Day 19 - Ledigo to Sahagun

Trip Start Sep 03, 2012
1
20
36
Trip End Oct 07, 2012


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Where I stayed
Albergue Cluny

Flag of Spain  , Castille and León,
Thursday, September 20, 2012

Distance walked today: 15 kms
Distance walked in total: 426 kms
Distance to Santiago: 382 kms
Pains: the left lower leg continues to be a problem. I'm hoping today's reduced walk and some creams will help it. But the pain has installed itself for good. I'm being positive and telling myself its the "birth of a new muscle". I have got up in the morning the last four days and just "moved on". The worse part is the end of the day when you question if you will make it with a limp, or more precisely if you will enjoy it with a limp. Again. Being positive "tapas and a limp are a possibility" - the eight legs of the "Pulpo a la Gallega" (Galician octopuss) are waving at me from Melide...
Blisters: none

Reflections: "Prepare well for the bed bugs - sooner or later they will appear". I still haven't suffered them but the number of people affected is increasing, and as they keep changing albergues it spreads. Currently all stories are pointing at Hontanas village as the origin for most walkers - I slept in Casa Mice which was a few kilometres before.

Without any need to get up too early I slept very relaxed, with exception of "Sven" the German having nightmares and waking up shouting every so often. He would sit up shout and then go back to sleep. I have absolutely no idea what he was saying, and I had no intention of asking for a translation.

The six of us in the room area overslept until 7am, and only the laughter of the French "Thank You All" speech maker that got us moving - and she was outside!

A tall Dutch chap who speaks perfect Spanish asked if it was OK to put the lights on. We all agreed, except Sven who didn't reply. It went on and suddenly Sven got up and started cursing (at least it sounded like that) in German. The Dutch guy told him to go to a hotel if he wanted a late sleep in. Sven apologised when he realised the time it was. Multi-kulti lost in translation.

At that time at least breakfast was being served, although not much was on offer at the albergue. I had to laugh as the owner was on his own serving coffees and toasting bread.

An old French couple came up and asked for "cafe con leche". He served them and they looked at it in disgust and said in French "plus cafe!" (more coffee). The owner said "mas?" and took the coffees. While he was filling them with more coffee, he said loudly "la madre que los pario!" (Literally "I curse the mother that gave them birth"). All the Spaniards, including the couple of Civil Guards laughed.

My walk started slowly, and as I warmed up the pain area I accelerated. I knew there would be a pharmacy in Sahagun and was already looking forward to some healing muscle cream. I would even splash out on a massage if it got worse. There are massage places along the Camino, although I have yet to see one. Their publicity is all over the place but their shops must be hidden.

It was only 15 kilometres today - a stroll in the park in comparison to other challenges.

As we passed Moratinos quite a few of the pilgrims stopped to take photographs of the wine cellars (bodegas). However they were questioning how it was possible in this day and age (and in Europe) for spaniards to live in caves under hills.

A few kilometres later we left the region of Palencia and entered Leon - the final province before Galicia. The walk is finally starting to look as long as it feels on the legs.

I arrived at Sahagun in just under 4 hours walk, and went straight to the municipal albergue (Cluny) at the entrance of the village. I was tempted to check a hotel called "Puerta de Sahagun" as they had a pilgrim offer of 25 euros per room. However it did say "subject to availability" and the day before I had checked in internet and it was 50 euros - still cheap, but I would miss Cluny which was supposed to be an interesting stop. The hotel was also in the outskirts so it didn't have the atmosphere of the village.

Judging by the rucksacks lines up, I must have been the forth one to arrive - good enough. I chatted with a Spanish couple who were doing the Camino in different portions each year and backwards towards St Jean (each to their own!).

At 11.30 they opened the albergue and we all rushed in. 4 euros! Its the cheapest yet - and of course sponsored by the local council, so financed by tax payers. I'm sure they could charge 8 euros for it and try to at least not loose money.

The albergue is an old convent. The roof must have collapsed some time ago and they have replaced it with a high wooden one. The interesting part is that all the old arches are visible and the roof space is quite impressive.

There are 4 bed per cubicle, good showers and a kitchen. Plastic mattresses and they give you a pillow cover when you arrive. I hate the plastic mattress as it makes you sweat all night, but I guess it keeps the bed bugs away. However it does give it a whore house feeling...and before you judge, I know as my wife any myself had to sleep (or tried to sleep) in one in San Juan in Costa Rica when we couldn't find any other hotel. The fact they had asked us how many hours we wanted to stay, and that the only tv channels were porn should have been a give away.

It was an incredibly relaxed day, sitting at the terrace of Cafe Miguel, reading the papers and looking at the world go by.

Apart from bars and cafes there is not much more there. A couple of old buildings is all that can be visited. The town has an enormous history in its books, but apparently its only left an arch, one half demolished convent and a Plaza packed with bars. I doubt the bars are arabic, hence I conclude the rest has now disappeared for ever.

They do however have three pharmacies (at least), all down the same street. I bought some muscle rub and immediately started noticing the effects.

I also weighed and measured myself in one of those machines...same height, but I have lost two kilograms. Basically one per week. I wonder if it will keep dropping off all the way to Santiago. I will try again when get to the end.

As I had enjoyed a cooked lunch at Cafe Zentral (the only one with WiFi I found), I decided to do some supermarket shopping and eat at the albergue.

The crab and tomato salad was a great idea, but probably I should have restrained myself with the "Fabada Asturiana" (Asturian large beans with morcilla and chorizo) as it gave me some powerful properties. I was glad the dormitory had a 20 metre room - otherwise we might of all passed away in our sleep. Even better I had no one on the top bunk bed so could get away with accusing other people.

I was in bed again at 9pm as I'm aiming to get up at 5am to kill as many kilometres before sunrise out of the 36 which I aim to do tomorrow.
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