Tag Archives: Hornillos del Camino

Camino Day 16 – Hornillos del Camino to Castrojeriz. A grey day turned golden evening

Saturday 2 September 2023 – As we retired after yesterday’s lovely sunny day, the prospect of rain seemed distant.  At 0430, with the rain stuttering down on the velux in our room, less so. It was clear we were in for a Wet One. The forecast included high winds and storms, but not starting until later in the day, so we hoped that by leaving reasonably promptly we would reach Castrojeriz and that le déluge would be après nous.

If you’d like just to see the summary and some photos, you can watch the Relive video. Otherwise, read on….

Accordingly, at 0740 we donned rain jackets for us and rain covers for our backpacks and set out.

It was raining, but not heavily or unpleasantly; and it was quite cool.  We had a long, steady but not too steep climb for about 3km until we reached a plain, across which the wind fair whistled.

It became clear that wind was, indeed, the third crop of the area alongside wheat and sunflowers. The wind accompanied us for the whole of the first half of the walk, together with brief and fairly light rain showers, as we crossed this plain, being overtaken by someone who was slightly better equipped than us for the conditions

being, apart from anything else, under sail. His heading along the path was approximately a broad reach, which anyone familiar with sailing will know is the fastest bearing.

The scenery over the plain was pretty much unvarying and devoid of many photography-worthy instants, so I was reduced to trying to find interesting studies of the ubiquitous wind farms

and generally making the most of thin gruel, photographically speaking.

A cross

More crosses

Maltese Cross

At least we have less than 500km to go

We passed an isolated albergue, San Bol, which is in the middle of nowhere and apparently a really sought-after stop on the Camino, presumably for people who like to Get Away From It All,

and it turned out that it was just as well that we hadn’t planned to stop at the first coffee bar indicated on the map.

However, the second possible coffee stop, at Hontanas (the only village on the route) turned out to be a goer. The village is in a valley,

which gave us a rest both from the relentless wind and the sameness of the landscape.

The rest of the walk was in more sheltered conditions and led past some noteworthy landmarks.  First up was a ruined tower

and this was followed shortly after by a ruined convent, the convent of San Anton, which is altogether a more dramatic affair.

It was owned by a community of monks of the little-known Hospital Brothers of Saint Anthony, or Antonines, a Roman Catholic congregation founded in the late 11th century, with the purpose of caring for those suffering from the common medieval disease of ergotism, or Saint Anthony’s fire.

I particularly like what they’ve done to disguise the water tank and the vending machine.

Very shortly after leaving the convent ruins we caught our first sight of Castrojeriz, with its hilltop castle and the Museum of the former Collegiate Church of Santa María del Manzano seen on the right-hand side of the picture.

The collegiate museum is a substantial building

with an important collection of cultural and religious artefacts and an imposing interior.

There is some early printed music, which I find particularly interesting to see.

And then we were in Castrojeriz, a sizeable and, for the most part, handsome town.

The cross on the left, above, is a Tau Cross, which was a variant of the traditional version adopted by the Antonines.

Our accommodation is the delightful Emebed Posada, located on the Plaza Mayor. We were welcomed by the charming Margarita, who let us check in despite the fact that we were early, showed us around and provided the makings of a Nice Cup Of Tea, which was extremely welcome. The hotel is a refurbished 19th-century lord’s house, and has some original furnishings and a lovely lounge with a spectacular view, where I currently sit writing this.

Margarita also recommended a local restaurant for lunch, based in a hotel, El Mesón de Castrojeriz. We got there and it was clearly very full.

We actually arrived at the same time as moaning Minnie and a compatriot, and somehow or other managed to simultaneously (a) avoid having to talk to them and (b) score a table to ourselves in an overflow area, where we were served a Nice Lunch with excellent and brisk service.  We’ve been very well looked after everywhere here; it’s-a nice-a place. The promised storms didn’t materialise and it turned into a lovely golden evening.

Here’s the stats update.  Today was 21.6km, bringing the total to 323.4km – 201 miles. Crikey!

Tomorrow we have a slightly shorter walk of about 19km, to Boadilla del Camino.  It looks rather as if it will be somewhat tougher going than today; once again the weather is forecast to be pretty rough tomorrow afternoon, so we hope to get there before we get a soaking. Poles out, rain jackets at the ready! Check back to see how we got on, won’t you?



Camino Day 15 – Burgos to Hornillos del Camino. Back on the road.

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.

“Matamulos” means “Mule Slayer”, by the way. I assume that’s for the poor mules who had to navigate this the opposite way to us – much steeper

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