A Cast of Characters

Saturday: Sahagun to El Burgo Ranera, 17.9k
Sunday: El Burgos Ranera to Villarente, 24.1k

The Gates of Sahagun/ Proof that I am alive and well.

The walk from Sahagun to El Burgo was pleasantly overcast but warm, giving us shelter from the sun but permission to keep our fleeces in our packs. An easy day of walking means I have the extra energy to blog tonight.

One of the consequences of taking a rest day in Carrion and adopting a slower pace was that we have lost the group of English-speakers we had fallen in with. There was lovely Simone from Canada, who we had first met back in Villamayor and later dubbed the “Camino Fairy” for her uplifting, interesting conversation and warm hugs. We lost Rob, a Welshmen only a few years older than us who had a masters in US Government and similar tastes in music to my own; He once let me borrow his iPhone to listen to the new Mumford and Sons album (which he enjoyed but claimed was too redundant). Rob often sat at bars with Natasha, a woman from South Africa who brought way too much with her and was prone to occasionally hoping on buses to help bear the weight. Natasha introduced us to Silvia from Slovakia, who was quick to make sure she and Natasha always had plenty of vino tinto in easy reach. We also lost our French couple, Fanny and Marc, who were walking in order to renew their sense of humor while maintaining their own blog of the people they encountered. Snoody Florida mom and daughter have not been spotted for a while, but I imagine we haven’t seen the last of them yet. Unfortunately, they also travel slowly.

The advantage of losing the friends whose company we did enjoy is that we there is no short supply of other English-speaking pilgrims to meet. Occasionally we will end up in albergue ringing predominately with French and Spanish, but there are always at least one or two people to talk to in English if you try. (Although we have found most Spaniards themselves do not know English). Last night in Sahagun, we stayed a nicer private albergue, since the German students mentioned in my last post filled the municipal albergue. At the private albergue, I found myself relaxing at a table outside two Bulgarians, a German man, and a Spanish woman.  Yuly and Drago were walking for only 14 days from Burgos at a ridiculous pace in order to reach Santiago in time. Marcus from Germany was walking alone but clearly falling in lust/love with the Spanish woman whose name I didn’t catch. We talked about where we came from, why we were walking, dreams, the horrible food, and American politics. Where else but the Camino can you find such a hodgepodge group?

Yuly had the most interesting story-  he was doing the Camino after nearly finishing veterinary school in London, but he instead skipped town before his final examinations after heartbreak from a girl. He was walking the Camino to determine if he truly wanted to be a vet or not. (I advised he at least needed take his final exams after 7 years of school!)

In La Burgo Ranera, we are once again in the same village as the German students. I attempted to capture a photo as they stood in an assembly line to unload their van into the local school they were staying in, though it might not be very clear:


They have once again endeared themselves to us by feeding us dinner for free. This time they even included wine (kept in a secret stash away from the children)! The German students must have finally seen us around enough that we are no longer scary. By the end of dinner a swarm of girls were finally brave enough to practice their English and talk to us instead of just whisper and stare. They were adorable and very excited to learn if school in America was “like high school music”. We tried to let them down gently!

I have grown very comfortable on the Camino. The routine is now too familiar. Tomorrow I plan to set out earlier than my companions to see what it feels like to walk alone – my original intention when I decided to go on this trip. Wish me luck!

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