September 14 – Thursday

Had a good sleep, but once again it was too cold to do yoga – no rain, but condensation was very heavy and the grass is soaking wet. More church chimes – one that had a ding-dong bell, and another that bonged out of tune and tinny-sounding – twice at the top of each hour, one minute apart. Nice shower, although I had to hand-hold the wand as the hose was cracked and the water didn’t flow much if it was on it’s hook. Once again the building was heated – so nice.

Had a nice breakfast, packed up the tent and all the gear, then went for my Camino ride. I left the campsite at 10:26 and was on the trail at 10:27 – just had to cross the road. After about 4 km the trail followed a very quiet side road, so I ended up riding on road instead of the dirt trail. The road was very quiet – I think a total of five or six cars went by the whole time I was on it.

I stopped at an old church on the way, then at what was supposed to be a bird-watching place, but you couldn’t get to the watching platform because the walkway to it was broken.

Passed through the town of Bercianos del Real Camino, found the trail again at the other end of the town, and continued on until I had gone exactly 15 km, where I turned around. I stopped at a bench 2 km back and ate a few nuts and had a 12 minute break before starting out again.

Back at the bird-watching place I saw four cyclists pulled over doing something to a wheel, so I stopped to see if they were ok. They were just finishing pumping up a tire and obviously had everything they needed but we stared chatting. It turns out they are not only Canadian, but actually from Kamloops – we all laughed when I told them that I usually say I’m from Vancouver because they do the same thing. They rented their bikes over here and are going to ride much of the Camino, then want to go to Portugal before heading home around Thanksgiving.

Got back to the campground earlier than I expected since I had a head-wind almost the whole way and thought it would take much longer. Headed to our next destination, once again on the smaller roads. Colin remembered that Ponferrada, where we had stopped and shopped at yesterday, was the host of the cycling world championships a couple of years ago, and I recalled that I had watched it on tv.

Found the next campground at Castrojeriz no problem and when we were checking in the fellow asked if we might want dinner – a few times a week they have a special dinner and tonight they are having lamb roasted over an open fire and they need to know how many people to cook for – yes!!

I was just setting up my tent when the older fellow (Gabriel) from the office came and asked Colin why we had a tent when we had the campervan – he could hardly believe it when we told him that I slept in the tent and Colin in the campervan – he was fairly incredulous, and walked away shaking his head. After I was setup I joined Colin at the cafe for a drink and some wi-fi.

There’s a couple of very nice ladies, one Irish and one German, that we stared taking with. Agnes, the German, has two adorable chihuahuas that she’s taking with her on the Camino, and she and Jacinta met today on the Way. I asked if they were partaking of the lamb dinner, and Agnes informed us that she had been too late – they didn’t just need to know how many to cook for, there was only enough for 12 people, and we were here first – lucky us!

We did a load of laundry in the machine, then hung it on lines to dry in the fierce wind. I took a short walk up towards the castle on the hill above us, but didn’t go very far – the wind isn’t only fierce, it’s very cold. Also passed an old church.

Went to the restaurant for our lamb dinner just after 7:30 – the place was almost packed. When they brought the first table’s lamb out my mouth started watering – it comes in a large baking dish steaming hot and gets cut right in front of you. After dishing out some to each person the rest gets covered in tin foil to keep it as hot as possible. Side dishes of salad and fries came next. The waitress indicated we are meant to eat the lamb with our fingers to get the most from it, and brought packets of wet clothes to clean up with.

The lamb was awesome – I ate as much as I could and wrapped the rest in the tin foil to take back for breakfast. Once again I didn’t have room for the dessert. Back at the campervan we took our still-damp clothes off the lines hoping to have time to complete the drying in the morning. Made some herbal tea, then got into my tent – sleep came fast.

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