Post Cards From The Camino Trail 2017 – Week Two

When I left you last, Richard and I were in Burgos (lingering in a restaurant that offered free WiFi). Burgos is home to the only cathedral in Spain that has independently been declared a World Heritage Site. So, we decided to have a peek inside. Two hours later, we were completely overwhelmed and had barely scratched the surface of all that there was to see. From its incredible architecture, to its exquisite paintings and sculptures, to its intricate and lavish decorations, including heavy use of real gold (that seemed to go on for endless rooms) it was often simply hard to comprehend. An unsettling question was, “where did all this money and gold come from?” If any readers have visited this cathedral previously, I would love to hear your points of view.

Day Five – Burgos to San Bol – 26.7 km:

Never trust your guidebook completely. Seriously! Just about twenty-six kilometers into this walk, I was over it! Honestly. Done. Richard had it in his mind to continue an extra five kilometers to Hontanas when I saw a sign for a small hostel in San Bol five hundred meters away, but off of our path. Richard was skeptical. His guidebook called the hostel “medieval” and stated that “almost everyone” prefers to travel on to the next town. Never one to conform to the “almost everyone” mold, I started walking off the trail to the nearby albergue. “They may not have food”, Richard called after me. I was not deterred. When we arrived, it was an incredible oasis! It had a large garden with a natural spring pool where you could sit and soak your (very tired) feet in the cool water. You could also do your laundry in the outdoor spring (very National Geographic)! We were one of nine guests that evening. We were served a community dinner of homemade chicken paella, salad, crusty bread, wine and vanilla pudding….all for only twelve euros each (including our beds). If traveling this section of the Camino, I highly recommend staying here!

Day Six – San Bol to Itera de Varga – 22 km:

The annoying thing about my iPhone camera is that it does not adequately capture the steep climbs that we have faced so far. So when I start whining about today’s climb, for example, you’ll probably glance at the photo and think that the path was no big deal. Wrong! We ascended over 100 meters in less than one kilometer. Okay, it may not be Everest, but in the extreme heat, with our packs, it seemed huge!

Day Seven – Itera de Varga to Villalcazar de Sirga – 28 km

Where have all the pilgrims gone? In the last week, we have always seen at least a few pilgrims during the course of our walk, and we have always seen several pilgrims when we have stopped for breakfast and lunch. On today’s walk, we saw no other pilgrims walking on route or during our rest stops. Richard’s theory is that most other walkers leave before our usual 7:15 a.m. start time and are following more traditional beginning and ending points than we are. My theory is that they all took the bus today, and got off just before their destinations. That’s my theory and I am sticking to it! (And after a hot 28 km walk, a bus ride does sound lovely!)

Day Eight – Villalcazar de Sirga to Calzadilla de la Cueza – 22 km

We seriously need to ditch our guidebook. Its forecast for today’s walk was “flat, monotonous and hypnotic”. But we quite enjoyed it. (Who doesn’t love ‘flat?’) We also had the chance to walk on this very cool road that the Romans had constructed and trod upon. We also came across two young (very fit) parents walking the Camino with full backpacks…and a ten-month old (very smiley) baby in a pram. They are planning to walk all the way to Santiago from Burgos…and have been staying in regular hostels like most of the rest of us. Seriously, I can’t even imagine attempting such a feat. But, the three of them seemed to be happy, relaxed and content!

Day Nine – Calzadilla de le Cueza to Sahagun – 22 k

Last evening there was a debate between my upper back and my legs. I have been pleasantly surprised (shocked actually) how well my body has responded to suddenly being immersed in this intense fitness boot camp (…at least so far). But it was Day Nine and although my pack is relatively light, my back was voting for a ‘rest day.’ My legs, however, were feeling stronger than ever and were eager to continue. Being the consummate libra, I compromised…and had my backpack transported to this evening’s hostel in Sahagun. It’s easily done. Put five euros in an envelope, label the envelope with the address that you wish to pick up your bag later that day, trust in the Camino, and your pack magically shows up at your desired destination by noon! The funny thing was, that even though we walked slightly fewer kilometers than usual, my back was still equally tired at the end of our walk! I now blame my water-bag. Water is crazy-heavy!! This got me thinking that perhaps I should quit being such an overly prepared nerd and carry only the amount of water that I need for each portion of our trek. That would make sense, wouldn’t it?

