We finally got going about 9am and headed to Castrojeriz, only 3.5km away. It was still chilly in the morning, so we pushed on a bit to warm up. Jose Manuel had warned us about a hill after Castrojeriz, and we had by now picked up on the fact that the Spanish always seem to underestimate the severity of their hills, so when he said it was a tough one, we were very worried.
As we approached the hill we got caught behind a shepherd and his flock of sheep along with some walkers. When a small crowd of us had formed behind them the shepherd got his dogs to drive the sheep up onto the bank next to the road to let us pass. When we got to the other side of the sheep Miguel and I looked back and saw that Alberto had somehow not made it past. I told Miguel we could keep going, the hill was just ahead and Alberto would catch up with us on the hill. Sure enough, he did - but when we were almost at the top. I was pleased to make it all the way to the top without stopping or walking, and thought those days in the Pyrenees must be paying off. When it was time to go down the other side it was a different story. The gradient was 18% and I was feeling very timid, so I got off and walked down the hill. I felt a bit silly but the day before had been the first day of the Camino that I hadn't fallen and I was hoping to make it two days in a row.
|Behind the flock. You can see the camino snaking up the hill in the background.|
|View from the top - and confirmation of the steep gradient!|
|Camino and road. Me and miguel.|
We carried on to Terradillos de los Templarios where we stopped to have an ice cream and for Miguel to rest his butt. It was also our last chance to call ahead to the albergues in Sahagún and check how they were filling up, as Terradillos was the last major stopping point behore Sahagún. The municipal albergue said they weren't too full so we decided to head there for the night.
|Pilgrim with Donkey somewhere befoe Sahagún|
In Sahagún we found the municipal albergue without too much trouble. It was housed in a massive church, with one big room which was divided by bunk beds into little cubicles. It only cost 4 euros and had clean toilets and a kitchen, so we couldn't complain much. We actually went out to eat though, enjoying a pilgrim's menu on the central square of the town, watching kids run around and plenty of locals hanging out as well. The menu was only 8 euros for three courses, but Miguel and Alberto wanted to try a starter of the local specialty of leeks filled with a seafood paste. They said it was very tasty, until we were brought the bill and we found out it was 10 euros! Oh well! We also took care of some errands in town, finding a candy shop open we went in to re-stock our supplies of gummy sweets which were a good snack on the bike, and bought some pastries for breakfast the following morning.
Back at the hostel we looked at our options for the following day and decided that if possible we would push on to Astorga, as it was supposed to be a really nice city. It was 110km away though, so we weren't sure Miguel (and more imporantly his butt!) was up to it. We spoke to a middle-aged couple who were getting ready to give up their Camino. The guy had twisted his ankle and couldn't even walk on it. Even after two weeks where he had taken busses to meet up with his wife who would walk each day, the ankle just wasn't getting better. It made us realise how good we have it on the bikes, not having to carry all that weight on our backs and having the option to freewheel down the hills.
Stats for the day:
Moving average: 14.3kph
Overall average: 9.9kph
Moving time: 6h9m
Total time: ??
Max speed: 42kph