Two New Hampshire girls hike the 500-mile Camino de Santiago to raise money for women around the world.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Day Twenty-Three: Ledigos to Sahagun. April 4, 2013

Distance: 16.3 kilometers with no real elevation gain (10.12 miles).

My grumbles were cured by good conversation followed by ten and a half hours of deep sleep.

Lena, a Korean couple we've seen off-and-on for several days, and a German fellow named Andy shared the albergue with us last night. We had our own room and the others took bunks in the public dormitory (six Euros each). We hung out in the common area together and talked for a bit before retiring for the evening. Lena taught the girls card tricks while the adults put up their feet and relaxed.

Our room was dark, quiet, and cozy. We slept comfortably and deeply.

A good sleep makes all the difference in the world.

We left at 7:30, which is before sunrise here in Spain, and walked out of Ledigos.  The day gradually became brighter as we trotted the short distance to Terradillos de los Templarios.

We stopped and had coffee/hot chocolate in what seems like a lovely private albergue - Jacques de Molay. The interior of the dining area is decorated in ancient Camino-related items and the owner gave us free Camino pins. Pilgrims coming out of the sleeping area said they had a wonderful night's if you don't stop in Ledigos, then you might want to try this place a few kilometers down the road.

Terradillos de los Templarios is the halfway point between SJPP and Santiago. The girls and I picked a spot and posed (I'm not pregnant...that's my waist pack sticking out from underneath my jacket).

We continued into and through the fog toward Moratinos...

...we marveled at the number of large snails on the path...they were everywhere!

Moratinos is a tiny town with a few albergues. We had heard of one albergue run by an ex-pat named Rebekka (The Peaceable Kingdom) - but since we were coming through at 9:30 in the morning, it didn't make sense for us to stop and stay there. We have heard good things about this place though, so if you tired and in Moratinos, then stop by The Peaceable Kingdom and check it out.

Onward, through San Nicolas de Real Camino and into the small city of Sahagun...

...and here's where we're staying this evening...right across the street from the municipal...the Hostal La Bastide du Chemin. It's a beautiful place with amazing interior woodwork.

For the three of us, getting a double room (the girls are small enough to comfortably share a bed) is only slightly more expensive than paying for three bunks at many albergues. Hostels and hotels charge per room while albergues charge per bed. Therefore, we can fit hostals and private rooms into our budget fairly easily as long as the cost for a double is on the low end of the usual price range.

Tomorrow we meet Hugh in Hermanillos de la Calzada; he'll be with us for the rest of our Camino. The reunion will be a little bittersweet. I am used to traveling and hiking with the girls on my own - the three of us have spent the last four years traveling around New Hampshire and across the United States climbing mountains. I am used to the three of us being a mother-daughters team. That being said, the girls and I loved having Hugh with us during the earlier sections of our Camino and we very much look forward to having him join us for the last half of our journey. 

This brings me to reflections on the Camino itself. We are only halfway done, but this is what I have learned so far.

On the Camino, there is no "clean" when it comes to your clothes. Instead, there is "clean enough."

Hike at a pace that feels right for you. Don't try to keep up or slow down for groups of new friends. You will likely see them again at some point anyway..the fast ones tend to take breaks here and there and the slower ones have a way of eventually catching up with you. You must listen to your own body and hike your own hike, otherwise you risk injury.

Don't have set plans. Go with the flow, be flexible, don't be rigid in your thinking.

HikeGoo, and now Vaseline (since we ran out of HikeGoo), works (though HikeGoo works better). Rub it on your feet before putting on your socks in the morning. It eliminates/greatly reduces friction and keeps the blisters at bay.

Those who repeatedly party, talk loudly and/or rustle all their bags between the hours of 11pm and 5am while others are trying to sleep are talked about all up and down the Camino. And not in a nice way. We all end up knowing exactly who you are. Be considerate, people. Know that more than one tired peregrino has seriously considered lobbing his/her Cruz de Ferro stone at your head.

