14 June

This guy is called Ian. He lives no more than 3 miles from where I spent my childhood. It is really weird that I was looking at this……..

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….. and we started speaking.

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From left to right this is Janne from Finland, Eric and Camillo a father and son from Australia and on the right we have Harper (his second name, which he prefers to use) from Colarado. We met last night.

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It’s another early start today (14 June) and I am ready to go by 6am. I slept well last night and I slept deeply. Because people say those who sleep well make the most noise I ask Harper, who was in the bunk below me if I made any noise, he replies saying “Apart from the manic screaming, no.” I appreciate his sense of humour because last night when he asked if anyone had a comb, I said “No, but I do have a pen he would be welcome to use”.

The greater part of today for me would be along the Calzada Romana, the original pilgrim route which is a Roman road. Most others chose to go by a slightly shorter, newer route, which turned out to be the better thing to do.

Let me tell you this folks, those Romans were pretty good at building roads but they were pretty bad at making them level, or providing nice sheltered rest stops with umbrellas, benches and cold drink dispensers.

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For the first ten miles (16 kilometres for my European friends), I trod along an ankle turning, knee-knocking, hip-hurting hell of loose stones, large rocks and heat.

The scenery was the same everywhere I looked, every bend in the way I took, every time I looked forwards or backwards. I imagine that in a few weeks time at the height of summer, yesterday’s and today’s walking will claim many victims.

I could see the other pilgrims way below me walking along a shady tree-lined road. I decide to join them. I am glad of that decision when, on my way to join the much cooler pilgrims I happen on this place.

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The remainder of the walk into Mansilla de las Mulas was tedious and boring along the side a road.

Here is where I will sleep tonight.

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In the Albergue there is a guy who looks completely done in as I peel an orange I saved for supper. I feel sorry for him and offer a piece of my orange. I watch in dismay as he consumes most of it and leaves me a couple of segments.

I’ve been invited to a shared dinner tonight by a group of Brazilians. That is either because I am stunningly handsome or I shared a glass of beer with one of them this afternoon who looked like he could do with a beer. The simplicity and kindness of his gestures and the way he us uses a translator on his phone to tell me what he wants moves me to tears. I’ll let you know tomorrow how things turn out.

Steps so far today 33598

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