To El Burgo Ranero

18.08.08 Monday.

Terradillos de los Templarios to El Burgo Ranero.

Another day another dollar, more strolling (marching!—ray) across the plains of Castille y Leon. Ray seems to have survived his first day on the Camino, he has ended up doing the stretch that many avoid by the bus from Burgos to Leon. Today was another day of flatlands with distant mountains getting no larger or smaller. The route largely follows the road which follows the original roman route across the plains. We make our way in the dark out of the albergue which was very good with beds instead of bunks and only six people in our dormitory, even so there is always one with a head torch who takes for ever to go to bed and wants to get up before the rest. Such minor grievances can assume large proportions in the middle of nowhere.
There is a nearly full moon so head torches are not needed and the temperature is perfect for walking in the moonlight. No problems this morning with finding yellow arrows and scallop shells. We later see a T-shirt (black with a single yellow arrow) simple but you need to have been here to appreciate it.
We stop for the usual café con leche and one of the big croissants they make here. Later we tease Richard our French companion about the size of French croissant compared with the Spanish and he takes it in good part. It is quite remarkable how patience and effort can replace fluency in language even for quite complex concepts, we are definitely into post doc levels of “point and grunt”.
Just before Sagagun we leave Palencia and move into Leon. Only 365 to go to Compostella!
There is really little to report, after 32 km and 6 hours, we reach El Burgo. This is a two horse town with a good albergue run by a German volunteer and his Spanish colleague with a good restaurant opposite. After lunch and siesta we shop for some food for evening meal and breakfast in the tiny general store down the street. Like Terradillos many of the houses here are adobe (mud and straw), straw being plentiful as a building material. Even those made recently of more modern bricks than mud are rendered with a mix of mud and straw. We think this improves insulation, not only against the heat but also in winter from temperatures as low as minus 10degC with snow, as we learnt yesterday from one of the friendly locals in Terradillos.
Two more days of the flat plains and there may be some more interesting terrain for Ray, but this is the real Camino.
The pilgrim life seems to involve getting up at 5.45 and walking in the dark until the sun comes up and long morning shadows appear with a refuelling stop for coffee and croissants. At midday it gets hotter and I get slower and we reach our goal, get booked in at the albergue, get our pilgrim passports stamped (mine (Ray) has only 4 so far but the mad English who have walked all the way from England have many). Then its beer, food and siesta, followed by vino, food and sleep. A lot of pilgrim time seems to be spent in bars but I may be missing the finer points but not the blisters

Link to where we are on Google Maps