Homer's Travels: Camino 2013 - Day 12: Villamayor De Monjardín To Torres Del Rio

Monday, December 02, 2013

Camino 2013 - Day 12: Villamayor De Monjardín To Torres Del Rio

All the older pilgrims decided to get up before 6:30AM - a whole hour before the break of dawn.  I got my stuff together and went down to the kitchen area and ate a small breakfast of muffins, toast, and orange juice.

It was still dark when we left the albergue shortly after 7:00AM.  I didn't like leaving in the dark but I didn't like waiting around the albergue either.  Fortunately the trail was relatively easy to follow out of town.  I might have pulled out my little LED flashlight for some parts of the trail to make sure we didn't miss an arrow.

Villamayor de Monjardín and Azqueta in the early morning light.
The sun came up twenty minutes after we left and the clouds cleared out and we had a very nice day for walking.  We passed by mowed hay fields and fields of grapes nearly ready for picking.  Last Camino this stretch had felt hot and long.  This time we were walking a shorter stage and it wasn't nearly as bad.  On the way between Los Arcos and Sansol we were passed by a pilgrim on a custom unicycle.  It had handle bars and a larger than normal wheel.  It was pretty cool but you could see he was struggling in the stiff breeze we were walking in today.

We passed by a herdsman who practiced his English on me and others as we passed by this flock of sheep and goats.

Goats and sheep grazing along the Camino.
In Sansol I saw a sign the Camino was adapting to the larger volume of pilgrims.  When I went through here last time the albergue was closed and the town felt like a ghost town.  This time the albergue was reopened, there was a pharmacy, and a bar/store was full of pilgrims.  I would imagine the pilgrims are a good source of income for cash strapped Spain.

Not far from Sansol was our destination, Torres del Rio.  Torres del Rio was the first repeat stop on this Camino (i.e. someplace where I'd stopped on my 2011 Camino).  We skipped the municipal albergue this time.  It was a nice albergue but we wanted to change it up a bit.  We also skipped the new albergue figuring that would be where the older crowd would likely go.  We ended up in a private albergue (Casa Mari) run by a nice elderly lady.

I got ready to take my shower and I found a blister on my left heel.  I never got heal blisters last Camino and I assume it was because my heel was moving up and down in the the low top shoes I was wearing.  It hadn't popped so I decided not to do anything with it.  This would probably be a bad idea - it would get worse over the next few days.

We did our chores and, after putting our clothes in the washer, headed back to the municipal albergue to see who was there.  We sat at a table outside with Mt.  Other people we'd met while walking were there as well.  In, a landscape artist/architect from New York.  Ls, a young girl from Vienna, Austria who had started walking from Geneva, Switzerland.  La, a very funny Canadian lady walking with her sister.  Everyone had there own little Camino family with them.  That is another change we saw this time.  All the Camino families were small - two to four people - nothing like the ten to fifteen we had last time.

A cute resident of Torres del Rio.
We were sitting in the sun enjoying our drinks and conversation when in came the whirlwind.  He was the Texan.  He was the stereotypical loud, obnoxious American.  You could hear him coming from a distance.  During the time he sat with us we heard his whole life story.  We learned early on that he was a proud Republican.  We learned about him making and loosing fortunes.  We heard about how he live in Panama and Colombia but never learned to speak Spanish (he kept mispronouncing the names of towns and would refuse to listen when people tried to correct him).  We learned about his Colombian wife who married ... and remarried ... him for his money, not his looks.  We heard about how he walked ten miles everyday back home and how he could outwalk everyone at the table.  We learned how he was racing an Irishman even though he said the Camino wasn't a race.  We learned about his heart attacks and his new heart valve.  We learned how he convinced his heart valve manufacturer to sponsor his Camino.  We learned all this multiple times in the first hour.

When the Texan stated to repeat his story for the fourth or fifth time I'd had enough.  I interrupted him and started telling him his life story.  I nearly repeated it word for word.  When I stopped to take a breath someone else at the table jumped in and continued the story without missing a beat.  The Texan shut up.

Soon after that the group dispersed with a promise to get together for dinner later that night.  Gv and I went back to the albergue to take our laundry out of the washer.  When we got there the machine was empty.  We ran around looking for our clothes.  When we finally found them, they were hanging on a line.  We collected some of our dry stuff and Gfound one of her socks missing.  Socks are very important on the Camino.  She was a bit bummed when she couldn't find it.  We were on our bunks when the hospitalera came in and said she had dropped a sock when they were being hung and she was rewashing it since it fell in the dirt.  Gv was relieved.  We thanked the hospitalera for hanging our clothes for us.

We shared our room in the albergue with the Korean couple.  The Korean wife was still not very happy with her husband and was definitely not enjoying the Camino.  Despite this she had a smile on her face and she was nice to talk with.  She was proud of her grown children back home.

That evening we met at the municipal albergue and decided as a group to go to the restaurant connected to the new albergue in town.  Most of the group went to one large table while Gv, Mt, Nr, and I took a smaller table nearby.  We'd taken the smaller table to distance ourselves from the Texan who was with the larger group.  We were perusing the menu when everyone from the other table got up and left (the Texan, without making a sound apparently, had left a few minutes earlier unnoticed).  Later we would find that the waitress had been overwhelmed by the large group and had gotten snippy.  They decided not to put up with her snippyness and went to another restaurant in the town.  We ended up having a good enough meal - a middle of the pack meal I would say.

After dinner Ntold us she was going to leave the Frances and head to the Camino del Norte (Mwas leaving for home at the next big town because he had less time).  The Frances was turning out to be a bit too crowded for her and, since she had done the Camino just last year in 2012, it was too familiar and not new enough.  We agreed to meet each other in front of the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela at noon on the 22nd of October.  Looking back using twenty-twenty hindsight, Gv and I should have gone with her.  It just didn't occur to me at the time.

Pictures can be found in my 2013 Camino de Santiago Google Photos album.

Total Distance on Day 12: 19 km ( 11.79 Miles)
Total Distance Walked: 262 km (162.78 Miles)

Approximate Track of the day's hike.
[Click on map for a larger version]


  1. Bruce...that is so weird. I met the same Texan on the Camino in October, 2013...2 days before Santiago. He must have turned around and walked the Camino again if you met him in December.

    1. Darlene: I actually walked in September and October 2013. His name was Ken. Probably the same guy - he was hard to miss. I posted about my Camino after I returned home.