As I write these Camino Flashbacks, a longing for the road wraps a tight fist around my heart. I now understand why the first Camino is rarely the last.
Day 14 – Burgos to Tardajos
Ten kilometers from Burgos, we reached Tardajos. I sat at a café, and I informed Marghereta that I was going no further. It was barely 9:30 am, and yet my body had reached its limit. A nice hostel opened later in the day. I’d stay there.
I sat in the same coffee shop until 1 pm. Pilgrims ambled through. Some I hadn’t seen in a while, and it was pleasant to have a quick chat without feeling the need to rush away. One of my favourite couples, Neil and Tatiana, arrived and decided they’d also stay the night.
When the hostel slid open its large metal gate, I was pleased to see a protected courtyard. The wind had been brutal. Even better? The food turned out to be amazing.
As I pushed open the door to the dorm, things got even more amazing. There were only three beds in it! From the window, open fields, as far as the eye could see. And a private bathroom with packets of shampoo and shower gel – an unexpected luxury. I decided to stay an extra day and rest.
Day 15 – to Hontanas
It was pouring when I left the hostel two days later, but I didn’t care. The rest had done me good, and I was anxious to get going. The rain soon stopped, but the dark clouds kept rolling their way around the edges of the horizon, threatening to dump more precipitation on us.
I’m not sure why, but as you can see from the photo below, the colours were particularly intense that day. I noticed this on a few other days, too.
As if out of nowhere, the steeple of the Hontanas church appeared from a dip in the landscape. Most of the small towns were in hollows like this one.
I was no longer wearing shorts. The weather was cool and the sun absent.
Day 16 – to Boadilla del Camino
The historic Camino passed through the archway of the Convento de San Antón. No one knows the purpose of this. Except for an albergue, most of the buildings were unused.
After passing through the small city of Castrojeriz (see cover photo), we climbed the Alto de Mostelares. The up part wasn’t bad, but the down was rough on the knees.
Boadilla del Camino had three pilgrim albergues. Two were closed. Good thing the open one was nice. It was six kilometers to the next town, and I’d already done over 29. The views were fabulous.
I was glad to arrive early in the day. Some pilgrims were later turned away due to lack of space. I felt badly for them. It was cold and dark by then.
Day 17 – to Carrión de los Condes
The next morning, it was even colder and super black out. I wanted to leave early but didn’t have a head lamp. So I waited for someone I knew to leave and took photos, like the one below.
Anna-Lise, a young pilgrim I’d met the day before, was out the door ten minutes or so after me. I asked if I could tag along. She had no problem finding her way out-of-town.
Another pilgrim later told me it had taken her a good half hour to find the right road. The town only had about six streets, but there were a few different arrows, and it was confusing.
It wasn’t that unusual to see fake yellow arrows on rocks, the road or sides of buildings. Business owners and even towns sometimes added a few to divert the traffic. They were effective; a number of pilgrims had been taken in. One young man told me he’d walked an extra five kilometers one day because he’d followed an arrow to a town.
Carrión de los Condes was one of the towns visible in the distance. Seeing them, far off like this, was like an oasis one never quite reaches. It made it difficult mentally to keep walking, and those last two or three kilometers took forever.
Camino de Santiago Forum – the most extensive Camino resource out there.
Johnnie Walker – Good for Camino and other long-distance trails.