Leon and book into the municipal albergue together. Her lips and boobs are great but she could loose a little from her thighs.
Peregrino municipal (20), modern with dorms and private en-suite rooms.
Photos of the Camino de Santiago: Burgos to Leon. I've now walked  292 miles (470km).

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