Ahh… and another night in a single room – in Burgos. Although this time it wasn’t as relaxing as before. The walls were very thin and you could hear every sound your next- door neighbour made – and some of the sounds (if not all) you really did not want to hear… Anyway, a single room is still a single room…
Early in the morning I went to the bike shop where I picked up my mountain bike. I put the content of my backpack in the saddlebags, took some repair kit with me (hoping someone knew how to repair a bike – because it was not me) and then I met my two fellow cycling mates: another German and an Australian.
Although it took a short while to get used to cycling with saddlebags and an injured ankle and so forth, we were delighted to see that after only an hour and a half of cycling we already reached the destination we would have aimed for if we had continued hiking. Ahhh… easy… However, it was freezing cold in the mornings (and quite hot in the afternoon) and my fingers almost froze off.
Somewhere along the way we recruited a fourth member to join our cycling crew… an American girl.
In the beginning we tried to follow the hiking path, which obviously was much more picturesque than the tarmac road – but shortly after we realised that the tarmac road was just so much easier and more efficient to cycle on – and damn, who cares about picturesque if you can have easy ;).
On the way we saw many people with whom we had walked before – and who had been much faster than us… and now we were just whizzing past them – waving. Humans just love a bit of competition.
We cycled for around 60km that day – and jeez, I hate those mountain bike seats… I wonder whether they invented them because they like torturing people. When we arrived at our destination for the day, Boadilla del Camino, we were exhausted.
The village Boadilla del Camino was beautiful, but at the same time rather deserted – except for the albergue. I guess, as in many countries young people had left and moved to the cities – and only the old stayed behind. The villages along the Camino are obviously an exception – because tourism is thriving there – but apart from those few spots catering for tourists there was not much going on.
We enjoyed a lovely homemade dinner (that’s often a big advantage of staying in smaller places- it is just more homely), lots of wine (the typical pilgrims’ menu) and even though we slept in a rather large dorm – with a squeaky toilet door – I still managed to sleep well. Thank god the human body adjusts to all sorts of circumstances quickly.
While some people got up at dawn we took it really easy this morning. After all we had our bikes and would reach our destination in no time :).
In the morning I was the last one to leave the dormitory. While checking the area around my bed one more time to make sure that I would not leave anything behind I noticed a 50 EUR note on the upper bunk. I lifted the blanket and saw that there was not only one 50 EUR note but six of them. Someone must have left it. For a second a thought arose. Little devil spoke to me: “You could just take it and have a great time…no one will know that you took it ” to which little angel replied: ‘Imagine this was your money and maybe you had saved really hard for this trip and imagine how it would made you feel if this money was gone”… ahh… OK. But what could I do? I only had a vague idea who had slept ‘on top of me’… I notified the owner who happily accepted the money – and showed me the list of guests who had checked in and we somehow managed to identify the relevant person. However, his big grin and his very enthusiastic response kind of made me worry a little bit (but maybe I was just paranoid). Then again, I had done what I felt was right so why worry about what he would do.
We left and after approx. 30 min of cycling I spotted the upper bunk pilgrim – he had not even realised that he had lost a bit of cash. And he was not overly happy about receiving the news either. After all he had the choice to either go back or ‘donate’ his money to this albergue… I mean, I surely knew what I would have done in this situation but hey, it was all up to him.
Even though temperatures were moderate that day and there were only a few small hills we were exhausted around lunchtime. When we finally spotted a place for our lunch break we ordered a big pilgrims’ menu – and afterwards we felt even more tired…
We cycled for 68km that day and reached our destination Sahagun in the late afternoon. Even though Sahagun is a popular town with pilgrims for overnight stays the albergue we were staying in was almost deserted – and when they offered us a 4-bed dorm we gladly accepted it.
That evening one of the cycle crew members had their birthday – so we had a little celebration with lots of yummy food and wine (we even nicked the left-over wine bottle from another table to add it to our own wine collection).
After a good night’s sleep we were ready to hit the road again – although this time we had proper difficulties to sit on the bicycle seat again… the first five minutes were like torture and all you could see was grimaces and all you could hear was moaning and swearing… but then our bodies got used to this sort of pain again. But hey, at least it was a different kind of pain and my feet were doing perfectly fine at the moment.
We still had to cycle 55 km before we would reach Leon and that morning we all agreed on how happy we were with our decision to take the bikes (instead of walking). That day the Camino was right next to the highway which was OK for cycling but just not great for walking. The closer we came to Leon – a city of 130.000 people – the more industrial it became. Sometimes we cycled along the highway, while lorries were passing us constantly. Definitely not the nicest Camino day.
After checking into our albergue in Leon (another 4-bed dorm – incl. pets – bedbugs – yay) we called the bike rental guys to tell them about the location of our bikes… 100 EUR for 3 days on a bike, incl. pick-up service in Leon. Yes, it had been worth it.
In the evening we explored Leon, enjoyed a yummy dinner and celebrated our victory with good wine (surprise, surprise) and other natural products the Camino had provided to some fellow pilgrims….
And here is the visual summary:
While the last section was all about pain – this one was all about recovery. My blisters had healed and even my ankle was doing much better. Sometimes letting go of Plan A and following Plan B can lead to miraculous and wonderful outcomes…
So far I walked approx 200km, took a bus for around 100 km, cycled for 185km and I had been walking/driving/cycling along the Camino for 18 days.
To be continued….