Day 17 ( Terradillos de Los Templarios to El Burgo Ranero -31 km) Today was definitely one of the most challenging days so far. Although we had really been looking forward to the flat stretches, we realized today that flat means absolutely no shade and as such makes for a much more grueling and challenging walk. We walked some 30 kilometers today without shade, along a part of the Camino known as being the "loneliest" part of the Camino. Thank goodness we have each other...right? We had actually planned on stopping at a village at approximately 24 kilometers, however we arrived to find the Albergue closed until 1.30. Rather than wait two hours in the blistering hot sun, we decided we might as well walk 7 more km and make some progres (albeit in the blistering hot sun as well). Days like today really make you feel humble...and at the mercy of the elements. But we made it another day, and are another day closer to our final destination.
Day 16 (Carrion de los Condes to Terradillos de Los Templarios - 25 km) Walking from Carrion de los Condes we faced a 17 km stretch of nothingness. No towns to pass through, no bars, no water, no shade. Just kilometers of land, fields, and tired pilgrims. However, we managed to keep our spirits high, and eventually trailed into Terradillos de Los Templarios...only to realize the Albergue was basically the whole town. Sometimes it is a little frustrating after walking for 6 to 8 hours to find yourself in a town with absolutely nothing other than an Albergue. There is nowhere to eat, to pick up a sandwich (or bocadillo) or any snacks. So you usually end up paying the high prices at the Albergue. However, we are learning to accept the circumstances and are still smiling.
Day 15 (Boadilla to Carrion de los Condes - 26 km) Beautiful day for walking, but incresingly warmer. Pretty flat trail today, nothing too complicated. Flat days are nice welcome breaks from the up and down trails the past few days. Once we arrived in Carrion de los Condes we made our way to one of the Albergues (which actually happened to be a convent still run by nuns). Turned out to be very clean and a nice set up...but not ideal when you have a lot of laundry to do. We hand wash all our clothes and hang them to dry, and usually in a few hours they are dry. Not today. After being out ALL day and then brought in at night (and hung in the hallway) we still woke up to wet wool socks and undergarments. The Camino can be a little challenging at times...in fact, walking long distances sometimes is the easy part. Haha. However, in Carrion de los Condes we bought a 9 euro box of cookies from the local monestery that were to die for. Abolutely incredible little bites of heaven. To be honest, it was probably the best part of the day!