June 10, 2008 Terradillos to Bercianos del Camino Real

I set off that morning with Trevor, Tim, Danni and Angela. We had much conversation and enjoyed our walk through Moratinos and Sahagun.  We determined that Bercianos del Camino Real would be our stop for the night, and we arrived at its old, adobe albergue in mid afternoon after a long walk on the flat Meseta.

The albergue at Bercianos was quite primitive, with birds’ nests above the main stairway. Given the nests and constant buzzing of barn swallows above us, we determined it best to leave the big windows open to give the birds free access. The main sleeping room was cots with thin mattresses and we spread out our sleeping bags. After laundry we headed to the center of town and, at about 16:00 found the bar/cafes full of men playing dominoes. They stopped and looked as we walked it and we realized we’d come to a part of this tiny town where pilgrims seldom entered and we were watching a ritual that had gone on for decades. These farmers gathered here after a hard day’s work to enjoy the company of other farmers, which usually revolved around a drink and a table game of dominoes or perhaps cards.

We returned to the albergue to check our laundry and rest, then headed back to the same restaurant for dinner, passing more groups of elderly men playing lawn bowling in a nearby park. Grandmothers sat on wooden chairs at their porches, watching and waving as pilgrims like us walked by.

That evening we walked to the vacant lot next to the albergue and together watched the birds inhabiting the derelict church building across the field, and then the sun going down past the western horizon. It was a beautiful sunset and a gorgeous end to a lovely camino day in rural Spain.

June 9, 2008 San Zoilo to Terradillos de los Templarios

Today is the longest stretch of the camino without services, so before I left San Zoilo I made certain I had ample water as well as some food. I set out for Calzadilla de la Cueza, hoping to find my friends along the way.

After nearly four hours I came to Calzadilla and there, at a bar/cafe, were Trevor, Danni and some new friends, including Tim Brennan of Australia, Maria Paluselli of California, and Angela of Munich. This group would become my camino family over the next many days, and I enjoyed our reunion over cervesas and bocadillos.

We walked together toward our stop for the day, Terradillos de los Templarios, and arrived there at the private albergue. We set out our sleeping bags and adjourned to the bar/cafe, which seemed the only entertainment in this tiny village. Before long the men were at one table and the women at another, talking loudly with the many pilgrims who’d made this their overnight stop.