From October 15-31, 2016, Kent and I will be serving as hospitaleros voluntarios at El Burgo Ranero, a small villlage about a two day walk east of Leon on the Camino Francés. For now, we are enjoying the last days of summer at home in Albuquerque, preparing for our role as hospitaleros, thinking about what we will take with us on this camino that will be unlike our previous ones.
I stayed in the municipal albergue in El Burgo Ranero on September 27, 2010, and I have vivid memories of my stay (including a shortage of hot water). I had thought I might walk farther that day, day, but when I stopped to visit with camino acquaintances who were sitting on benches in front of the albergue that afternoon, the peaceful atmosphere of the village diminished my desire to walk further. While I sat on a bench overlooking the pond at the end of the town's main (perhaps only) street, I again met fast walker Antonio, a Barcelona banker taking a year off, whom I had met a few days earlier when he was just starting out, and whom I would meet again on the walk to Finisterre. That day, Antonio criticized my snack of potato chips (a salty snack always tastes so good after a hot few hours of walking), saying I should be eating Spanish food while in Spain, but he would soften later. He also limping -- his fast pace at the start had taken a toll. I shared a communal meal with Mario from Canada and Patricia from Hungary that evening, and I was able to check my email in the city hall.
Here is the page of my credential from that time:
I didn't remember getting all the way to Leon that day, but perhaps I did, as I took a bus. Ah my notes say I left about six after getting coffee in a cafe across the street, walked to Reliegos, then to Mansilla de las Mulas, where I'd intended to stop, but it was still only about noon, so I continued walking, probably to Puente de Villarente, where, tired of the busy highway, I took the bus which took only fifteen minutes to reach Leon, where I stayed at the Convento Santa Maria.
Here are two photos from my stay in El Burgo Ranero. It will be interesting to compare my memories as a pilgrim to the actualities of work as a hospitalero.
Leaving early in the morning. Watching the light come into the world was always a favorite time. Dawn arrives late in Spain in September and October.