Camino de Santiago, Camino Frances, pilgrimage, Spain

September 19th, Day 18: Sahagun to Reliegos de Las Matas

Moonset outside of Sahagun.

In an effort to escape the brutal mid-day heat, we leave Sahagun very early in the morning, well before the world is awake. We cross into a quaint (nicer part) of Sahagun, and take a bridge out of town. We are walking by moonlight as we make our way out of town, crossing a major highway before returning to quieter country roads.

Sunrise at the moonset, outside of Sahagun.

Less than an hour in to our morning walk, we witness a moonset. It is incredible watching an almost harvest-like moon dip below the trees and farmland in the distance. And when I make a 180-degree turn, the sun is creeping up behind me, turning the sky a bright pink color. We are in awe, and officially inspired for the morning.

We cover 10 kilometers before stopping for breakfast in Bercianos del Camino. Here, we treat ourselves to fresh squeezed orange juice, coffee, tortilla de patatas and cake. We’re slow to move on, but still aware of the temperature creeping up outside.

It is a long flat walk from Bercianos to El Burgo Ranero. My mind is empty after days of intense conversations and I plug in my ipod for some motivation, something I have not done much on the Camino so far. Tammy is behind 50 paces or so, and I spend some time with some tunes. I’m relieved to arrive in El Burgo Ranero, which is a very quaint village. A truck is delivering fresh fruit and vegetables to the shops in town, and we watch as villagers line up to buy directly from the delivery man.

We find a cute café on the right side of the street and order sandwiches and sit outside to watch as other pilgrims make their way into town. There are no signs of Ramon or Lynne, let alone Jennifer or Kyle. We haven’t seen anyone else in days, but little do we know they are only ever one or two towns ahead or behind.

After lunch, we throw our packs on and calculate that we have 12.5 kilometers to go until Reliegos. It is now officially hot and we are walking parallel to a main road for the rest of the afternoon. I fall flat and 12 kilometers is taking forever. We stop at a picnic bench for a rest, and continue one. We pass a turn off to the left, and I’m certain this is the turn into town, but no, we have another 3 kilometers. This is the day that won’t end.

Hi to Gill, from Bodega Gil

When we finally arrive in Reliegos, Tammy and I are barely walking together. We’re frustrated – not at each other, just at the day and the walk and the heat. We check into the municipal albergue, which is new and clean. We find our bunks, me always taking the top one from here on out, and I take a shower, which brings me back to life. Flip flops on, we set out to explore this little town.

We have seen a sign for a restaurant called Bodega Gil, and we feel it is only appropriate that we have dinner here. We send Gill a message to check in and have a glass of vino tinto while we wait for an acceptable hour to eat dinner. We have our hearts set on paella tonight, and it’s delicious.

Tammy and I toasting with Cuarenta

Other pilgrims filter in at dinner time, and we meet Alessandra. It’s difficult to quickly describe Ale. Originally from Mexico, she is now living just outside of Toronto. She moved there to marry her soulmate, who is from Colombia. Ale is ray of sunshine, who lights up any room she enters and fills it with such positive energy. She takes such care when meeting and talking to other people, and it’s impossible to feel low when you are around her. I learn more about her story, her reiki work and her new life in Canada. I am so glad to have met this special spirit.

After dinner, we toast with some Cuarenta, a strong, yellow Spanish liquer. Technically, we have one more day on the Meseta, one more day before arriving in the big city of Leon. We have almost made it through the second section of the Camino. We are more than halfway to Santiago.


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