Beyond the Meseta

 

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Terradillos de los Templarios → El Burgo Ranero – 31 km

After catching up with our buddy Cat, we decided to slow down a bit. Not necessarily in distance, but in the way we accomplished said distance. At our new leisurely pace we can be found sitting for coffee after 10km, sitting for another after 17km, and then maybe having some beer or sangria before the final push to our destination.

Having been soaked by a rainstorm on our way into El Burgo Ranero, the three of us opted to spring for a private room where we could spread out and dry our soggy clothes. I even soaked in a bath (!) for the first time in weeks. Luxury!

This day marked the first of many laughing fits brought on by what I will call “walking hysteria”. These laughing fits are mostly between myself and Cat while Will waits patiently for us to regain our composure, uncurl from our bent double position, and keep walking. I love laughing.

El Burgo Ranero → Leon – 40k

It was a bit ambitious to aim for Leon, I will admit. A few of our pals were having a rest day there and we decided it was worth the effort to catch up with them for a reunion.

The first 30km were fairly smooth. We laughed a lot, stopped for coffee often, and picked up with a gal from New Zealand who was both horrified and tickled by our crudeness and slew of bad jokes. At around 30km we were led astray by some misplaced yellow arrows (how easily manipulated we pilgrims are, as we depend on the arrows to keep us going the right way!). As we realized our mistake, which added a couple extra kilometers to our walk, we got stuck in a torrential downpour.

The final 10km were soggy agony, and we could not have been more relieved to see our friend Steve’s face when we finally found our room for the night. Three pilgrims become four!

Leon → Villadangos del Paramo – 22km

We got quite a late start leaving the city, as we wanted to check out the cathedral and run a few errands first. Though it was a relatively short day it stretched on for ages, as it was all along the freeway and generally not very exciting.

In an attempt to balance out the overworking of our lower half, we started doing core and arm exercises after walking. We found it helps to get some blood out of the feet, so it actually feels quite good!

Villadangos del Paramo → Astorga – 29km

Allan, another of our buddies from earlier on the trail, joined back up with us in the Villadangos albergue. Four pilgrims become five!

After many days of flat and a couple of walking near roads, we finally got back up into the hills. It was change welcomed very warmly by our feet that had been so battered by days of hard flat earth!

Halfway through the day we ran into the sweetest bit of trail magic. A couple had set up a home in the middle of nowhere and made a daily habit of putting out a fully laden food stop for pilgrims. Organic juices, fresh fruits, almond butter, gluten free cookies, all for free or by donation for those who wanted to give.

In Astorga we visited a palace designed by Gaudi – gorgeous!

Astorga → Fondebadon – 26km

A day of mostly uphill, and we cruised right up it. Our muscles were so keen to be involved in the struggle our feet had been enduring alone on the flat meseta between Burgos and Leon!

We picked up with a fun couple from New Zealand, Jake and Laura, for the last half of the day. Five pilgrims become seven!

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