Day 26 21st day walking

Out with the birdies again. We were well on the road by seven although it took a moment or two to figure out how to leave the village. We were soon on that long straight tree- lined road again.
We were soon on our pace, it looked like being a good day. We passed a few pilgrims as we speeded up, but there was a guy in front who was almost matching our pace, so it took some time to catch him and longer to pass. We never did pass him, it was the friendly American John again and he kept us company until we stopped for breakfast.
He is not going further than Leon and intends to fly home afterwards. He will return in September with his wife and hopefully complete his Camino with her.
We stopped for breakfast at Bercianos del Real Camino. We wished him well and buen camino and thanked him for his company. Good company always helps the miles pass.
During our breakfast the N Koreans arrived, monopolised the toilets then left in perfect step.
Wyn arrived as we were about to leave, we said hello but did not want to linger more.
We had many more miles of tree-lined straight road to go to todays destination.
As we crossed another river and stopped to admire the view we met a couple from Alaska. They kept us company to Reliegos and we exchanged stories. There is not so much opportunity to retire when you are an estate agent in Alaska, it seems. They were also taking their time as they do not wish to arrive at Leon until Saturday as they are meeting their daughters, then to complete the Camino.
The day has so far passed well and thanks to good company we have covered the twenty kilometers to Relliegos easily.
We would be on our own for the next six though, but my aches and pains had been put on hold for a while.
Little has been said for a while about Viv. Her only problem hsa been the weight of her pack. Her joints and her feet have been well behaved and she complains little. We try to help each other though, and as I am used to carrying more weight than I have, we decided that the extra water we have been carrying is actually surplus. So I emptied the container and gave it to Viv. Then I have taken some of her heavier toiletries.
Maybe after Leon when we have rested, with the redistribution and the help of my sticks, life will get easier.
We aproached Mansilla de la Mulas over the obligatory bridge (every town now has a bypass) we saw a Hostal sign on the roof top.
We passed some very nice looking albergue, but our albergue experience so far had not been good. We also passed a pension but decided we would stick with the plan.
I was so pleased to get a room, never asked the price, and they even have cidre here for Viv.
When we got down to the bar though, Viv’s cidre turned into cerveza. She was not pleased.
After we had washed up Viv settled for a coffee while I drank more beer. She went up to take some things back to the room and I went to investigate the dogs I could hear growling. They were penned in but soon got accustomed to me and stopped barking.
There was an air rifle propped against the fence. I picked it up, it was nicely weighted and had luminous sights. I was well impressed, the bar owner however was not “es peligroso” he said and hid it in the shed.
Viv was embarrassed by it all so we went off to explore. We found a nice church and then we saw some fortifications. There seemed no way to get to them, but on the other side of the road a guy was up a ladder plastering.
He started waving the direction we should go in and indicated it was far. Obviously he had no idea how far we had walked today.
There was, I think, four fortified towers that made up the city walls. the first one had been restored so that you could climb it, the others were in a poor state. They still made an impressive sight though. You would not want to have to attack them.
Later we found their Plaza Mayor and stopped for a drink. Then it hit me, first my legs went weak, then my head went fuzzy. I thought I was about to pass out. Next I was violently sick. I managed to get it all in the sink, but I had quite a mess to clean. Next came the trip to the toilet.
I could not finish my beer and there was no way I would be eating tonight. Viv refused to eat alone so I paid my bill at the hostel and we went to bed.
I was hoping that the morning would see me feeling better.
Just a point about Mansilla; the guide book is rather dismissive of the place. Only 1 albergue, we saw at least four and we weren’t looking. There were literally dozens of hostels and hotels and the whole place had the feel of a well preserved tourist town. I would definitely recommend a visit.

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