Camino de Santiago – Castrojeriz to Boadilla del Camino to Carrion de los Condes

Castrojeriz to Boadilla del Camino

A 19km day that started off quite cool with light drizzle. The first obstacle for the day was a very steep non-stop ascent up the hill. Did I happen to mention it was steep? Managed the 2.1kms in just under 30mins so was pretty chuffed at that.

 

There was also a steep-ish descent on the other side. Then is was a long path to a rest area, on the road for a short while and across the very pretty rio Pisuerga into San Nicolas for brunch and a rest before tackling the last 7kms. Continue reading “Camino de Santiago – Castrojeriz to Boadilla del Camino to Carrion de los Condes”

Camino de Santiago – Burgos to Hornillos to Castrojeriz

Burgos to Hornillos

Yet another stinking hot day of 21kms. Christian has described an Aussie couple he’d met and as I was walking out of Burgos I was standing at the traffic lights and heard an Australian couple talking. I turned to them and said ‘You wouldn’t happen to be David and Sioux, would you.’ They were dumbfounded and I eventually had to tell them how I worked out who they were.

The walking into Tardajos was good but after that it become very hot and dusty. Stopped at a lovely little church – Santa Mariña y Santiago – just out of Rabe de las Calzadas but really struggled with the heat after that. There was a beautiful tree lined picnic spot at Fuente de Praotorre where I ripped of the shoes and socks and laid down on a bench for a while. I figure if people go to the effort of building a picnic area or putting park benches around the place then it would be remiss of me not to make use of them. Changed into fresh socks, which the feet seemed to like and then took off again for the last few kms. A slight uphill and then a descent that is called the Mule-Killer because it’s fairly steep and large pebbles and obviously even mule have difficulty on it.

Continue reading “Camino de Santiago – Burgos to Hornillos to Castrojeriz”

Camino de Santiago – Atapuerca to Burgos & Rest Day

Again, another hot day so started just before sunrise with a 2.1km uphill. Made it up in 45mins and had to pick our way over rocks to get there.

     

This is where we came from

It was very pretty at the top with a simple cross.

Got talking to Christian (German) at the top and we ended up walking together for the rest of the day until just before Burgos. We walked well together and kept up a pretty fast pace for most of the day, which is unusual for me.

We got stopped by a cyclist as we were walking the airport perimeter, who spoke no English, but wanted to tell us that after the next town, the path splits and you either go through the industrial area or via the park. A little Spanish goes a long way and I managed to work out what he was saying and his directions. I even got hugs and the double cheek kisses from him. 🙂

The park was lovely, sheltered and cool-ish but it was never ending. Managed to eventually find a picnic spot and Christian introduced me to Janet (NZ/Aust) and Helen (UK). This park went for about 8kms and was mostly bitumen paths so the feet were starting to ache. The closer we got to Burgos the busier it got, everyone was exercising, cycling, meandering and I couldn’t work out why there were so many people about, until it realised it was Saturday.

Finally found the hotel which has views of the cathedral…..like looking directly at the cathedral. This is me sitting on my bed looking out the window.

 

My first thought was that I hoped the bells didn’t ring every hour and thankfully they don’t. Burgos has dozens of churches and being Saturday there were plenty of weddings happening, I saw at least 5 over the course of a few hours. They are big confetti and coloured rice throwers (and they don’t seem too gentle with rice either).

Being in a city again, I went to the laundromat….oh yay. I could have got the hotel to do it but at 40€ ($60) I thought the 8€ was much better.

Saturday night in Spain and everyone is out and about. It’s a very pretty city and I must say the guys seem to be very chivalrous and quite smart dressers. Pity I could say the same about myself.

Had a nice sleep in and a lazy morning.  Rest days are somewhat difficult because you just want to rest but you still want to see the city you are in. 

Burgos has a little red tourist train which is kind of like a hop-on hop-off bus except that once you are on, you can’t hop-off and it’s a train although it’s not really, so it’s nothing like it really.  I felt like a right dork doing the train ride but I got to see a lot of sites that I could not have been bothered walking to.  I did learn that Burgos was built lengthways so the Camino runs through the entire city.

After the train, I did the cathedral which was amazing.  Included in the price is an audio-guide which is just information overload.  I would love it if they had an abridged version, just give me the cliff-notes and I’m happy.  I get to the point where I just can’t listen anymore.  So I’ve given up on the guide and am winging it and decide I just want to get off my feet but to get out, you’ve then got to go through a very long museum section which went on and on and I knew there was a still a gift shop to content with.  Made it out eventually and crawled back to my hotel.

      

       

    

Camino de Santiago – Villafranca to Atapuerca

Can’t believe it took me 3.5 hours to walk 11.5kms, that’s terrible. But then the first 4.1kms were all uphill. The hotel was halfway up a very steep hill, so as soon as you walked out the door, it was straight into it. Nothing like a morning heart starter. I realise that hills are part of the equation but a little bit of time to warm up and get the muscles loose would be nice. So this initial part of the climb was particularly hard….and it was pretty steep but it did eventually ease off.  This is what we had walked up.

