Camino Day 23: El Burgo Ranero to Puente Villarente 25km

Homemade breakfast at albergue La Laguna in El Burgo Ranero. Tea, orange juice, crackers and sardines in olive oil.

That last ingredient was actually a lot tastier first thing in the morning that you may think. Sardines in olive oil will be breakfast again on this trip. I love them.

Today’s stretch of the Camino was one of the dullest. Most of today’s trail was parallel to roads although the road was busy only for the last 6km or so. Still, flat landscape, not much to look at and that ever present road.

Another Camino cross but there was something different with this one. Let’s zoom in…

Yes. An i-sacrifice. We live in modern times I suppose.

The rain that had been pestering me for the last few days had stopped. Even the wind had died down. So here are some pretty dawn pictures.

Morning fog.

The sky in the walking direction towards Leon looked quite dramatic for a while but nothing came out of it. It soon cleared up again.

I walked for a while with a group I refer to as the “Isle of Skye 3”. One bloke and two ladies from that beautiful Scottish island. I have seen and chatted to them on and off for about a week.

Political and independence slogans are never far away in northern Spain. At least, I don’t know about southern Spain. There is always a message of some sort.

Several corn fields look deserted. Almost all yellow and brown and still with at least some corns on them. Why is that so?

I understand that there is high unemployment in Spain.

Then you see things like this. Half-finished infrastructure projects. A couple of vehicles. Wednesday morning at 10.45am.

One person working, doing something in a hole in the middle of nowhere. In fact, he was the only person on the construction site from what I could see.

Looking in the other direction of the road construction.

Sorry, I don’t understand this. Why not get people here, train them first as and if required and finish roads like this. A bit like all the depression era projects in USA. How can that not benefit everybody?

OK, moving right along…

The town of Mansilla de las Mulas looked lovely and could have been a contender for tonight’s stay. Although I was there way too early at 11.30am.

This was a lovely pilgrim statue…

…until some Spanish bicigrinos put bike helmets on them and took photos. I have to admit that it looked quite funny.

Another pilgrim monument in Mansilla de las Mulas.

I had to put my old sunburnt hand there…

I passed one of the backpack transport vans in Mansilla de las Mulas. There were a lot and lots of backpacks inside the van.

Then I saw two people carrying several of the backpacks into some accommodation. Well, each to their own…

I left Mansilla de las Mulas using the westwards road and then realized that there was a wall around the town.

Approaching today’s destination Puente Villarente, this is the first albergue that you come across.

The guide book describes it as “…a medieval pilgrim hospital which operated a donkey ambulance for sick pilgrims into Leon”. That sounded like bad karma so I gave this albergue a miss.

Close to the puente / bridge that may have given the town its name were these artful H and I “things”. I have no idea what they were symbolising.

There was a newish looking pilgrim / cycle / pedestrian bridge across the river. It went parallel to an old bridge which presumably gave Puente Villarente its name.

Some interesting Camino / Puente Villarente art.

Tonight’s stay was at Albergue San Pelayo. The albergue didn’t look much from the road. In fact, there was a strong smell in the air from farm animals doing or having done their business.

Once inside, the albergue was huge and impressive. It looked a bit like an alpine retreat. The common area is a big room which invites you to relax. A restaurant and a cooking area were there as well.

The backyard of Albergue San Pelayo.

Yet again, I had “menú del peregrino” which was OK but after yesterday’s top meal fell well short. Hanging in the common area chatting to other pilgrims and that’s the end of today.

459km walked. 326km left to walk after Day 23

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