Walking West – Lessons

Day 19 – Calzadilla de los Hermanillos to Mansilla de las Mulas, 15.98 miles

That’s right, another sunrise picture.
To be featured in the upcoming coffee table book, “Cats on the Camino.”
Mansilla was a ghost town compared to my last visit, heard that Covid-19 hit hard in a lot of these small towns on the Camino..
Another pilgrim statue.
Our new friend Sofia, right after she gave us a lesson on the proper use of the Spanish curse word, “*****”

The walk between Calzadilla de los Hermanillos and the next town, Reliegos, is 17.5 kilometers. Fortunately, and true to form, the family at Albergue Via Trajana had coffee and breakfast ready for the departing pilgrim crowd. It was just enough to cover the 3+ hours to Reliegos.

We stopped in Reliegos to refill on coffee and to have something to eat. There was a little bar/market that boasted about having the best bocadillos on the entire Camino, so naturally we had to try. They were pretty good, but the best? It’s hard to argue about the best when the bocadillo by nature is awesome anywhere. The most remarkable thing about this little bar was the number of cats hanging around the outside tables. The picture above records about one third of the cats in the vicinity.

We arrived in Mansilla de las Mulas, our home for tonight, not long after noon and secured beds at the first albergue in town, the Albergue El Jardín. It was another good place and fully self-contained, meaning there are beds, laundry, and food & drink. At these kinds of places, you could check in and never have to leave the facility.

The fun began at El Jardín in the evening when my friend Joe and I went downstairs for Sangria and tapas. The Sangria here was excellent, not from a bottle and not from a batch made earlier in bulk, but each glass made fresh, one at a time. The bartender/owner gave us a lesson on how to make them. The secret is to make them individually and add ****** as the special ingredient.

As we enjoyed our drinks, the front door opened and a little local lady stepped in and said,

“****, it’s cold out there!” (English translation)

And yes, it was cold and breezy this evening, a statement of fact. Nevertheless, the bartender/owner scolded her, telling her to watch her language as the place was filled with pilgrims. There were plenty of locals, too.

The lady came and stood by us at the bar. She then proceeded to tell us she was from Mansilla and had walked here in the cold for her evening cup of coffee. What followed was a great conversation in which Ms. Sofia gave us 3 valuable lessons:

  1. The proper use of the Spanish cuss word, *****. She said she seldom uses the word, but it’s just an expression, an exclamation (like when it’s cold outside, I get it).
  2. All people – including all races, nationalities, ethnicities, and religions are worthy of respect because they are human beings. The only exception, according to her, was Vladimir Putin. He, according to her, is an **** de ****.
  3. On the proper use of Buen Camino. She rightly claimed that pilgrims usually just say Buen Camino to other pilgrims, but she argued they should say it to everyone they encounter because everyone is going somewhere. She said it makes her smile when someone says it to her.

In my Socratic conversational style, I asked her if I should say Buen Camino to Vladimir Putin should I encounter him along the Way. She thought for a moment, and answered,

“Sí. ¡Buen camino directo al infierno!” (Yes, have a good walk straight to hell!)

She laughed, finished her coffee, posed for a couple of selfies, hugged us, wished us a Buen Camino, and left out into the cold.


It was fun interaction. ¡Gracias y buen camino, Sofia!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s