Day Ten – Sahagun to Reiligos – 26.5 km:

Ask and the Camino answers! Today we had the choice of taking the regular trail, mostly alongside main roads, or walking an extra kilometer or two and taking the ‘scenic route’. The catch was that for seventeen kilometers straight, there would be no options to get food, water or any real shelter of which to speak. We had done something similar a couple of days earlier and we had ample (i.e. too much water and extra food) so we believed we would be fine. At the last town before our long ‘wilderness’ trek, we had full breakfasts and ordered two vegetable sandwiches to go. (Who knew that tuna and eggs were vegetables)? Richard filled up his litre bottle with water and added an additional bottle as an extra. With my new ‘sensible’ water plan, I only partly filled up my water system (3/4 litres). That would make my pack lighter and we would still have plenty of water. Half way into our trek, we stopped underneath a rare (and skinny) tree to eat our lunch. That is when Richard’s full litre bottle of water spilled and drained completely (up until then he had been drinking out of the back up bottle…that was now almost empty). Why is it that whenever I consciously decide to quite being such a Girl Scout, something calls me back to my roots?

Day Eleven – Reiligos to Leon – 24 km:

We have now arrived in the major city of Leon and are considering a potential rest day here tomorrow as there is so much to see and do. I will keep you posted as to whether we stay or continue on. Something else from this week that I want to mention before I close, was an encounter that we had earlier. Richard and I were alone on the middle of a trail, when we suddenly saw an older (our age?) local Spanish wonan who literally rushed up to us. “Did you know that the top fastener on your backpacks can be used as whistles?” Strange opening question, but actually we did not know that. “Make sure you protect yourselves — keep covered, have lots of water and pieces of fruit”, she continued. Finally she advised “Most importantly, you will need much patience to be successful in your journey.” How did she know that I am sometimes lacking in that particular area? Camino Angels are everywhere!

My sincere apologies for my extreme lack of proofreading on my Camino posts, and for my long delays in commenting on my favorite blogs. Reliable internet has been a definite challenge…combined with the additional challenge of sheer exhaustion at the end of each day. I will attempt to do a big catch up when I return home!

Shout out to Dr. Creighton Connolly on his 29th birthday 🎉 today!

34 Replies to “Post Cards From The Camino Trail 2017 – Week Two”

  1. You go, girl! You and Richard are inspiration personified… as well as being incredibly fit. If you weren’t so nice, I’d have to be insanely jealous and resentful of you for actually doing this pilgrimage that I’ve always wanted to do. But instead, I’m just really happy for you and happy to see the sights vicariously and avoid the sun and heat for real. I don’t do well in extreme heat – dizzy, lightheaded, seriously ill. I’m glad the Camino Angel reminded you of the importance of protecting yourselves from the conditions.
    Oh, and I do hope you take a rest day in Leon. Looking forward to next week’s postcards.

    1. Hi, Karen – You are so kind!
      I’m glad to hear about your interest in the Camino — that’s another similarity!
      It’s great to know that friends are following as we continue our journey!

    1. Thanks, Jill! It’s funny. Everytime I consciously try not to be so cautious, something reminds me why I am this way. I appreciate you following!

  2. Yours and Richards’s journey sounds amazing and looking forward to your next segment! My vote would be for a day of rest and relaxation!! I agree about water better to have more then not enough! Discard an article of clothing you have not woren!!😉

    1. Hi, Georgia – For clothing, I literally only have what I’m wearing and what I’m washing (no more than 2 of any one item). My pack without water is very light. I tried to vote for Richard to carry all of our water…but that was a no-go! Thanks for following. I greatly appreciate it!

    1. Thanks, Kate – I greatly appreciate you following. I’m a true disaster when trying to blog only from my phone. Please shield your eyes to all errors!

