Leon – may 25, 2013
Let me begin by saying we made it to a most beautiful city, Burgois several days ago. We had taken the bus about 22 kilometers into town- about a days walk for us. Daisy had terrible shin splints and I took her pack weight to relieve her. It had been raining. Ok, hailing and rain hard all day. Ok. Pouring. And hail and snow. All this wet stuff mixed together with a country trail creates mud. We had walked 8 miles in mud and my Achilles, ( still bruised) tired from the slipping, the extra mud weight on my shoes and wetness, Daisy and I walked into the first bar we could find. Bars are all purpose locations here in Spain, especially in the countryside. You can get wine, hard alcoholic drinks, cafe con leche’s, hot cocoa, and food. We walked in for our routine second breakfast ( first breakfast is usually dry leftover baguette and hopefully a bit of cheese. energy) of hot cocoa and torta’s. ( egg and potato pie). The last kilometer was the worst kilometer I had ever walked. We were along the highway with truck after truck zipping by sometimes only feet away from us. We would get blown over from the updrafts of the vehicles and washed by road rain. I kept Daisy in front of me and we walked as quickly as our wet mud soaked and at this point injured bodies could. We earned that hot cocoa.
In the pub we dropped our packs by the local lottery machine sat down and devoured what ever was put infront of us. I had not said bus to daisy. I was thinking bus to Burgois. I was thinking where, how? And Yes! At that moment our friends Michael and Anne walked in to the pub, similar condition and asked, are you taking the bus? Yes! Daisy’s eyes lit up! Somehow about an hour later the bus came through town and picked up loads and loads of walkers- from previous towns. We went over the pass of hard snow. Truthfully I was sad to miss out on snow. We came into Burgois, made it to the tourist office before siesta. Spain closes down between the hours of one to five o’clock every day. We landed in a very nice hotel for 42 euros because a group of us bartered with the front desk person and I checked us in for three days. It was here I went to sports stores and bought new 30 liter packs and sleeping bag sheets. We sent our sleeping bags and old packs and other gear, not needed to Santiago. Our gear will be held until we arrive.
Night and day in terms of weight. Lightness is so much more fun. Learning how to go with less is mind blowing. We are down to exactly what is needed. Wiki pants (2) shirts (2) undies (4) socks(3) long sleeve (1) coat, hat, waterbottle(1) first aid kit, rain gear, journal, iPad, and guide. Purse for money and passports. Sleeping sack, Brush rubber bands, smallest shampoo we can find. Scarf. The heaviest thing I carry is food- when we have to. Daisy’s pack I think is maybe 8 pounds. Mine with the extras is heavier maybe 12 + pounds.
Besides being in a beautiful midevil city of Burgois, with a river running through and fly fishing, we had a great bath tub. We visited an amaizing Cathederal for hours and the humanoid museum. I loved them both! The humanoid museum was my favorite. Very well done. I learned a tremendous amount about our history as humans quite amaizing. And. I learned about the area we are walking through. Evidently, a very important location for archaeological information and the dating back of humans, animals, hunter gatherer history at large. We spent 4 easy hours in the museum.
I also ate my favorite meal in Burgois. Garlic soup, lamb cooked in wine, potatoes, tiramisu for desert for 12 euro. Here they set the “pilgrim” menu and you choose from different options. 1st course, main course, desert.
We left Burgois on a beautiful cool cloudy day and walked about 11 miles, 17 kilometers to the next Alburgee. The rain began after we arrived and continued for days. Mud and more mud cold overflowing alburgees. No wifi, called weefee, cold showers, daisy’ s little blister in Burgois turned into a monster of a blister. The wet shoes and socks did not help. Pop! Fill. Pop! Fill pop! And string we began threading the one now three layers of blister on one toe and I don’t know how many layers on the other toe. Cotton thread wicks fluid out of the blister creating less pressure when walking and with antiseptic can help them heal. Daisy hobbled 8 miles, 11 miles, 11 miles and 13 miles and I said no more. Time for another bus to Leon. The brave girl who had to hobble was now having hurting ankles, calves from having to walk funny as a way to avoid pressure on the blisters.
