I want to start off this post on a bit of a different note—I’ll emphasize the word note. Please click this link and don’t worry, it’s not porn, violence, or another blog on social media. This is the Pat Metheny Group’s To The End Of The World (I’ll just link it instead of embedding the video here; I don’t need any copyright issues). Just let it play in the background while you read this post.
Now you may wonder, but on my Camino de Santiago, I was not only walking toward Santiago de Compostela, I was on my way to Finisterre, another 93 kilometers away. I wrote on page 123 in my book, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, “… I listened to something very special. Before I left home, I chose the Pat Metheny Group’s brilliant instrumental To The End Of The World as the unofficial theme song for my journey. It was appropriate because Finisterre, my eventual destination, was on the Atlantic coast. In medieval times, Finisterre was considered to be at the end of the world. I can’t explain how good this music makes me feel. When Pat Metheny plays his guitar solo at the six and a half minute mark, it never ceases to send a shiver down my spine.” I hope you’re enjoying To The End Of The World right now. The song itself is a journey.
Now, I’ll continue with my journey on the Camino de Santiago in El Burgo Ranero, Castilla y León. Even if you don’t have my book, you can still enjoy this post, and learn more about walking the French Way or Camino Francés (map from Wikipedia Commons).
On my last post, On The Camino de Santiago In Spain, Sahagún To El Burgo Ranero, I had arrived late to El Burgo Ranero after a grueling day, walking mostly into a gusting wind. I woke up early with a sense of excitement. I wrote on page 122, “I was out the door by seven o’clock, my earliest start so far. It was a crisp morning, no more than 4°C, and the sun was yet to rise. The skies were clear, and it looked to be a fine day.” This is the pond and marsh on the edge of El Burgo Ranero.
I wrote on page 122 in my book, “The gravel senda was lined with pilgrims as far as I could see. So this was what I missed every morning when I left at eight or nine or even ten o’clock. I walked fast to keep warm, but my body preferred to go slower. My mind and body chose a happy medium – a warm but comfortable pace.” This photo was obviously taken on a stretch with less pilgrims.
This gothic cross, along with the recently plowed fields, glowed in the morning sun.
I also wrote on page 122, “The sun peeked over the horizon, and I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen my long, morning shadow.”
This was the first real hill of the morning, and as you can tell, it wasn’t very much. The stretch between El Burgo Ranero and Reliegos was 13 kilometers along senda, and you can make very good time, if you wish.
Reliegos is in the distance.
There were some interesting houses at the entrance to Reliegos. I believe the natural roofs were for conserving heat in the winter, and keeping cool in the summer.
Leaving Reliegos, back on the senda.
The town of Mansilla de las Mulas had this pilgrim monument that I had seen in photos but had forgotten where it was. I also wrote on page 125, “A group of pilgrims posed for photos, and I waited my turn. A French woman took my photo and then I took one of her and her two male companions. While I smiled in my photo, I didn’t fully realize the theme, which was tiredness. The threesome all gave exhausted looks as if they couldn’t go on anymore. I’ll get it right next time.”
The Iglesia de Santa María looked brilliant with its fresh paint.
I believe this is the Iglesia de St. Martin.
Camino art and a crucerio.
I was surprised how much of these medieval walls were still standing.
I crossed the the Río Esla on this stone bridge…
Not only had the weather turned cold, I lost all energy and struggled. When I saw this Galp gas station, I went in for some much-needed energy food.
Stretches such as this one through Villamoros de Mansilla had no senda. I had to be careful every time a car or truck sped by.
The narrow pedestrian approach to the bridge was very dangerous.
The town of Puente de Villarente.
If I remember correctly, this was the first break from the senda or road all day. It wasn’t a very exciting stretch of track, but at least it was away from the traffic.
The village of Arcahueja was very quiet on a cold afternoon.
The walk to this alto, or height of land, was less than 100 meters in gain, but thoroughly exhausted me.
Entering Valdelafuente, a suburb of León.
I’ll leave this post as I crossed over the freeway on an elaborate pedestrian bridge. Ahead, is the city of León.
On my next post, On The Camino de Santiago in León Spain, I’ll visit León, and it turned out to be an afternoon with a few surprises—and a lot of extra walking. Please join me.
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