DAY 7 June 1 2015 El Burgo Ranero to Mansilla de las Mulas (20 km)

Our lodging last night was one of the best we have experienced. It was in a small, family run, rural pension—well appointed (TUB), very clean, with home cooking and the most considerate posadero. We slept well and did not hear the frogs.😊
Today we once again followed the path across the plains. It was 29 C with no breeze until mid afternoon. However, the overcast skies helped lessen the heat. The government has planted London Plane trees along the way but they are not yet mature enough to provide shade.
Although not difficult, walking across the Meseta is tedious and mind numbing. You feel like you are on a treadmill in the middle of the Canadian prairies.There was only one village to break up the tedium of the landscape and whether you looked ahead or behind the road appeared endless. It was also very dusty—-the backs of our legs were coated almost to our knees with a fine silt—it seeps in everywhere.
The village of Mansilla de Las Mulas is a walled village built in the Middle Ages. The name means “hand saddle of the mule” and refers to a famous horse fair that used to be held here. On entering we took a wrong turn and found ourselves face to face with a sweet little donkey (or mule)– we are sure he was Martin as he seemed to recognize us😊
We are looking forward to trying the “famous” Mansilla tomatoes. They are said to be medium sized, bright red and very juicy. The story is that the farmers are allowed to only use heritage seeds.
Our room is fine—the decor is antique-eclectic. The religious art adorning the walls is a reminder that the Camino began as a Catholic religious pilgrimage. Fortunately there is only one painting that alarms our Protestant sensibilities.
We are beginning to feel the physical effects of daily long walks. First, we feel very healthy but by day’s end we are weary and both of us have some aches and soreness. It is amazing the therapeutic effect of a hot shower!
Emotionally and spiritually it does not take long for the Camino to embrace willing pilgrims.. It may be something as simple as looking at a flowering weed and seeing the intricacies of Nature’s design; or an exchange of thoughts with another pilgrim who until that moment was a stranger—their words may have been simple but their effect on you may be profound. Each day we are reminded of the wonder of our world and our fellow beings.

Good old 'Martin' - here he was giving us directions once again
Good old ‘Martin’ – here he was giving us directions once again
More on the ancient but so very effective irrigation system later, but here is a modern water tower with greetings to the pilgrams!
More on the ancient but so very effective irrigation system later, but here is a modern water tower with greetings to the pilgrams!
Looking like a miniature blue hollyhock, these weeds bring even more colour to the route. Note the line of plane trees ... There are miles and miles of thers trees, and remarkably, they are ALL WATERED by a watering system!
Looking like a miniature blue hollyhock, these weeds bring even more colour to the route. Note the line of plane trees … There are miles and miles of these trees, and remarkably, they are ALL WATERED by a watering system!
The re intents of a medieval grain storage building made of Adobe
The remains of a medieval grain storage building made of adobe.
We are seeing so much of the result of the economic situation in Spain. Overall unemployment is 25% with the rate for Utah at 51 %
We are seeing so much of the result of the economic situation in Spain. Overall unemployment is 25% with the rate for youth at 51 %
 This picture was to go with the overgrown soccer field.  The message: the small villages are empty save for the few elderly who remain. The only hope in this area: the economic benifit of the Camino. And that is limited to a corridor 1 km or so wide, pilgrams do not want to walk a couple of extra km for a coffee or accommodation.

This picture was to go with the overgrown soccer field. The message: the small villages are empty save for the few elderly who remain. The only hope in this area: the economic benifit of the Camino. That  is limited to a corridor 1 km or so wide, pilgrams do not want to walk a couple of extra km for a coffee or accommodation.
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