Published: May 5th 2012May 5th 2012
So sorry about the mess we made of the last entry. The computer which we were using was very odd indeed and wouldn´t allow us to edit anything! Link for Matt Tingle and Chris Gascoyne´s fund raiser is
Back to the continuation of the blog. I think we were still walking on the motorway! (under construction!). Anyway we managed to get to Santo Domingo safely albeit footsore after walking 30 Kms. It was a lovely town and Monica decided that we needed to experience a degree of austerity and stay at the Albergue which was run by the Cistercian nuns! It was certainly spartan - no glass in the windows - only mesh and shutters! nevertheless, it was very clean and we didn´t have to sleep in bunk beds! We went to the cathedral in Santo Domingo to get our pilgrim passports stamped and had a look round. There was more of the same heavy, ornate , gilded Baroque style of altar which I continue to find rather oppressive. There were loads of statues, Paintings and church plate. Monica particularly liked the one of St Veronica.
We had a lovely early morning walk to Grañon,where we had breakfast. We then decided that we knew better that the Camino route and decided that the village we could see was the next one on the route but we could see a more direct route! As we approached the village, after about 3 kms, we realised that we were travelling in the wrong direction! We decided to walk into the village and ask for directions to rejoin the Camino. We met a lovely family who were making their farewells to the grandparents before returning to Madrdi after the May holiday. The asked us if we would like something to eat or drink and told us that the only way to rejin the Camino was to retrace our steps! (so much for being clever!!) One of the sons of the old couple offered us a lift back to Grañon so that we could take up our route from there! They asked us to get a blessing for them when we eventually get to Santiago!
We continued on to Belorado, rather more than we had planned for the day (28 kms) but when we reached Villa Mayor, it was such a God-forsaken place we thought that we would die of boredom, hence Belorado. It was a lovely town and we foubd a really nice Albergue run by very camp Fernando, called the Cuatro Cantones. It had its own restaurant and a small swimming pool! Needless to sa the weather in northern Spain is not exactly condusive to swimming in an outdoor pool!. We went to a bar for a wekcome glass of Rioja and saw the French lady again who comes from Sables DÓr Les Pins (we used to spend many holidays there with the girls when they were little). We had an excellent meal in the Albergue´s restaurant that night and sat with a very interesting Japanese gentleman who comes over to Spain for 2 weeks each year to continue the Camino. He was extremely fond of Rioja wine. We got through two bottles, the mjority of which went down his throat!
Thurs May 3rd - Belorado - Villa Franca Montes de Oca
After 2 hefty days of walking, we decided that we would allow 3 days to get to Burgos and try not to tax the aching feet too much! We had a beautiful morning walk and came to Villa Franca where the new albergue is attached to an exclusive hotel. The owner had waklked the Camino and he wanted to give something back and so built the Albergue. All pilgrims are welcome to use thte hotel´s facilities and a pilgim menu for 12 Eur, incuding wine and mineral water, is served in the excellent restaurant. Needless to say, we took full advantage! It was just as well that we finished early that day as we had a huge hail storm in the afternoon and evening. It was here that we tried catching up with the blog but the machine kept playing up!
Fri May 4th - Villa Franca to Atapuerca (20 kms)
Up at 6.15. Had a very good breakfast in the hotel restaurant and set off. I decided (fortunately) that it was time to try out my boots again as the toes seem to have healed well. I was very glad that I was wearing boots as we began the steep climb up the Picos De Oca and after last nights rain, it was very muddy in places. At the top we saw the monument to the Three Hundred who were shot by Franco´s forces at the beginning of the Civil War in 1936. After about 12 miles, we dropped down into St Juan de Ortega for a very welcome coffee/hot chocolate. Walked on through parkland and we emerged to different surroundings more scrub land. The rain was fast approaching, but Monica decided that we would be able to make it to Atapuerca before it started. She got there in time as she can walk far more quickly than I can! It wasn´t too bad however, and we found a really nice Albergue which did separate rooms! So, for 17.50 eur each, we had a room with en-suite! Such luxury!!
Sat May 5th - Atapuerca to Burgos
A cold wet night and a rainy morning! We donned full waterproof gear before leaving to cross the last real hill before Burgos. The wind and cold were sufficient for Madeleine to don gloves as well and we proceeded uphill through mud and slippery stones to the heights of the parque de olmos and the cross of the ¨great killing¨. A long walk followed through rolling drumlin like hills and into a severe rainstorm past Burgos Airport. The last 12 or so kilometres was a bit of a nightmare of pavement pounding but we felt fairly virtuous that, unlike many younger walkers, we did not take the bus! Arrived at the Albergue, after a 21K walk, just after it opened at 12.30