Sunday, September 23, 2012

Carrion to Sahagun (Sep 21 Day 22)

We found out that the bus for Sahagun leaves at midday, which gave us a bit of time to roam around the town. I finally found a tobacconist to recharge my prepaid phone account, and later discovered that the post office did it as well. The post office provides a valuable service in sending extra items that could not be carried to an address or even a post office the final destination. Of course finding one that was not shut for siesta remained the perennial challenge.

The journey to Leon took an hour for the 40km journey in a nondirect route through towns  not on tbe Camino route. With that mechanical propulsion today we were now only a few km short of our halfway point to the final destination of Santiago de Compostela.

Our bus left us at the first hotel in Sahagun, that happened to be the town's finest but that was not where we were staying. Instead, we had to walk into the town and spent some time trying to locate ours through a rather inaccurate guidebook map. We eventually did find it, a small hostal with very comfortable room right on the Camino route.

While nearly all towns and villages we passed through were dominated by one or more churches, always visible for kilometres around and nearly all visibly restored, Sahagun seemed to be dominated by the ruins of one that fell apart through tbe tribulations of war and lack of religious interests. This last point was a surprise to us given the ever presence of the Catholic church. Indeed we have not observed much religious preoccupations by the peregrinos on the trip so far even though it is nominally a pilgrimage. About half the participants were not Spanish, and most seemed more concerned with clocking up their 30+ km a day than to waste time on sceneries let alone the inside of churches.

As most villages and towns we passed had been impressively clean and tidy, the less tidy ones stood out - like Sahagun. The town square where we had dinner al fresco was alive with noisy children but the atmosphere was more degraded by the unswept kerbs and footpaths. My BBQ sepia (cuttlefish) was good but K steak was tough.

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