Madrid Camino Day 9 – Coca to Alcazaren

May 16, 2017

I’m in the municipal albergue in the tiny town of Alcazaren (population 704) after a 23 km walk in the hot sun. Today was tough on the feet. There was a good deal of hard packed gravel and about 8 kms of tarmac walking as a result of a detour. I have since learned there was another shorter, more pleasant route I could have taken that follows the river valley. Oh well.

160 kms to Sahagun and the French Camino

Enjoyed a nice video chat with Catherine and Henry from the little hotel I was in last night in Coca – nice to have wi-fi. Got to sleep a bit later as a result, but was off to a good start in the morning. As I passed through the little agricultural town of Villeguillo, I had an interesting encounter with a woman of about 70 who was out walking her dog. I bade her good day and she replied in kind. She asked if I was a pilgrim. I said yes, but that I spoke no Spanish. She asked if I spoke French. I said yes and we proceeded to have a lovely conversation. Evidently, she learned French in Paris as a teenager. She said her son also spoke French and worked at the Spanish Consulate in Ottawa, Canada.  When I told her I lived in Ottawa, she hugged me, invited me to her home for a meal. Sadly, with another 20 kms to walk I couldn’t spare the time. I carried on, ruminating on how small the world really is!

The Camino Madrid – quiet and beautiful

The final 8 kms were a hard slog. It was hot and I cut it dangerously close with my water supply. I found the albergue in Alcazaren easily enough, and discovered I was sharing it with two Belgian pilgrims in their 60’s who have walked all of the Caminos but the Madrid. They usually walk between 30-35 kilometers a day, so I doubt I will run into them again, but we had a nice chat and they were comfortable companions for the night. They didn’t seem surprised to learn that I was a Canadian of Belgian ancestry. Very matter of fact fellows, and very pleasant. 

Storks nesting in high places all along this Camino

I went out for my first bar meal as it was Sunday and nothing else was open. The only signs of life were the storks clacking their beaks high up in the church steeple.

It was an early night. There is another 25 km walk tomorrow to Puento Duero where there is an albergue with a ‘must stay’ reputation. So this was my first night sharing an albergue – the Madrid Camino is quiet indeed!