Snoring can't be helped, and it shouldn't be complained about. Bring earplugs. You'll soon get used to the snorers. They do not deserve bad karma vibes (unlike the inconsiderate loud people who party and rustle bags during quiet hours).

Sleep is important. Splurge on a private room in a very quiet hotel from time to time. You'll be surprised how a good night's sleep can make your body and mind feel a million times better.

Enjoy the food. It's delicious. And cheap. And you're burning a lot of calories every single day, so go ahead and have that ice cream.

The Camino is as difficult or as easy as you want it to be. You can choose to hike 35 miles a day or 8 miles a day. You can stay at public/private albergues (cheap), nice but inexpensive hostels (not cheap but not expensive), or private posh hotels (expensive). You can eat out all the time or you can buy food at the supermarkets and cook your own meals. You can choose to go in the summer, when it's brutally hot (no shade, ever) or in the early spring/late fall when the temps are in the 40s and 50s (F) and perfect for walking. You can choose to be social or you can choose to keep to yourself. You can stop and admire the plethora of ruins, museums, ancient artifacts, Roman roads, gorgeous cathedrals, grand Iglesias, rolling hills and vineyards, or you can keep your head down and crank out the kilometers.

In other words, the Camino is exactly what you choose to make of it.

The Camino feels incredibly safe. Be smart and keep your valuables with you at all times, but at no point will you ever feel in danger.

The people along the Camino are kind, polite, and they love children. We very much enjoy speaking with the locals.

People walk The Way for many reasons. Some walk to party, some walk for religious reasons, others walk because they love to travel, some walk to be alone, others walk to meet people from other lands.

We have met people from the USA (not that many!), Spain, Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Holland, England, Ireland, Scotland, North Korea, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Portugal, Norway, Japan, and Lithuania.

Alex and Sage agree with all of the above.

Alex adds: Be aware of dogs. Most of them are friendly, but some approach you while you are hiking and some growl and some bark. Most of the time, the owners come out right away and leash their dogs or bring them inside. The dog owners are very good here. ....Trish adds to this - we have seen over a hundred and fifty dogs at this point and we are impressed at how the Spanish take their dog-owner responsibilities seriously. The dogs here all seem very well-behaved and very happy - we have seen zero instances of dogs jumping up on strangers, dogs running ahead of their owners, etc. During the very few instances dogs have approached us off-leash, their owners have immediately called their dogs back to them and then apologized profusely to us (even if we were making aw-you-are-so-cute noises at the canine). This is so refreshing. There is a definite cultural difference at work here when it comes to the care and training of dogs. Perhaps half the dogs/dog owners we meet on the New Hampshire trails behave in this fashion.

Tomorrow we head to Hermanillos de Los Calzadilla, where Hugh will join us for the rest of our journey to Santiago.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your wonderful posts, all of them. I was on the Camino last Fall and even though I only walked 200+ miles, it was an extraordinary experience. I did get my compostela and have plans to return in May 2014 (I'll celebrate my 72nd birthday while there) to do the entire route. I'm taking notes on alberques from your posts. thank you again. You and your daughters are amazing! Patty

MadRiver said...

Did you make escargot with the snails? A little garlic butter and they would have been delicious.

Anonymous said...

Are you all planning on hitting finesterre? If you can no matter how you get there i recommend it and Muxia....
N in NC

Unknown said...

Thx for posting. Love the commentary and pictures. I am a bit surprised that so few Americans go on el camino but I imagine that the distance from the US maybe puts people off. Of course, Aussies and Kiwis don't have it any closer. I hope that we can increase that number when we get to go as a family next year.
I do have two questions for you. First, have you had to wash clothes mostly by hand or have you had access to washers? Also, how much have you budgeted for your expenses? I have read that about 40 euros is a good amount per person-day but since you have been staying at hostales and private albergues I wonder if I should budget a bit more? Buen camino.

Paige said...

wonderful post.