Camino de Santiago, Day 19
Sahagún to Reliegos 18.5 Miles
This article is the seventeenth in our series of walking 500 miles on the Camino de Santiago with my husband Scott. Some articles will be only about one day of walking, and some may include a few days of walking, for the lengths will vary. To begin with the first article click here.
Scott and I left town on Day 19 while it was still dark. We stopped to take a picture of the Arch of San Benito all aglow with lights. We ran into Ted and Eve from Texas, and they said this spot was “also” considered the halfway point of the Camino Frances. They showed us a plaque commemorating it. The four of us crossed an ancient Roman bridge and began our 18.5 mile walk to Reliegos.
Ted and Eve walked with us for a while, but they needed a slower pace, due to Eve’s knee issues. So, we said our “Buen Camino” and were on our way.
Scott and I seemed to really get into a groove while we walked, and enjoyed a similar fast pace.
Mid morning, after our coffee break, we had to decide which way we wanted to walk; on a dirt path along the highway, or on an old Roman Road with no towns or water for miles.
The Roman Road
We choose the Roman Road. It was definitely out in the middle of nowhere! We stopped to talk to three ladies from England, who were having a picnic on the side of the dirt road. Their guide book said we had many miles on the road before another town.
Bicycles on the Camino
Before we started out on our walk, I didn’t realize people also cycled the Camino. Each and every day of our walk we had been passed by pilgrims riding bicycles. Sometimes, flying past us and sometimes we passed them, pushing their bikes up rugged steep trails.
Cycling the Camino is a great option for bicycle enthusiasts, people not physically able to walk so far, or those who want or need to do the Camino at a faster pace. It can be done in half the time of walking.
Some cyclist use very good trail etiquette, and use their bells to alert us they are approaching from behind and need to pass.
Others however, have no trail etiquette at all. They sneak right up behind us, scaring us to death and causing us to jump and stumble as we try to get out of the way.
As we were walking in the middle of nowhere on the Roman Road, two men on bicycles stopped and started talking with us.
They were Australians, traveling with their wives who were busing ahead each day and meeting up with the men later in town.
Walking the Camino was not an option for these two older men, but cycling was.
We said our “Buen Camino” and as they started to leave, one of the men spun out and crashed right in front of us. As we helped him up, we realized he was riding a motorized electric bicycle and it had gone too fast for him at first. How cool is that? I want one of those.
More Roman Roads
Eventually, we turned off the Roman Road and entered a town. It was hot so we stopped to buy cans of iced tea.
There was a couple miles of pavement walking, it always seemed unsafe, and hurt our feet.
Finally, we were on another Roman Road for the rest of the day.
Roman Road per wikipedia: Were built from about 300 BC, through the Roman Empire.
The roads we experienced were raised up, but made of dirt and gravel. So, they were considered secondary roads.
Closing in on Reliegos
It was a long quiet day for us, each alone with our thoughts. There wasn’t much to look at, but bare farmland. Only one man passed us all day.
Way ahead, we saw a long row of trees. There was a break in the middle of the trees, so we knew the town must be on the other side.
One hour later, we made it to the trees and saw the road went down a hill, crossed a stream and went back up a hill. There was no town in sight. We walked along a ridge-line, very disappointed, thinking we had been almost finished for the day. Up ahead, we saw a sign saying Reliegos was 2k away. We groaned, signs always said 2k farther and it felt so long. Hot and tired we finally walked into town.
Scott and I went our separate ways to find a place to stay. I walked to the other end of town and had only seen one albergue. So tired, I just sat on a curb and felt sorry for myself for a few minutes.
I walked back up the street and found Scott. He had found a room for us in a new hostel with our own room! Happiness.
After cleaning up, we went to sit on the patio of a bar we had seen as we entered town. They served us delicious fried ham and cheese balls and wine. It was nice to relax and our spot was the perfect vantage point to see other pilgrims walking into town. They all looked as tired as we felt!
For our Pilgrim Dinner, Scott and I sat with a Frenchman who was cycling the Camino. Conversation was difficult because our only common language was Spanish.
Some people at the other table were talking about American politics. What a way to spoil a good meal! We were annoyed, but decided to keep quiet and not give our two cents.
After dinner we went for a walk to see more of the town. We wandered up the hill and saw a group of locals hanging out by the bodegas (wine cellars set into the hillside.) They were enjoying the last rays of light from the sunset.
A friendly man saw we were interested in the bodegas and walked around with us, telling some of the history.
He asked if we would like to go back into town to see the bodega of his family. We eagerly accepted his offer and off we went.
It looked like a door going into any house in town, but when we entered, it went down stairs and under ground!
It tunneled down quite far, and he told us about how his family had been working on it for years. He remembered helping his grandfather in the bodega as a small child.
It was the perfect temperature for wine and cheese storage. He explained how the bodega had a vent which went out of the top of the bodega.
We were so lucky we met this kind man who wanted to share a part of his life with us!
Check out the short video we made of our experience.
Day 19, was long but excellent. 18.5 Miles