A really good sleep as I had paid a bit more ( 20 euros ) for a single room at the Benedictine Convent Albergue in Sahagun. Most of the Albergues/Refugios don’t have this option but I was grateful to escape the snorers , at least for a night. A Pilgrim will pay anything from 4 to 10 euros a night to stay at one of the Refugios , unless it is a ” Donativo ” when you just make a donation in the box when you leave. These tend to be the smaller Parish Refugios which are usually fairly basic but often have a communal meal ( such as the one I stayed at in Viana ). Most of the Refugios will have a kitchen so you can prepare your own food or you can take the option of ” The Pilgrims Menu ” which is available in most of the bars/restaurants in town or indeed in some of The Refugios. For around 10 or 11 euros you get three courses and a half carafe of wine. The standard can vary but I’ve had some very good meals and wine for this very reasonable cost. Some of the young student Pilgrims are budgeting around 10 euros a day by cooking for themselves and staying in the cheaper or Donativo Refugios. I’m spending around 25 euros a day ( if you ignore the couple of hotel nights I’ve had ) so that gives you an idea of costs.
I walked this morning with Forrest and a couple from Nashville , Tennessee. Forrest is a big bear of a man from Oregon and we seemed to get on very well since we first met and shared a glass or two of Rioja about a week ago. I think we’ll share a few more before Santiago. We walked 14km in the morning and Forrest decided to call it quits after lunch. I pressed on and soon came upon the start of the ” Calzada Romana” . This is classified as the most perfect stretch of Roman road left in Spain today ( see photos ). There was absolutely nothing on this road for 14km so I had total solitude and just the sound of my own footsteps and the occasional bird call. I met Servan and Edith from Nantes having a picnic at the start of the road ( see photo ) and they were the only Pilgrims I saw on this section .There is an alternative roadside route for The Camino at this point and I guess most had taken that to avoid the lack of facilities on the Roman road . Whilst walking today I thought of the many millions of Pilgrims from all over Europe who had walked this very same stretch of road over the centuries and endured so many hardships along the way. They didn’t have the luxury of German made walking boots , showers , Rioja and the ” menu de Peregrinos “. They had also to walk all the way home again after reaching Santiago. And here’s me moaning about snorers. I’m such a wuss.
All in all this was a blissful day’s walking and I reached Reliegos around 5.00pm , downing a well earned beer in the only bar in the village. There was a national Spanish holiday today so the bar was full of guys playing a card game which must be peculiar to Spain as I didn’t recognise either the cards or the rules of the game.
I had a very enjoyable dinner with Servan and Edith who were highly recommending that I walk the 10 day section of The Camino in France from Le Puy to Conques . They say it is exceptionally beautiful and that , in their opinion , the standard of accomodation and food on the French sections of The Camino are a bit higher than here in Spain , though it’s a little more expensive. That is definitely one for the future.