More Senda on the Way to Mansilla

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The mini-store next to the bar area supplied us with food for the day along with a few items we thought might be helpful. We loaded up and took off for Mansilla. In the early hours, the trail was bleak and cold with a strong wind that lowered the chill factor. For the most part, the rain held off except for a few sprinkles from time to time. Along the way, we encountered some bikers who were stopped while one of their group changed a flat tire. They asked us if we had any wine we could give them — an odd question for the Camino, I thought. We stopped at a rather dismal picnic area and had some nuts and crackers for lunch. This was near the road to Villamarco and well beyond the half-way point of our day. In this place we saw grafitti painted on one of the benches that informed us that we were equal to Nazis!

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In the small hamlet of Reliegos, we came upon the Bar La Torre, colorful inside and out. I stopped to take a picture and Greg went inside to get a Coke Light.  After a second or so, he poked his head out and beckoned me inside.  Every inch of every wall was covered with some type of memorabilia of The Camino.

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Within another hour, we reached Mansilla de las Mulas and quickly found the rather non-descript hotel that would be our resting place. Our host was a rather gruff elderly woman who seemed to not care if we were there or not. She showed us to our room upstairs and then informed us that there was no WiFi whatsoever in the hotel but that there was internet downstairs. This turned out to be a PC hooked up to the internet that cost 2 euros for 5 minutes. I took a shower in the room and went downstairs to get a beer. There was a fellow Spanish pilgrim there watching a tennis match and rooting for Rafael Nadal.  Greg came down and we decided to go foraging for tomorrow’s food. No markets were open, in fact no stores were open — Siesta!  Back in the room, it was too early for our favorite TV game show, so we watched “Evita”, starring Madonna. By now the rain had started, and the room was quite cold. I found a blanket in the armoire and huddled under it and fell asleep for a couple of hours. By the time I awoke, it was time for dinner. Down in the dining room, the same woman was serving the meal. It was then that I noticed that she smelled really bad and this made the meal less appetizing. At a nearby table were the two Irish ladies we had seen along the way several times. They were from Dublin and quite pleasant to talk to. They would be finishing their Camino in Ponferrada, taking a bus from there to Santiago and then home to Ireland. They had already walked from Ponferrada to Santiago and told us of their adventures. After they left to go upstairs, Greg and I figured that there was absolutely nothing to do in this hotel or town, so it was better just to go up to our cold room and get some sleep. We also discussed not walking to Leon the next day, since most of the short way was on hardscape. This was a strong recommendation in the Brierley Guide Book. I was certainly OK with this since it would give my blisters some relief. I had also seen in the guide book that there was a health clinic nearby (Centro Salud). This could be an opportunity to have the “ampollas” looked at by a professional. We decided that we would indeed take the bus to Leon in the morning and I would decide about the Centro Salud at that time.

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