Reflecting back over this summer gone I’m very aware of how much time I’ve spent outdoors. We were given such an incredible season in the UK, and now I’m scratching onto the remnants of heat as I trek through Spain. We are up on a plateau now though, and we’ll be up here for weeks. The autumn is forcing itself through, here, finally. Heavy winds are taking the leaves off the trees, bringing a chill that is at odds with the force of the sunlight. But it’s glorious.
I left Burgos through avenues of falling leaves, and hiked back out into the countryside. I’m very much on my own again, which is a state of affairs I am mostly cultivating on purpose based on a decision I made before I even left – to whit “I’m not here to make friends.” But friends are happening by mistake as I coincide with people again and again. It’s pleasant to leave it to chance too. I still don’t know what I’ll take from this trip. It’s not my job to project forward. Right now I’m just relishing the daily mileage, and noticing as my body subtly shifts.
I’m writing this as I walk aimlessly around this little town in my espadrilles.
All the other pilgrims are sitting together in a communal room, silent, on their phones. I’ve been exploring. There’s not much to explore and I’m not quick in the evenings. But I’ll never be back in these places. There’s too much world. So it’s right that I see them.
I just ran into my first Brits in a little wayside bar. They were drinking beer. They do a week of this Camino every year. This year it’s Burgos to Leon. I had very little to say to them, but it was a strange familiar moment hearing their accents. I didn’t relish it.
Now I’m at the church. It’s a tiny country church, essentially, but if you’re on this route you get the bling bling even in a small town. That’s the Camino rules.
There’s a mass at 6. I might go and get some magicbread. I intend to walk a big day tomorrow so I need all the help I can get. Today’s plans for a long one were thwarted when all the alberges in the next two villages turned up already closed for the season. Just as well I rang to check. I’d have been walking all night, or paying way over the odds. Although a Halloween advert I’m in is screening in Ireland so my agent will likely have a present for me before long, God Bless them. This all means I can potentially risk not finding an alberge and covering more ground, knowing I can make the shortfall if I have to book a room.
I want to make up at least one more day from the recommended stages, not least because staying in halfway towns is usually more satisfying and cheaper than staying in the official stops.
Although saying that, this town is an official stop, and I’m in a brilliant auberge. Every bed gets its own plug socket. I can’t tell you how luxurious that feels when you’re used to leaving your phone plugged in under the sink three rooms away.