September 7th 2021 – Day 7
- Sahagún to El Burgo Ranero
- Distance: 17.7
- Albergue: La Pension de Blanca in Mansilla de las Mulas.
I started early the next morning. The sun hadn’t risen and I had a cafe con leche before leaving Sahagún. I noticed some fantastic artwork on the way out of Sahagún and took a moment to appreciate it. The walk from Sahagún to El Burgo Ranero is on a senda again. You have, of course, the option to walk the Roman road via Calzadilla de los Hermanillos and join the Camino Francés in Mansilla de las Mulas.
I walked alone, admiring the sunrise behind me. I caught up with a Dutch pilgrim called Melanie who was trying to figure out the correct way to Bercianos. It is a little tricky here and you need to watch the road but once you see the arrow directing you to Bercianos, there are no problems. The road also got much quieter which allowed me to walk on the road and away from the senda. Melanie is walking the Camino and her husband is joining her in their camper van. Each evening, they would meet at a pre-determined destination. I thought that is handy not to be relying on accommodation. We walked to Bercianos de Real Camino for a cafe con leche and a snack.
The 10kms seem to go by in no time. Bercianos greeted us with a new cafe/albergue “Bercianos 1900”. Bercianos has changed alot since I have been here last, alot more accommodation – it seems busier. We ordered a cafe con leche. Laura caught up with us shortly afterward. My feet were starting to play up on me again, so I was glad to rest. We had 7km of straight road ahead of us, but I was glad of the blue skies and the gentle wind. It was 10.30am so we had plenty of time for my last day of walking. For most of the remainder of the morning, there were no other pilgrims in sight. Cyclists passed us by shouting ‘Buen Camino’ and we returned the compliment. It wasn’t long before we reached the 350km marker and myself and Laura took a photo to remind us of the occasion. El Burgo Ranero is a small hamlet with a number of albergues and pensions. It is chosen as an end-stage in Brierley’s book, however, it has a well-respected donativo, “Domenico Laffi”. We all stopped at a the first cafe in the town and rested for a good while. Linda arrived and we had some lunch. I was in no hurry so my intention was to relax here until everyone else was checked in their own albergue. I had my own bed reserved in Mansilla de las Mulas – 15 kms away. I had no intention on walking there however – I just needed to reserve a taxi so I would ask the hospitalero in “Domenico Laffi” if he would do so for me.
The hospitalero kindly did so, so I waited for my taxi to arrive. I had a chat with Scott from the UK who was staying in Dominico Laffi. He told me about a community that resides a little off the Camino Francés close to Villafranca del Bierzo and he was eager to visit them. I had not heard of this place before so I was lapping it up. It seems this community are entirely self sufficient and welcomes pilgrims. All they request in return is that the pilgrim assist in the work in the community. At this stage, my taxi arrives and I say goodbye to Linda and Scott.
To Mansilla! The taxi ride is 15 kms long and I had many emotions floating through my head. My Meseta Camino is coming to an end but something beautiful is beginning – more Camino memories to add to the collection. I want to thank everyone I met and made this Camino special – you all know your names! By the time of writing, my Camino family have arrived in Santiago – a feat I have achieved on three occasions so I know the feeling. In the taxi, we passed the odd pilgrim walking in the dead sun. It must have been 4pm. I learned alot about myself during the last few Caminos. It is important to know your limits and just enjoy every step.