Day 16: 35.2 kilometers
Total: 494.3 kilometers
Today started off like whoa! I planned on sleeping in to 6am bit I was up at 5:05 ready to go! I sat and did a little breathing exercise that helped me relax and napped for a little but then woke up at quarter till and started packing. It was nice and warm all night so I didn’t have to use my sleeping bag which was amazing! I just had to brush my teeth and change my clothes and i was out the door.
The morning for me is always amazing. I love the crisp air when it’s still dark. I love the fact that I really don’t know where I’m going. I love that I’m ok with that. I love when I see the arrows eventually. I love the night sky! I love seeing shooting stars! I love the sunrise! All this happens every morning and sometimes it is so beautiful I can’t even move! I just stand there with my hands held high and feel everything. It is a beautiful moment of being entirely in the exact moment you are in! It charges me and I smile then end up walking a wild amount of kilometers! This morning was particularly special to me because when I thought about special people in my life I would look up and stars would fly! It was incredible. A few of them were so bright and streaked across the entire night sky! So incredible. I walked all morning without using my headlamp. It was all on an abandoned old farm road and there were some turn offs but I just stayed on the western road. I used the stars for that and the beginning of the sunrise. And then a few kilometers later the sun began to rise! Holy macaroni! So beautiful! It erupted into the sky over the mountains with more shades of pink and orange than I could list. So incredible!
I arrived into Calzada Hermanillos just as the sun was coming up! So beautiful. There was only one Albergue open there that I saw and no shops so I continued through. I found a fountain and filled up my bottle before I left. Coming up was the Calzada Romana all to be seen was endless flatness and nothing for 17 kilometers! It wouldn’t be bad since I got a bocadillo to go from the bar last night. So off I went….
It was gorgeous with the shadows of the new morning sun over the fields. It was flat too, real flat. I passed a few people and then saw no one the rest of that stretch of road which was all rocks. It made it for a slip or two if you didn’t look down. I looked around then almost rolled my ankle a few times so I guess I had to stare down at where I stepped. To make that a little harder the morning sun cast a huge shadow of my body directly in front of me making it hard to see the stones sometimes! Hahaha oh well as long as it was nice and warm! So time ceased to exist and I walked along. My feet started to hurt from all the rocks and it was magical every grass stretch I found. The only other thing that would make my feet feel better is when I would see a spot and be like that spot needs a heart. I draw or make a heart with stones or dirt and then I feel fine for a while more! I hope the love I leave helps other pilgrims crossing this section too! After a while I made it to a town. Perfect timing because I needed water and was hungry for lunch! I found a bar and guess what I had? A bocadillo! It was delicious and a cafe to give me some energy. I grabbed a beer to loosen the nerves and sat back down on the patio in the sun. Two people come over and sit at the table next to me and turns out they were the most wonderful people! Kevin and Steph from Minnesota. Great people out walking and enjoying life! We talked and chatted about everything. Another guy came Alex from Brazil and he sat down and joined. We chatted for a whole and it felt good. Not only the conversation, but the beer and having my feet up! After I while I wanted to head back to the trail which meant I had to backtrack a kilometer which was ok. so with a full stomach, full water bottle and a happy smile I headed back. It looks like the town likes people coming there way because all the arrows point to the town but the actual path makes a turn there. A few meters down that way I saw the camino post knocked over and covered. Hmmm. Promoting business maybe or just nature. I went along my way and enjoyed the weather which was sunny and warm! The end of the Calzada Romana goes past a prison then hits a highway and then takes you into town. The town was nice but the way in was so so. That is why I love these smaller towns. It’s nature then beautiful towns then nothing again! Either way I was glad that I made it to Mansillas de las Mulas and went through town the scenic way to the Albergue.
The Albergue was packed and I saw some familiar faces from days before which was cool! I was tired so first thing was a nice warm shower then I laid down and passed out for 45 minutes then got up because I was hungry! I walked around for a bit and was real hungry so I grabbed an avocado and some bread and some chocolate. I sat in the plaza in the sun and enjoyed the day. There was a fountain next to me and a playground filled with a bevy of people. People passed by and so did cars through the plaza but I just took in the sun and enjoyed my avocado sandwich! After that I walked around some more. I didn’t see many restaurants that served a pilgrim menu so I kept walking. I came upon a bar that had cheap beer and many tapas! Every beer I ordered I would get a plateful of tapas for free! This sounded great for both the pocket and the stomach and the achy joints! So I had four beers, four plates of food, and a bunch of laughs with the other locals that came in here to watch a game show on the television! It was 8 euros well spent! Now I’m back to the Albergue and off to bed and ready for another day! Love places that are warm at night and have blankets! I’m in paradise! Pura Vida and buen camino!