I didn’t get the best sleep my first night on the Camino. That came from equal parts a racing mind, loud snorers, and the church bells outside my open window ringing every hour.
I got up in the morning and loaded my backpack to head out. I wanted to alleviate some weight and decided to mail some things ahead to Santiago from the next town. To my disappointment I found out the next town doesn’t have a post office. The closest post office was in Astorga. I knew it would be at least another day before I made it there. Ugh.
The first stretch of the day’s walk would be 6 km. It was 6 km from Fresno to Chozas on Day 1, so I used that as a reference.
The morning’s walk went through expansive farmlands, and it was interesting to see the irrigation systems that were dug out.
As I continued walking I kept wondering where this next town was. It said 6 km, but it felt longer than the previous day’s stretch. I chalked it up to my legs not being as fresh or just not being able to properly judge kilometers. Darn metric system.
I finally made it to the town of Villavante and was so relieved to find a place to sit. I saw Jim and talked to him for a bit.
“That six kilometers was tiring,” I said.
“That wasn’t six kilometers. That was ten,” Jim told me.
“Yeah, you just knocked out ten kilometers first thing in the morning.”
Surprise! No wonder it felt like those 6 km just kept going. It was because they did keep going for another 4 km. Yowza. I guess the best way to walk 10 km is to not know you’re doing it in the first place.
It turns out there is a town that’s 6 km from Villar de Mazarife, but it’s not on the Camino, so you can’t actually stop until Villavante.
I got a bite to eat at Albergue Santa Lucia. I’d had a bocadillo de jamon (ham sandwich) for lunch the day before in Fresno, but Santa Lucia had a choice between jamon york or serrano. I went with the york, which was a mistake. Jamon york is like the regular deli meat, but after you’ve been eating the Spanish cured ham (serrano) the other stuff tastes flavorless and watery.
On the other hand I had my first fresh-squeezed orange juice (zumo de naranja natural or just zumo natural) since being in Spain. Wow! It was so good it tasted like candy.
I walked on to Santibáñez de Valdeiglesias and decided to stop there for the day.
Many people were continuing on to Astorga, which would make for a 30 km day and I was not about that life.
In Santibáñez I stayed at Albergue Camino Frances, which I chose because the courtyard looked like a nice place for journaling. By Day 2 sitting down to journal with a glass of vino tinto in the afternoon had become my routine.
I ate dinner with an Italian father and daughter who were sharing my room. She’s working in London, and he still lives in Italy. They meet up in Spain every year to walk a section of the Camino for a week and return the next year to pick up where they left off. They started five years ago in St. Jean and expect to finish this year. What a lovely tradition.