Got to the monument at the top of the hill and it’s all imaginary high fives and ‘yeah, all good,’ then walk about 30 metres and it’s like ‘Ohhhhh shiiiit!’

Truth, it was a bit of an optical illusion and the ascent wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked…..thank goodness.

Walking through a pine forest was nice for a while but got a boring and I somehow managed to end up walking totally on my own. Couldn’t see anyone in front or behind me. That starts to freak you out after a while and you start to wonder if you’ve somehow missed a marker and taken a wrong turn. So you start looking for shoe prints, which are not so easy to find if the terrain is rocky. If there are still doubts, look for the obvious places to pee because the grubby girls leave toilet paper behind (I have a ziplock bag for mine and take it with me) which means that pilgrims have passed this way. Always a relief to see, so thanks grubby girls.

I know there aren’t pine trees but it was taken in the same area.

Another hot day today and I got the town of Atapuerca and had another 2.5kms to go to my hotel in the town of Olmos de Atapuerca and it was all on bitumen…oh joy. I was absolutely stuffed when I got there and was hunting round for the hotel and couldn’t find it. There was a couple of ladies sitting outside a bar having a drink and I stopped and asked if they knew where it was. One of them tells me it’s back in Atapuerca 2.5kms back up the road and I said no, my details tell me it’s here. I got the idea that she was saying she lives in Atapuerca and it’s definitely there. She tells me to sit down, buys me a drink and that she will drive me there. So it turns out that not only was the hotel in Atapuerca but she worked at the hotel. She is my Camino Angel because there was no way I could have walked back. And I’m going to have words with the Travel Agent about the instructions on that one.

And then, I open my backpack and realise I’ve left my power adapter back in Villafranca. So I ring the hotel and they claim all innocence but I had been charging stuff that morning so I knew it was there (bloody light fingered housekeeping staff), so until I could get my hands on another one I can’t use the laptop, charge my phone, download photos, do my blog, charge camera batteries, charge my ipod….zip, zilch, nada. It was one of those rare mornings where I actually went to check the room again and thought better of it. In all my travels, I’ve never left anything behind, so next time I will listen to my hunches. By the way Jade, thanks for lending me your adaptor…..it was great while it lasted (yes, I will replace it and it was handing being a double).

 

 

Camino de Santiago – Santo Domingo to Belorado to Villafranca Montes de Oca

Santo Domingo to Belorado

A couple of shots coming out of Santo Domingo this morning.

     

Misplaced myself a little bit on the way out of town this morning. As soon as you stop seeing the way-markers you know you are off course. I knew I wasn’t far off and was lucky enough to just walk over a couple of streets and pick the markers up again. Today was a gradual uphill and I walked with Dave (USA) for a while into Grañon, where I sat for longer than planned but happened to meet Caroline (USA) and we walked together to the next town, where I stopped briefly and she kept going. Caught up with her again when we both stopped for lunch and walked together again for a while. It’s amazing how fast the kms go when you are walking and talking with someone.

Today was 23kms, it was bloody hot, it was dry, it was dusty, it was mostly on bitumen, it was right next to the highway and it was 50 Shades of Brown. The beauty of being beside the highway was that when trucks and semi’s went past they created a breeze.

As far as scenery goes, it was probably the most boring day. But having just bitched about it, it was still a really good day. I walked 23kms, the last 4 kms sucked, as always, I chatted to lots of people (although they are all moving ahead of me) and I felt strong in my walking.

        

Belorado has some beautifully painted buildings and stacks of murals.

 

Belorado to Villafranca Montes de Oca

Only 12.7kms today…..piece of cake. Well, that’s what I thought. Gradual uphill for most of the day but nothing too hard, should be easy. The Camino has a funny way of teaching one lessons….especially when one gets cocky about a short day. I struggled every bloody step of the way. I ran into Dave again when I stopped for second breakfast (or early lunch) at the halfway mark and I got the impression he wanted to walk with me but I was struggling too much and made my excuses.

While walking with someone makes the kms and the time pass much quicker, I’m more than happy to walk on my (or with someone) in silence. I spend so much time on my own, I’m used to the quiet, although sometimes in my head it’s quite noisy.. So, I guess that begs the question, “what do I think about?”. Well, I write my blogs in my head and then can’t remember a word of it when it comes to actually typing it out. I try not to think about how much my feet hurt. When I’m really flagging and need help, I drag out the ipod and listen to my walking tunes (they are mostly high energy tunes) and hope I can pick up the pace a bit. I quite often wonder why I’m doing this.

Someone asked me what I do for my feet. The brutally honest answer is nothing. In the last week, I’ve started taking my shoes and socks off whenever I stop for a break, to let my feet air out. But I don’t do a thing to them, other than try and rest them.

