17th Day: Calzadilla de la Cueza to Bercianos del Real Camino

Culture is a funny thing sometimes. It’s not always easy for me to understand where culture ends and morals starts. For example, Ivano, who is about 15 kilometers behind us, called Pierre-Luigi to tell him of an interesting restaurant experience he had last night. He, Caetono, Leah and Taymon where enjoying the Menu del Dia, normally a three course meal of soup or Russian salad, beef or seafood, a desert, wine and water, with the added background noise of a three year old running around the restaurant and causing a lot of noise. The grandmother of the child, who was also the owner of the bar, grabbed the child and gave him a couple of slaps on the behind. After living in Germany for 6 years, I know that Germans don’t play around when it comes to hitting your children. Leah and also Taymon (Australian) were upset with the situation and it evolved into a a bit of an argument with Ivano, an Italian, who saw it differently. In Germany, people would call the police for something like that. I have heard all of this third hand, so it’s hard for me to side with any party. It’s just interesting to think about where cultural values of “spanking” end and where absolute morals start. In Germany, its completely taboo, but not as much here in Spain, especially in rural areas (in the US you can probably find people on both sides of the fence).

We were already 3 kilometers down the Camino when Ivano called Pierre-Luigi with the story. We walked another 7 kilometers on a path speckled with small rocks that led over hills of land that were preparing themselves for the planting of crops and by fields of unkept rapeseed with yellow, flowering tops. The warmth of the sun poked intermittently through the clouds, raising the temperature enough to throw off my puffy blue mid layer coat. After passing through the small towns of Terradillos de Los Templarios, which once belonged to the Order of the Templars, and Moratinos, which houses what an Austrian hotelier of the town calls “Hobbit holes”, but later confessed are like natural fridges for vegetables and fruits, I lost Pierre Luigi and made my way alone to the town of of San Nicolas del Real Camino.

The Camino follows a busy road from San Nicolas del Real Camino to Sahagun. I stopped for a Menu del Dia myself and then I was off to make the last 10k (of 34) to Bercianos del Real Camino where I would hole up at the monestary slash Albegue. About 4k from my final destination, a flash storm came rolling in and drenched my pants. Unluckily, I had taken off my rain pants in Sahagun. Within 30 minutes I was in the Albegue enjoying a hot shower. Mansilla de las Mulas is 30 kilometers away. Once I reach it tomorrow evening, I will have regained the lost day I spent resting in Burgos and will be back on schedule.

Early in the morning we came upon rocks pointing the way

Arrows in Terradillos de Los Templarios

A graveyard outside Moratinos

Hobbit Holes

A view from inside the Austrian women’s hostel and bar

Monument in Sahagun


The bridge leading out of Sahagun

Before the flash storm, some words of encouragement


Ermita de Nuestra SeƱora de Los Perales


Pilgrim memorial outside of Bercianos del Real Camino


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