BERCIANOS DEL REAL CAMINO – MANSILLA DE LAS MULAS
The one thing that I’ve learned that is very prominent on the Camino, is that there is just no way that one can sleep late! And it is not that you don’t want to sleep in a little bit – I mean, you are after all walking every day long distances. But the moment someone is packing up (even if it is done were quietly), you feel the need to put your sleeping bag away and get your hiking shoes on!
We therefore, left once again early. We were joined by Monica, Carl and John and it was a beautiful morning indeed. We saw the moon setting in front of us and the sun rising from behind … such a picturesque moment!
The moon setting in the distance
We were not on the preferred route (the “Calzada Romana”) as marked by John Brierley in his guide book and therefor walked next to the main road, the “senda”. On the “Calzada Romana” route there were no towns, shops or asphalt roads, but we were happy to stop on our route in El Burgo Ranero where we drank freshly squeezed orange juice about 7km after we’ve started walking.
It was just after El Burgo Ranero that we’ve met our “Three wise men” pilgrims from Korea/USA again. They were in good spirit and we’ve walked together for some time … the men were ahead of me and Monica, and the two of us chatted the morning away.
1 x American, 3 x Koreans (but also Americans), 1 x Irish guy and 1 x South African … they could be known as the “United Nations pilgrims” 😄. On route to Mansilla.
I must admit that today’s route was not that beautiful. We were still on the Meseta and the brown landscape was hot in the sun … I can just imagine how dry this could be in the summer.
The entire route is alongside the main road. Fortunately for us the drivers were friendly and every now and then someone would hoot and wave at us … they’ve recognised us as modern pilgrims!
Carl on the “senda” with a little bit of shade offering by the trees
As we’ve walked into Reliegos, Carl took us to the very popular “Bar La Torre”, also known as the “Elvis Bar”.
On a previous Camino, Carl met the owner of this bar and promised to bring him a CD of his favorite music with his next visit. They were very happy to see each other and while they were exchanging comments on the music, the rest of us spent some time under the umbrellas, having a cold drink. It was now really hot and we were looking forward getting to our destination, Mansilla.
The “Bar La Torre” (Elvis Bar) in Reliegos. Monica, Gloria, Berto and John relaxing in the shade.
The colorful interior with memorabilia of all over the world in the “Bar La Torre”
Fortunately, it was only about 6km more to Mansilla. We’ve each got a bed in Albergue Gaia. After we’ve done our laundry, Monica treated us with an ice-cream at a nearby petrol station.
The streets of Mansilla de las Mulas are beautifully decorated with the Camino scallop shell
For lunch we’ve gathered at the café of Albergue El Jardin. Here we’ve spent most of our afternoon in the cool shade of the garden umbrellas and soft green grass. We had a couple of cold beers and enjoyed the afternoon after a hot walk through the barren landscapes of the Meseta.
Relaxing in the garden of Albergue El Jardin. Gloria, Berto, John and a girl from France
Later that evening we’ve watched a procession of Easter weekend in the streets of Mansilla. Since we were not Catholic and not used to this back in South Africa, we did not fully understand the extent of how they celebrate Easter weekend. Raul, our new Spanish pilgrim friend, explained to us how the processions are done and what the meaning of this was to the Catholics.
Processions on Easter weekend in the streets of Mansilla
Tomorrow we are heading to Leon, one of the largest cities on route of the Camino.
We were still enjoying the quietness of the small town of Mansilla when we went to bed that evening.