Monday, January 3, 2011

An interesting hospitalero

Robin and I walked out of Moratinos this morning at 8:15 into 37 F temperatures and low hanging clouds, but no wind. We are off to El Burgo Ranero as we have confirmed the albergue there is open. Today we walked much as we have the last couple of days, on the senda, or compacted gravel path that usually loosely follows a main motorway or roadway. It isn´t all that inspiring just as freeway driving is not all that inspiring, but it is part of the camino and we are giving it our best. The terrain here is much flatter with the usual croplands reaching out as far as the eye can see. We are touched by the rural poverty displayed in many of the small villages we pass through. These are all small communities supporting the local agricultural industry. Now that the harvest is in the few men we have seen are usually sitting in a bar nursing a beer, much like small rural towns anywhere. Sometimes I would like to join them but knowing my fondness for beer my camino progress would most certainly suffer. Perhaps another day. For now, ultreia. So the time passed and the kilometers slipped behind us. We stopped in Sahagun for a coffee and to pick up some food for the road. It was a nice few moments inside out of the cold, and the coffee was delicious (better than beer at least at this time of day). We ran into a couple of people ( a Spaniard and a Korean girl) we had met earlier on the camino and spent a few moments catching up. We then headed back onto the senda and made for Bercianos del Real Camino where we hoped we might find a bar open for another coffee, and as luck would have it a couple of hours later we were once again in from the cold ( a couple of real tourists). With another coffee under our belts we set of once again onton the senda for El Burgo Ranero where we are spending the night. Now to the title of this post. The hospitelero (the man charged with managing the albergue for some agreed upom period of time) has turned out to be a remarkable man and a very hospitable host. We are just three here in the albegue including the hospitelero. He is here for three weeks from Barcelona. He speaks about as much English as we speak Spanish but have been having a continuous conversation for the past three hours. This man has logged some serious camino kilometers. In four and a half months he walked from Barcelona to the Camino Norte to Santiago and then down the Portugese route to Fatima and then continued on by foot to Seville where he walked the Via de La Plata back up to Leon and then turned east to walk back to Barcelona. Can that be? We are having a great evening. Robin and I are using her iphone trying to link up the many missing words, both Spanish and English and carry on a converstation. Menu du jour was pasta, chorizo, cheese, olives , bread, and  a wine (of course). Weare huddled in front of a wood burnng stove (the only heat in the place) laughing at the ridiculousness of this situation but thoroughly enjoying it, and very happy for having met this remarkable man named (appropriatly) Santiago. What a night. My apologies but this is an older computer that does not allow me to upload my photos. Will try again tomorrow (I hope). Peace be with you (as it truly is with us this cold winter´s night). Off to Mansila de las Mulas tomorrow.

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