Distance to go: 374.6 Kms
The alarm clock went off at 0545. I had a good sleep but as soon as I put my feet on the floor all was not well. I could not put any weight on my heels. It was too painful to stand. I have no idea what had happened. I had a blister on each heel which we had lanced and dressed but this felt like bruising of some sort. After three weeks of relatively trouble free walking this was a bit of a shock. Had we done too much yesterday on the hard surface of the Roman road? Had I a piece of gravel in my boots when walking yesterday that had caused bruising? I have no idea. Anyway, I had sorbothane insoles in my boots. I was at a loss to find a reason. So we decided that we would only walk to Sahagún today and take stock once we were there. It was 13 Kms away and we would stop at the two villages en route.
We set off into a cool and misty morning. My heels were really sore and I initially struggled to walk properly. An ibuprofen and paracetamol concoction helped but this was not the way to continue.
After 3 Kms we stopped at a really nice cafe at the Moratinos hostel where for the very first time we had a mug of hot tea. The proprietor had a great menu and catered for non coffee drinkers. 20 minutes later the combination of narcotics and tea kicked in and I was able to continue to the next village of San Nicholas del Real Camino, a further 3 Kms way. The sun was up and burning the mist away.
We stopped for another cup of tea and a muffin. By now my feet felt better but I was not kidding myself.
We set off again for Sahagún 7 Kms away, crossing into the Province of Léon finally leaving the Province of Burgos. The track followed the main road into the town and the walk was nothing special. On the way however Debbie caught her foot on a large stone and jarred her knee and that is now adding to our woes.
We arrived before the albergue had opened so sat in a cafe and enjoyed another cup of tea and a sandwich by which time we were able to enter our accommodation for the night.
We are on the top floor of a large church. Below us is the tourist information office and a small meeting hall for functions. We are in bunk beds but having arrived early we both got a bottom bunk. Bliss for aching feet. No ladders to climb! €5 a bunk bed. It is clean and tidy and has all the facilities we need for cooking and washing and such like. It is also very handy having the tourist office downstairs.
We now have a decision to make. We could stay here and let knees and feet recover and then continue walking. That would put us behind our original schedule. Or we could take the bus or train to Léon and miss about 30 Kms and take a days rest and pick up again on saturday morning to be back on our original schedule. I have some soul searching to do. Our intention was to walk the Camino and not take any transport. By taking public transport it feels a little like cheating. If a pilgrim of old was offered a ride on a donkey cart would he turn it down? Part of me says stay here and walk on when ready. That could mean we may not make Santiago before we need to head home. Or go ahead a day by train and recover in Léon and then move on. We are only half way after all.
Whilst we were debating our options we visited the Monestario de la Peregrina. What an outstanding building this is. The link can show you more but is translated from Spanish so the grammar is a little ‘off’ in places. €3 entrance is charged and pilgrims get their pilgrim credential stamped and a beautiful certificate announcing their vista to the geographical centre of the `camino Frances. The building is subject to extensive and sympathetic renovation and is well worth a visit.
My dog of the day snarled at me when I approached with my camera. I beat a hasty retreat and so I refuse to make it famous.
Distance walked today: 15 Kms