El Burgo Ranero to Mansilla de la Mulas – 19 Kms, 29,470 steps
After a very pleasant night in the truck stop hotel, I realized it was 39 F outside at 7:30 AM and broke out the cold weather gear. Lots of layers were involved and I was plenty warm when I headed out just before dawn. Of course, this is the time of the year when, within an hour or two, most of those layers will be shed as it warms up. However, the next few days are forecast to have cold mornings so it was good practice. How cold was it?
It was a cool sunny day and eveyone seemed to be looking foward to leaving The Meseta tomorrow. I met up with my two of the Australian pilgrim trio I seem to encounter a lot, and discovered that one of them had taken the train to Leon to rest her Achilles tendon.
I started thinking today, as I shed layers, what I would do with my clothing and gear once this Camino is over. Right now, I don’t think I’ll do the Camino again, so why should I keep the gear? That led to thinking about donating or trashing some of it right in Santiago, rather than hauling it back to Paris or Virginia, only to dump it there.
Inquiring Minds Want to Know: What’s Your Favorite Piece of Gear?
This little battery-powered fan, which uses the same USB charger as my iPhone, has been great at providing night time airflow in stuffy rooms and even a breeze for drying clothes. It was a last-minute $20 Amazon purchase and worth every penny.
I took my halfway point break at the town of Reliegos where, this being Sunday, nearly everything was closed. The one bar open at 11:00 AM was very popular with pilgrims! There were endless calls for cafe con leche.
Eventually Mansilla de las Mulas came into view on the horizon, then a few hours of walking later, it was in front of me. Once again, because it’s Sunday, the place was a ghost town. Luckily, my pension was open and receiving.
After showering and doing my laundry, I managed to find the only open bar in town and had lunch there. I have taken a liking lately to Radler, which you may know as “beer with lemon”. This despite the not-at-all-fond memories I have of horrible hangovers in my youth from drinking a product called Hop’n Gator, a kind of malt liquor/gatorade mix. Ugh! Radler is usually available on tap and Amstel bottles it, but this bar today had neither of those. Instead the bartender simply added some lemon soda to a half pint of draft San Miguel beer, in a Guinness glass. It tasted fine but I’m sure the good folks in Dublin would be appalled.
Tomorrow, it’s 18Kms into Leon and I’m looking forward to it. I have a list of errands to run in Leon on my day off, getting myself ready for the last few weeks of the Camino. Cheers!