Day 16: Carrion de los Condes – Sahagun

37km

Sometimes you just need to go, and keep going.

This stage of the Camino is often heralded as the most mentally draining.  I found it invigorating.  The terrain was flat but the terrain relatively varied.  There are no alternate routes or bars to hide out in, so the wide path is well-populated.  A few villagers from the surrounding area would drive out and offer cerveza, cafe and bocadillos donativo.

But the impulse was always to walk and keep walking.  I could almost detect a spring in my step, as I realized I was halfway through my pilgrimage.

I started passing villages with little regard for the beauty of the church or the friendliness of the bar.  Instead I made note of the distinctiveness of the town’s layout as I quickly moved through thinking about what obstacles lay immediately ahead.

I think this is the pilgrim’s way.  Tourists dawdle in fear they’ll miss something “important.” Alcoholics linger, shielding themselves from the world with the maternal warmth of a single malt.  And consumers shop, looking for deals not to be missed.

The pilgrim is on a journey motivated by progress.  Each day of the journey he draws closer to his destination and changes in some imperceptible but undeniable way.  His acquisitions are for immediate needs and eternal desires.  The flickering value of a short-term want is not strong enough to turn his head.

And so I walk on.  Over the hills and through the woods.

Past the lovely stone albergue with an outdoor patio and early retiring pilgrim with his cerveza and paper.

Past the adoloscent hawking a casa rural at a discounted rate.

Past the purveyor of handmade walking to sticks right into the heart of Sahagun where I found a bed, a meal, and a retired Australian headmaster with which to swap stories.

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