We had walked through the Meseta’s. The high altitude fields of wheat. Mono cropping at its best. But beautiful. The rain and mud was extremely hard on our systems. I met folks who had slipped and were covered in mud or seriously injured knees and ankles. We were lucky. We sang rubber ducky a lot and began to imagine. Rubber ducky boats across the worst of the mud ponds. And when we looked up the wheat went on for miles and miles and miles of wheat. I kept thinking this sure ain’t Kansas, I know that because the towns are made of stone and are hundreds of years old. The age of archecture just does not compare. Foundations of buildings can date back to roman times over 2000 years. Eventually mud lessened and we came to a new surface for walking. Roads. Paved and unpaved. There was a point when we walked about 17 kilometers no town just road and walkers infront in back there are so many pilgrims we were on a pilgrim highway. The mental thought chatter was so loud I thought people’s minds were hooked up to microphones. But when people walked by it would be that simple “Buen Camino” (good walking). None the less, psychically noisy. I’m talking huge numbers of walkers…. Surrounded by wheat. Nothing else. There’re came a time when a mirage appeared on the landscape. Trees with a white shed, tables. No really? As we came closer I accepted it as real. Ok! We pulled in and had second breakfast. On the side of the road local folks were selling torta sandwiches, coffee and soda from a tiny shed and put out tables and chairs. What a blessing! Turned out the next town pub, and only pub was way overpriced and no supermarcados. We ate simple until the next day when first breakfast was our second breakfast and then dinner. Again no supermarcados. By then we were well out of the Mesetas as a new landscape was beginning. Transition. I suspect that sheep herds come through but I did not see any. This is when we took the bus. Transition land, again walking by a highway and why suffer on blisters and now a bad cough…..
Bus to Leon which is where we are now. Found a very simple slightly disappointing hostel and put ourselves to bed. Here we are in a historically beautiful and rich city, we are both sick and have no energy to take in the beauty. I fell asleep in a bathtub the size of a large plastic tub! I dream about brothy soup, huge piles of salad and fruit. Yet I shall never complain about a good baguette. We have walked through the wheat fields from which the baguette has evolved. Life blood of this land along with the olive and the grape. Food is indeed an art form here, evolved with time. The meats, sausages, hanging delights that must be admired. Sadly I don’t relate to. But Alan if you were here, I am convinced there would always be a sausage or salami of some kind in our food bag. They hang in bundles in every pub along wirth the back leg of a cured pig. Jammon(sp?) thin cut meat for the sandwich. Oh! Yesterday I had a torta sandwich. Baguette torta egg and potato pie cut in half with tuna fish light mayo mixed in. Like this: bread, torta, tuna, torta, bread. Interesting. A vegetable would have been nice. Back to bed. Dream about soup….
Here we are. 11:30 the next day and have yet to leave the room. I’m hungry and Daisy just climbed back into bed after a bath. Back to her electronic devise. She hungers for connection from friends and family. I have yet to meet any one Daisy’s age. The youngest was a baby but they could only walk a few kilometers then take a bus. We met a 16 year old with both mom and dad for two weeks. Only her. No other youth at this time. When looking at the charts of who walks this entire trail daisy is in the less than one percent bracket for her age. She afraid of ” failing” is the bravest young person I have ever met. I can say that though cause I’m her proud mom. The word, “failure”, has claimed to much power and charge, I think for all of us. My hope, is that Daisy walks through all her stuff to eventually drop into something consistently new and shiny peaceful or happy. She has had lots of fun but the mind is a tricky place and it does not help to encounter shin splints, blisters, mud and wet cold, cough…. Check out her instagramming ( and mine). She is the photo show.
All for now,