The villages we are passing through are so incredibly old. It’s really hard to fathom that they’ve been here for centuries. Mind you a lot of these buildings are just about falling down but still. It’s so hard to get your head around the age of these buildings some are nearly 1000 years old. And I’ve walked down roads that the Romans built….people in togas have walked these roads, millions of pilgrims have walked these roads. It is all very mind-boggling.

   

   

   

 

 

Camino de Santiago – Navarrette to Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Navarrette to Najera

My apologies for being off the grid for a while but I received some very distressing news from home last Monday. While things are looking much more hopeful now, we aren’t out of the woods yet. Thankfully, my sister, Jen, has no concept of an early night and I Skype with her almost daily to to keep informed of what’s happening.

Consequently, I don’t remember much of that day’s walk, only what I happened to write during my lunch break.

The day wasn’t off to a good start with a pretty crappy breakfast that wasn’t served until 8am. Normally it’s a buffet, although once it was pre-laid out at each table (not a massive fan of pre-toasted toast that’s gone cold) but this breakfast was dished out as each person arrived – inch thick toast and barely tepid tea…..oh yum. Breakfast is normally between 7am and 7.30am as most people like to be walking early, so 8am is late. Bit of a hill today but wasn’t as bad as expected.

I do know that in a town with a monastery, a cathedral and a church when I was looking for some spiritual guidance, nothing was open.  

We did have to traverse these charming rocks for way too long today.

These are some shots of the scenery today.

   

 

Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada

With a headache and not much sleep from the previous night, I wasn’t sure if I’d be up for a hot 22km day. I decided to lop-off the first 5kms and catch a taxi to the first town of Azofra and walk from there. Today’s obstacle was a long ascent and one big hill. I’m not the most zippy of walkers, but put hills in my way and I slow to a crawl but I’d managed to find a rhythm and I powered up the first third of this hill. Feet going, breathing going, I’m passing people….not something that usually happens on the flat, unheard of on a hill…..mind you some of those people were having full-on conversations and I’m just struggling to breathe but I passed them. And then I had to stop as I was dying of thirst and crawled up the rest of the hill.

The scenery changed a lot today, we are starting to move from the greener vineyards and getting into open farmlands.

This is the path we took today.  Not the bunch of ants on the right are actually a whole host of pilgrims.

Walking through the town of Cirueña was weird. It was like a modern ghost town. A massive golf course with BMW’s, Mercedes and Audi’s out the front, new apartments blocks everywhere and besides one very old man walking down the street, there wasn’t a soul to be seen, not even a car driving past. Some of the houses were obviously lived in, there was washing the balcony and pot plants that were alive but this very new town was deserted, with lots of for sale signs up.

The last 6kms was meant to be downhill but it was more undulating, which is another term for hills. The last few kms still hurt. My legs are happy to keep going but the soles of my feet throb.

Surprisingly today, the cathedral was open, although it’s more of a museum. I was walking around and could hear a rooster crowing and assumed it was outside. As I kept walking and the rooster kept crowing I was quite convinced that it was inside the cathedral. And sure enough, there’s a cage up high with a chicken and a rooster. I’d forgotten it at the time, but there is a story to go with the roosters (click this link if you are interested in reading it) however, I’m still surprised they are in the church.

 

      

Logrono to Navarrette

         

Awesome morning.  I hand fed a ‘wild’ squirrel.  Totally amazing.  I think squirrels are the cutest and as I walked into a park just out of Logrono, there were a few guys looking at something on a tree.  Being the nosy bugger that I am, I wandered over and it was a squirrel, so I’m all excited because they are so cute and I’m taking photos and going a bit nuts and the Spanish guy gives me some almonds to give to the squirrel and they took them straight out of my hand……how cool.  It’s a bit of a snatch, grab and run on the squirrels behalf but who cares…it was awesome.  Many squirrel photos to follow. Continue reading “Logrono to Navarrette”

Viana to Logrono & Rest Day

    

Firstly, now that I’ve nearly caught up with the blogs, I want to thank everyone who has left comments on posts, facebook and the wonderful email I got from my niece, Amanda.  It’s always great to hear from people and know what’s happening in the world. I’d love to reply to everyone but that’s probably not going to happen but that doesn’t mean you can stop  ;p

Viana to Logrono was only about 12kms.  I left at my usual time of 8am but everyone was either having a lazy morning or had left early and was heading through to Navarette so I had the path pretty much to myself.  I was mostly on bitumen Continue reading “Viana to Logrono & Rest Day”

Puenta la Reina to Estella (Trip 8 / Camino 5)

Hard, hard day. 24.6 kms. The morning was lovely and the bridge was impressive. Puenta la Reina means Bridge of the Queen. It was one of those clear sunny days in the high 20’s and it got warm quickly. There were going to be 3 hills but I’m always left wondering if what I call a hill is the same as what the guidebook calls a hill, so I have to ask are there really like 7 hills today. There was no doubt about the first hill Continue reading “Puenta la Reina to Estella (Trip 8 / Camino 5)”