Friday 1 September 2023 – Nice as it might have been to stay on in Burgos, it was nice to get on the road this morning in the knowledge that it would be almost impossible for our next accommodation to feature a more uncomfortable bed. So it was that at 0740 we started our journey westward through the outskirts of the city. More street art of various sorts entertained us as we passed. Take note of the first one. There Will Be A Quiz later.
The pilgrim statues were annotated “Anno Jacobeo 2021”. This refers to Holy Years, when St. James’ Day falls on a Sunday, and the last time this happened was, you guessed it, 2021.
We passed some handsome buildings which were part of the (practically ubiquitous hereabouts) University of Burgos,
the Ermita de San Amaro,
and another Rollo
before we reached the edge of the city and headed out into open country.
After a few kilometres along this path, we came to our first village, Tardajos, which has another Rollo,
several attractive buildings
and, more importantly, a coffee stop
which, being the first since Burgos, was very popular. After a quick coffee we moved on in order to let others on to our seats, only to come within the next couple of kiometres to the next vilage, Rabe, also an attractive place
featuring a nice line in murals
and another coffee stop, where I also treated myself to a beer, even though it was only just after 11am. I don’t know whether it’s placebo, alcohol or the well-known electrolyte richness of beer, but even though the day quite quickly got quite hot, I found myself really relishing walking along. I shall have to experiment more.
At the Rabe coffee stop we got chatting to a German couple whom we had seen several times over the previous days, and are therefore, I suppose, part of our new “Camino family”. They are walking through to Santiago, but their end date is 23rd September, over a week sooner than ours, so I suppose they will soon be taking on longer stages and we will lose even this ephemeral contact.
From Rabe, thus for the last half of the walk, we followed a path through pleasant, but largely unvarying countryside (something that I expect will be a feature of the coming days).
We did have the pleasure of passing some fields of sunflowers that were actually in bloom,
a wind farm
and, at the top of a long but gentle climb, the high point of the day, at least geographically.
If you look carefully at the top of the cairn, you can see a single, laceless, left-hand leather boot (clearly imported from a British river bank somewhere)*
From that mirador we could see our destination, Hornillos del Camino.
The gentle climb led to quite a sharp descent, which obviously provided a test for at least one person’s knees, or quads or something.
They say that walking backwards is good for balance and co-ordination, but I am yet to be convinced about its suitability here. We were also passed by someone who was clearly A Bit Of A Character, with his dog, Pepper
and then we reached Hornillos,
where we saw this possibly encouraging sign.
Mind you, we’d passed an official waymark post some four hours earlier which told us that we had 501 km to go. For people of our relatively advanced years, we don’t hang about, but we couldn’t walk 32km in four hours.
Our accommodation is at one end of the village, which is small, but, compared to San Juan de Ortega, is positively a metropolis, having several albergues, two bars, a restaurant and a shop, all contained within the 500 metres that it spans from end to end.
The manager of the De Sol a Sol, Samuel, made us welcome and explained the setup there. It’s simple but we found extra pillows so it’s pretty certain to be more comfortable than the Nortes y Londres in Burgos. There are some great portraits on the walls.
Here’s the quiz I mentioned earlier…
Recognise the middle one? It turns out that Samuel’s brother, a professional photographer, lives above that Burgos garage.
It was around 1pm when we arrived, which gave us time to explore the village and work out that we could lunch at the restaurant at around 3pm, which suited us nicely. Getting back to the hotel and being able to make ourselves a nice cup of Twining’s Finest Earl Grey also suited us very well. Eventually, refreshed, changed and ready for lunch, we made our way to Origen, that restaurant at the far end of the village, where we had a slightly eccentric but charmingly served lunch.
Note the gear at the far end. Those eating there this evening will have live music, the lucky people!
We walked back through what is a nicely-kept village
to the hotel, where we could relax for the rest of the day, with more tea.
The stats, then. The 21.5km we covered today brings the total to 301.8 – just over 187 miles. If the total length of the Camino is 780km, then the inference is that we have about 480 to go, which rather lends credence to that official distance rather than what the shop sign said.
We had lovely weather today, but the outlook for tomorrow is a lot less certain. It will be cooler (nice) but with rain currently forecast for the afternoon (not so nice). We’re hoping a prompt start will get us to our destination, Castrojeriz, some 21km away, before the rains come. Tune in soon to find out if we avoided a soaking, won’t you?
” This is a reference to a song called “The Bedstead Men” by Flanders and Swann