El Camino: Day 20 (El Burgo Ranero to Mansilla de las Mulas)

Posted on 03 October 2012 by christie

Woman with baby

Woman on the Camino with her 18 month old baby

Our two 30 kilometer days left us exhausted and excited to sleep in this morning. As we were waking up, we heard our names, “Christie! Brett! Christie! Brett!”. We jumped up thinking it was the bag transport company “Camino Facil“. I looked down from our balcony and low and behold there was Dee Anna wondering if we were coming to walk. Apparently, she has been throwing rocks at someone else’s window thinking it was our room. We told her to go on and we’d catch up later.

We had a lazy morning and by the time we set off on the road it was close to 10:00. The entire first 13 km stretch from Burgo Ranero to Reliegos village was quite monotonous. The Camino path is tree-lined gravel next to a side road. The scenery is all the same with flat dry plains with a few patches of trees with picnic areas for relaxing. As we had left late today, we didn’t see many pilgrims on the road. We did run into the Spanish hippie woman who is traveling with her 18-month old boy. She chugs along pushing him in a three wheel stroller. Sometimes she sleeps in the albergue when they allow babies. Otherwise, they sleep outside in a tent….. must be freezing!

Casa con los Ojos

Bar Torre in Reliegos village, also called “Casa con los Ojos”

Dee Anne knows this pilgrim since she once slept in the bunk next to her. She said the baby cried some of the night and kept her up. Needless to say, Dee Anne doesn’t sleep in the albergue anymore, she’s switched to private rooms. I wonder what it would be like to have a baby on the Camino. At least he/she would be occupied all day. I suppose I could do it, but would definitely need private accommodation. Sleeping in a tent with a baby doesn’t seem very comfortable. I do give this woman a lot of credit and hope to see her at the end in Santiago.

Inside Casa Con Los Ojos

Inside “La casa con los ojos”. Spanish couple welcoming pilgrims to write messages all over the walls of the bar

13 kilometers into the walk, we arrived in Reliegos village. We found the funky “Casa con Ojos”. It’s the Torre Bar which is a cafe painted blue with unique drawings on the outside, including two eyes welcoming the pilgrim. The bar is run by a middle age Spanish couple who seem happy to be serving pilgrims daily. The walls inside are decorated with writings and messages from pilgrims passing through along the Camino.

Alberto from Menorca

Chatting with Alberto from Menorca about Spanish wine

The final 6 kilometers was again the gravel path next to the road. Along the way, we met a Spanish guy from Menorca who works in the tourism business operating boats, kayak and bike tours. He’s been doing the Camino in stages over the years and was on his third and hopefully final stage to Santiago. He was quite knowledgeable about wine and spoke with us about Spain’s wine industry. We’ve been really enjoying Spain’s wine along the Camino, but are lacking any specific wine knowledge about Spain’s variety of grapes, vintages, and wineries. Alberto explained that “Crianza” is three to five years old. “Reserva” is over five years in the bottle. When in a bar or restaurant, people are not so focused on the specifics as we are accustomed to hearing in the States. All the wine is usually fantastic and as we said before you can find a fabulous bottle of wine for very little money here in Spain.

Mansilla de las Mulas

Mansilla de las Mulas…Plaza Mayor with modern Camino shell tribute to Pilgrims

Our 19 kilometer day ended as we reached Mansilla de las Mulas. We settled into “Pension Blanca” and joined our friends Al and Ronda for a bottle of wine and tapas at “El Jardin del Camino“, located next door at the Albergue. We discussed our final planning of the Camino and realized that we only had 12 days left! We all have mixed emotions as we want to arrive to Santiago de Compostela, but do not want our Camino to end. It’s been such a life changing experience on the Camino, walking and thinking for hours upon hours, meeting fantastic people from around the world, all while experiencing Spanish life and culture.

Spain has always had a special place in my heart since I studied abroad in Salamanca nearly 13 years ago. My love of the country brought me back again to live in Barcelona for 3 years. Now I just keep returning and loving the country and its people even more each time. This past month on the Camino with Brett has been very special as it’s his first time experiencing Spain, besides short business visits. Brett has come to love the country in the same way and could see himself enjoying life here as I always have. It’s an amazing feeling for me to know the person I am spending my life with shares the same passion for my 2nd home, Spain.

Tomorrow will be exciting as we will arrive in Leòn, where we will spend two days exploring this glorious capital of the Leòn Province.

See our Photo Album:
El Camino: Day 20 (Burgo Ranero to Mansilla de las Mulas)

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