Camino Day 19, Sabado 26th Setiembre. 448 klms. Mansilla de los Mulas, León, Castile y León, España

Today turned out to be a very tough day. I almost broke down physically, and for a while psychologically/emotionally too.

The short(ish) version is this. It was a long but not especially long walk, some 27 klms. In the middle there’s a killer stretch of just over 13 klms along which there are no services of any sorts. About half-way along my leg gave out, and I was reduced to a hobble. But tricky when in the middle of nowhere, limited language skills, and still some 12 or so klms to go. Janet would stop and start and wait for me up ahead, and that was frustrating her, as I went slower and slower. Eventually, with a couple of klms to go to the next town we agreed that she head on to that town (Reliegos), get some food, and wait for me there, after which we could then decide how I would get to Mansilla de los Mulas and our pension for the night. I had a sizable feed at the very first café/bar in town (where she was waiting) and just rested for half an hour or so (boot off, leg up, etc). She then headed off for the last 6 klms into Mansilla, with me to decide whether to walk or taxi. As it turned out the break did the world of good, and I was able to walk the final stretch.

The psychological bit? Whilst intellectually I know better, I found myself filling my thoughts with all sorts of doubts and negative thoughts. The emotional bit? During the long stretch, on a couple of occasions as I came up to Janet waiting for me I found myself almost in tears. And physically, whilst this was happening, as well as the sometimes quite strong leg pain, I found myself both wobbling and wanting to go to sleep (standing up).

So all round, not much fun.

The lessons? Firstly, I think we (I?) had become quite blazé about the distance, and so my head wasn’t properly prepared in the first place. Then, we (I?) didn’t allow proper breaks during the long stretch – an hour or so non-stop is probably about the limit. And then I think that I wasn’t sufficiently fueled. And lastly, my heat control probably wasn’t right either.

I just may have attempted to compress too much with too little resources into the day. A sometimes metaphor for wider life, maybe?

So a few photos from the day, with minimal commentary. This first one is the café/bar where we had breakfast, at El Burgo Ranero. Excellent facility, modern, and yet finished on the outside in the traditional straw/mud cladding of the district.


On the way to El Burgo Ranero:


El Burgo Ranero main street and Iglesia San Pedro:


Along the long walk into Reliegos:


Sheep dog man. I saw this quite large flock of sheep wandering across the paddock I couldn’t figure how come they didn’t walk onto the nearby road, until I saw him and his tres perros bringing up the rear. Unfortunately our language skills were divergent.


Old city walls Mansilla de los Mulas:


At Mansilla de los Mulas:


Girl on a horse. She appeared in the street outside where a group of us were dining. Dunno why. And she was on her mobile phone. Go figure.


After party. Need say more?


You know, on balance it was still a good day. Tomorrow León, and a farmacia at the very least, and maybe a visit to el doctor.

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