  3. Wow, two hours in a cathedral! That must have been quite the treasure to visit. That hostel in San Bol sounds amazing! I would assume you are “allowed” to venture off the trail, right? 🙂

    Water is probably the most important thing to carry around. One liter a day per person seems light to me. I try to drink at least 1.5 liters a day and I’m sitting behind my computer for most of it.

    Every day brings a new insight, a new experience, a new encounter (with yourself, or someone else). This is a very interesting and exciting journey you are on, Donna and I enjoy reading about it.

    I’d say, forget about the virtual world for a bit and enjoy the trail fully!!
    Liesbet recently posted…IWSG Writing Update August 2017 – Life DistractsMy Profile

    1. Hi, Anabel – From reading your travel posts, I have great faith in your hiking abilities and your endurance! We are thinking of taking a rest day tomorrow, only because there is si much in Leon that we still want to see. But surprisingly, my body has adapted to the program much better than I thought it would. So far, Both Richard and I have been eager to get going each morning. And the climbs are getting much easier!

    1. Thanks, Tom – Earlier in the week, I had been struggling with the thought of discontinuing my posts while on the trail. Your comments, as well as others that I have received this morning, have given me the confidence that I can walk and write — two things that I love! Thanks for following!
      BTW – Apparently, you can ‘do’at least some of this walk via Google Glasses… which cracks me up everytime that I think about it!

    1. Hi, Deb – Thank you so much for following and commenting. It is an incredible experience…often very hard to put into words. I look forward to catching up on your adventures as well!

  4. I’m assuming that somewhere in my backlog of posts to read is a post on week one.

    I have been on the trail on an exceptionally hot day and run out of water, so I would have been panicking at the spilled water! Obviously you made it out safely … if perhaps a little thirsty.

    Stay well and may the wind be at your back 🙂
    Joanne Sisco recently posted…A Chocolate FailureMy Profile

    1. Hi, Joanne – Yes, it should be there! I have a backlog of posts as well (many of which I hope to get to today…she says with confidence)!

  5. What an amazing trip. Love your write ups highly enjoyable. Keep on walking and let us follow along through your postcards.

    1. Hi, Annette – Thank you so much for your positive comments. The encouragement is VERY helpful. Attempting to create a post with my phone and weak/non-existent internet has often been more of a challenge than the day’s walk! But i knew that I would lose important details if I waited to post until I got home. I do hope to post some more reflective posts when I return home (true IB learner)!

    1. Hi, Leanne – it’s definitely challenging! It’s amazing what your body can adapt to when you take it one step at a time. The benefits have been incredible!

    1. Hi, Stephanie. – Thank you for your kind words. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we sinply put one foot in front of the other!

    1. Hi, Terri – We never start any day with a certain amount of kms in mind. But you are right. They quickly add up! Thanks so much for following.

  6. Hi amazing Donna! It’s a real treat to read your daily diary and hear about the ventures & beauty you & Richard are encountering along your way. Awesome stuff! Take care. And as usual, Happy Trails!
    We miss you.

    1. Thanks, Pat – it is very motivating to have readers following this series…which is as ‘live’ as I can make it! I have it in my mind to publish each Wednesday…internet willing! I’d love to read more of your recent travels as well!

  7. What my husband and I did on our recent trip I now hesitate to call hiking after reading about your daily treks 🙂 . I really love your “postcards” and I hope you continue to find internet along the way so we can share in your adventure!
    Janis recently posted…GratiTuesday: Coming HomeMy Profile

    1. Hi, Janis – Thank you so much for reading all of my posts (even the ones you missed when you were away). There really should be an award for that! You are an outstanding model of the blogger that I aspire to be!

  8. What a great post. I’ve had a giggle or two and been informed along the way. I want to explore that church too. I would some of that gold came from South Americas wouldn’t you? I love the concept of 5 euros in the envelope and not carrying your pack. Does that happen all the way along the trail? Louise

    1. Hi, Louise – Yes, my thought is also that some of that gold came from the South Americas. I only had my backpack transported once (at least so far). As we got closer to Santiago, you only needed to put 3 euros in an envelope for backpack transportation. Now there’s a bargain!

    1. Thanks, Jude – I greatly appreciate your kind comments. Most often it was more difficult blogging on the trail than walking the 20+ kms each day!

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