Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pilgrimage Day 18: Corrión de los Condes - Sahagún

Day 18 will be a long hike, 40 kilometers long. Yesterday, it was less than 20 km because I wanted to stay at the Clara monastary. I think it is the best accommodation so far. Simple, clean, convenient, but first and foremost, very atmospheric. I begin today's journey full of impressions and think particularly of the importance of finding peace in life. My life is full of noise, especially noise that I create myself. If I can be more quiet then I might be more aware of the little things around me. And it's in the small things in life we find happiness. I walk and pay greater attention to the color of the flowers around me, the wind that strokes my cheek, a butterfly that sits on my hat; and I allow myself to be happy because of these small events.

It is pleasant to walk the first few kilometers along the main road N-120. Then there comes be a long, long stretch of cornfields on all sides of me. It is flat as a pancake, no shade, little wind, and the sun baking. The monotony provides an opportunity to continue what I started the day with, namely to train me to be quiet and let the environment speak to me. I not only see better, but I can smell better too. The fragrances of the flowers and grain filling the air is like a symphony. I walk for nearly 20 km before I reach the first village for today. I have three bottles of water with me and it was a bit too little. I saw no water pumps on this stretch and no stores or gas stations. The first village is called Calzadilla de la Cueza. Many pilgrims feel exhausted after these 20 kilometers and stops to stay in this village. I stop alsohere but only for a long break where I take off my shoes, drink lots of water and eat my bread with the world's best tomatoes.

After the break, I walk 6-7 km before I cross the river La Cueza and come to the village Lédigos. Here, everyone lives of farming and they all live in small quaint whitewashed houses. After a further 4-5 km og hiking I come to a similar small village called Terradillos the Templarios. The name gives reason to think about the Knight Templars, but there has never found traces of them here. The little church here is from the 1300s.
I'm not finished with today's walk yet, and goes on after a short break in this charming little village. My water bottles are filled, and I buy some fruit and nuts to enjoy the rest of the day as I hike. There are no stores before I come to Sahagun, they say in the local store to me. It is nearly 15 km to go before I get there. I reach Moratinos after only a few km. This little village was known to be a village where Christians and Muslims lived in peace with each other already in the year 955 The village currently has no general store or other stores at all. Only a small collection of houses. After a few km I come to San Nicolás del Real Camino. The village marks the end of Palencia province which I've been walking in for several days. After two hours of hiking, on a comfortable path, I come to the first city in the León province, Sahagún. Here I find quickly a municipal-run hostel in the Trinidad church. I pay 5 euros for the night and get my pilgrim passport stamped. There are beds for 100 pilgrims here, and fortunately it is not half full here tonight. There is plenty of room, good showers, and a large kitchen. After 40 km, I am good and tired. I long showers awaits me and after that I care to my feet. They look good. The infected blister I had under my left foot is almost healed completely and my ankles are pain free. This is promising news. I am proud of having walked so many km in one day. However, what is most difficult over time is to walk long distances every day. If you are reading my pilgrimage and want to "walk in my footsteps", work-out regularly at home in advance with long walks every day for a period. There is a big difference between walking 25 km once, than walking 25 km 30 times in a row. The everyday life on a pilgrimage is to walk, eat/drink and to rest. Life is very simple. And this simple life appeals to me more and more. What do we need all the other things in everyday life for. With 10 kilos on my back, I have everything I need to survive. I have benefited much from this reminder in my life.

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