Camino de Santiago

Day 32 on the Camino De Santiago: Mazarife to Santibanez

From a nearby house there’s the clinking  of someone handwashing lunch dishes. A latch closes with a clunk, followed by an uneven footfall – an older man leaning heavily on his cane pauses to smile and wish us Buen Camino before taking his constitutional. This is the quiet of Sunday afternoon in rural Spain. Even the dogs are silent.

Our walk today by contrast has been a noisy affair. 

St James, looking peacefully contemplative, in Mazarife

We’ve encountered several large groups – up to twenty people walking together. In the silence of the country-side their  voices carry a long way.  And they have a lot to say to each other. I wonder whether they’ve joined the Camino in Leon – those who’ve been walking a while are usually quieter. 

Medieval bridge in Hospital de Orbigo

An oasis of quiet -fly fishers below the bridge


Other pilgrims sing as they walk(!), many are plugged into their phones listening to music, even audio books; and then there are those who have their music playing for all to enjoy. 

When falling back to let the noisy ones pass me by didn’t work, I brought out my old turbo-charged booster rocket. It’s nice to know that after all these weeks of walking it’s still there when I need it.

Some found a quiet lunch stop in Villares de Orbigo

The only problem is that while turbo charging past a noisy group solved that problem, it was only a few minutes before I’d have to bring it out again.  Clearly, it won’t be a long term solution.

Way marker on the approach to Santibanez – could be all uphill from here!


Tonight’s albergue is crowded, too. And noisy. It’s the only one open in this small town. Even the locals who were sitting at the bar enjoying a quiet Sunday drink disappeared as the pilgrim numbers swelled,

This might be the way of things from here. The Meseta is behind us, ahead are the crowds of Sarria to Santiago.

For now we’ve found an oasis of quiet – a bench seat in the shade – on the edge of the village. 

Garden opposite the bench seat we’ve temporarily purloined

Tomorrow, we’re walking to Astorga. It’s half our usual distance. According to the guidebook it’s an attractive town which has been an important stopping place on the Camino for centuries. It’s likely our last opportunity to replace our poles before we hit the mountains.

8 replies »

  1. Ooo…I’ve just come back from doing the last 160 km and it looks to me that you are going over much tougher terrain…so more power to your elbow…or maybe feet. When I encountered noisy groups of particular nationalities, I began to think I didn’t like that particularly inconsiderate nationality…but it fact it was the groups…I think all groups anywhere are too busy talking to realise they are noisy….

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  2. I’m sorry about the noisy crowds. I wonder if those people are just with a tour group trying to cross something off their list. It doesn’t seem they’re experiencing the true spirit of the Camino. Or is that true spirit a myth?

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  3. I find it very annoying when I’m walking in the bush and encounter rowdy groups, the voices do carry. I hope you find some walking poles, I thought you may have decided to do without them.

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  4. Still that amazing cornflower blue sky! Shame about the noisy folk, I suppose some people just walk a section on a weekend and see it as a social time. Good luck with the mountains. I hope the weather remains good for you.

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  5. When I passed that bridge, several fishermen there too. I wonder what kind of species would get landed there ?. Indeed prepare yourself for the swell in numbers when you get to Sarria……fab to see blue skies continuing

    Liked by 1 person

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