Hello all — no mail yesterday because after we walked from Sahagun to El Burgo Ranero (and no, we can’t find anything to confirm that it means city of frogs — one suggested derivation of the name related to granero, or granaries) I got quite sick and we took a taxi to the university hospital in Leon. I spent the night there, and Jim, Regina and Anthea got a room at the very modern hotel associated with the hospital. Diagnosis was stomach upset of unknown origin, but resulting in some bleeding. All seems OK this morning — discharged with prescriptions and instructions to take it easy for a couple of days.
The experience was somewhat different from American hospitals — we hypothesize that there are fewer worries about litigation. I signed one form saying that I agreed to an endoscopy — I could figure out what some, but not all of the fine print, referred to — and added my own note to the effect that I was agreeing, but that no-one had translated this for me. People wore either white or hospital-green scrubs (many American hospitals allow much more choice), and many had colorful Crocs for footwear. The ER cubicles were titled “Box” — I spent most of my time in “Box 15,” with a couple of other people in and out during my stay.
Anthea and Regina translated, of course — they are invaluable, and we give great credit to their high school Spanish teacher, Nina Bonito Romine, and to cousins Rory and Cuchi who hosted Regina in Peru one year and helped hone her speaking skills.
And that’s enough of that digression. What next? We’ll spend at least today and tomorrow in Leon, and see about the future possibilities. We can assure you that we are tired, but seem to be pretty good otherwise.
Sahagun to El Burgo Ranero
We put in a full day walking, about 12 1/2 miles to El Burgo, for Regina’s first day. Good weather — sunny, not too hot, and a breeze along the way. The meseta had a few hills in it, little ones, and most of the paths were lined with trees that some blessed people had planted enough years ago to be shady now.
The moon was still high in the dark sky, near Jupiter, when we got up. The hotel owner made us big plates of toast and butter and jam to start the day, along with plenty of coffee, and we set off following the yellow arrows out of Sahagun.
Our road led across several running rivers, to our surprise — most of the ones we’ve seen in the past few days were dry beds waiting for winter rains to fill them again.
An arch made out of pipe that we thought might be more likely to be seen in Anchorage (Jim and Regina).
Sky over the meseta (taken from the cab on the way to Leon). We got a little rain on the way into Leon — we were happy to be in the cab.
Red poppies along the path.
A welcome roadside cafe, about two-thirds of the way to El Burgo.
A house on the outskirts of El Burgo Ranero with pilgrim motifs and typical (i.e., charming and well-kept) window boxes.
Exotic fruits ripening on a bush. No idea if they’re edible.
Storks’ nests on church on El Brugo Ranero.
Exhausted pilgrims in Box 15, Leon University Hospital.