Saturday, October 31 – Day 51
That bed was the most amazing bed. So very comfortable. By far the most comfortable in Spain so far. I really hope the bed at the Parador is at least as nice as that one. I did not want to get up.
I went down for breakfast at 8. It was me, Peter, and the two German women. Estelle and Sandra came in, too. Sandra said she’s pretty sure I talked her into staying at the Parador, and she thanked me. She didn’t need much convincing, because she already had thought about it, but it helped her feel better to know that other people did it too, and not even on their birthdays. I told her my birthday would happen around Santiago, so I might stay at the Parador in Santiago for my birthday! She gave me a high five lol. Anyway, that one I’m not so sure about, which is why I definitely wanted to do Leon. I think the Parador in Santiago is twice as much as the one in Leon. We’ll see!
Breakfast was very French. I probably should have eaten more, because I was hungry again two hours later. Or maybe I’m just hungry all the time.
I got packed up and on my way, and got halfway down the street before I realized I didn’t have my poles, so I had to go back. It was right before 9, but that was ok, because I was only planning on 25k today.
It was gorgeous. I’m so glad I chose this route. Yes, it was long and flat, but at least it wasn’t right next to the freeway. There were beautiful clouds, but the sun also peeked out now and then.
I saw more people hunting with their dogs. They’re definitely greyhounds. Beautiful dogs. I did not get to see them in action this time, but I waved to the hunters and they wished me a buen camino.
Sandra and Estelle had stopped at a little shelter, so I caught up with them. After a brief visit, I kept going. It was a wonderful day to walk alone.
I’ve started thinking more about the things I want to do when I get home. A little bit of life decisions, but more so things like what kind of pie I want to eat for Thanksgiving. The important stuff.
I was a little more sore than usual, but I don’t think I have any lasting effects from the fall I took yesterday, which is very good. My feet were also doing pretty good. I really think sleeping in a good bed last night was very helpful.
I was looking ahead in my MMDD to try to figure out where to stay tonight. I really want to have my clothes machine washed, and it seems like the best place to do that is in an albergue. The places that are specifically for private rooms don’t usually offer washing facilities. The place last night wanted to charge 11 E for washing and drying. It’s definitely getting more expensive. I almost did my laundry back in Hontanas, but they wanted 7 E, and I balked at that. In France it’s 3-5 E for both the washer and dryer. I decided, though, that whatever the price was tonight I would pay it. I would feel better going into Leon with clean clothes, and I’m sure the service at the Parador is much more expensive.
I passed some haystacks and saw Peter sitting down taking a break. He got up when he saw me, so I waited to walk with him. I did get a good 12-13k by myself, though. Today is Peter’s second to last day. He already has a hotel booked for tonight in Leon, so he’s walking to Mansilla de las Mulas, then taking the bus to Leon, then in the morning taking the bus back to Mansilla, then walking into Leon to finish his Camino. Whatever works!
We finished our 17.5k walk into Reliegos and figured that after a walk like that there had to be someone monopolizing on feeding hungry pilgrims. We found a dodgy looking bar at a quarter to 1. They had bocadillos (sandwiches), but if we waited, his cook was supposed to be there about 1. We both wanted hot food, so we decided to wait. 30 minutes later we had our food.
The bar was actually pretty cool. It only looked bad because they let pilgrims write all over the walls; inside and out. When we first came in they were playing an Adele album, but then he switched to Johnny Cash, and there was a John Wayne movie playing on the tv.
The cut of the steak wasn’t that good, and I really hope I don’t wake up with food poisoning, because the meat tasted slightly off, but it was still fairly good, and it was only 6 E for the plate. I also got a bonus because Peter doesn’t like tomatoes, so I got two whole tomatoes that were vine ripened deliciousness.
I went to the bathroom, and when I came back, Peter had paid for my meal! That was super nice. He said it was because I ate his tomatoes for him, which totally makes sense.
As we were leaving, walking through town, a young black dog ran toward me, so excited to see me, so I gave her a proper greeting. She just couldn’t get enough, so I pulled out my phone and asked Peter to take a picture. It was the sweetest thing. I miss puppy loves. Only 24 days to go!
From there it was another 6k to go, and it was pretty much a straight shot next to a road.
We got into Mansilla just before 3, but then I decided I would walk another 6k to the next town. That way I will have a short walk into Leon and can start my rest day sooner!
I set off feeling good and walking quickly. I really don’t know why. It has to be the Parador calling. It was a very long 6k along the N-120. Because I had been feeling so good, I had thought maybe tonight I would stay in an albergue, but then changed my mind at the last minute and got a private room again. It’s a rather expensive albergue, and the private room was only 20E more. I like being comfortable, or at least, as comfortable as the circumstances allow. I think I am getting a perfectly good pilgrim experience.
The washing and drying is 9 E, and I’m washing everything, so I’m in my pajamas.
My clothes came back smelling like some kind of laundry soap, which is better than what they had been smelling like.
It was just me and one other pilgrim at dinner, and we had no choice in what we ate. It was a vegetable soup, which was probably the best I’ve had so far in Spain (which really isn’t saying much), and a chicken leg with fries, and yogurt for dessert.
The other pilgrim was Aldo, whom I had met briefly the night before. He stayed at the donativo albergue. We had wonderful conversation, and we actually talked for a really long time after dinner. It was partly because we just kept talking, and partly because the lady never came to take our money and officially end dinner.
Aldo is a professional chef and works on small cruise boats out of Seattle. And/or other kinds of boats. He has a big chunk of time off work so he’s doing a lot of traveling. It was really fun and interesting to talk to him.