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Published: October 22nd 2017
Geo: 42.3129, -4.04481
The church bells were an hour off; Dave got up on seven bell chimes and turned on the dorm light! After one dirty look, the light went right off -- it was only 6:00! We got up at 7:00 and it was only us and a couple from Nuremberg left.
They were very interesting and unique pilgrims. They were doing a Camino from Nuremberg to Santiago, over 2500 kilometers, in five sections. They would end this year in Burgos, and complete the last section from Burgos to Santiago next year.
We were on the Camino by 7:30. The early morning dawn light was great, but with temps hovering around 50 -- should have worn our gloves and warm hats.
We passed through the village of Villabistia, legend has it that if you dip your head in the central fountain, you will be refreshed the rest of the day -- we settled for filling our water bottle there.
Our first stop would be Espinosa del Camino where we had coffee and a bacon/egg sandwich. The amazing thing was that we knew 10 different
pilgrims by name. After walking through rolling hills of wheat and sunflowers, we stopped for a second coffee in Villafranca Montes de
Out of town we started a pretty steep two mile climb over a rocky trail. On reaching the ridge line we would be in oak and pine forest with no views except the forest. The only break was the Oasis where a woman was selling snacks, fruit and drinks for a donation. It was pretty cool that she gave a fresh piece of watermelon to every passing pilgrim. We left a nice donation for a peach and two bananas.
Along the ridge line is a monument honoring Franco supporters who were murdered/assassinated in 1936. Lots of pilgrims were hanging out taking a break in the shade. During this stretch and into San Juan Ortega we saw more than a dozen of our "pilgrim family".
It was in this stretch that we thought we had run into our first injury threat. Dave had all the signs of developing a shin splint in his left leg.
In San Juan Ortega we had the second half of our sandwich from yesterday and a couple cold beers. It was a nice bar with outdoor seating and the proprietor put up an umbrella for us. It was situated right next to the albergue, church and monastery all named
after San Juan de Ortega.
This is a main layover town as well as Ages, but we pushed on another 6 kilometers to Atapuerca. We had a private room and bath reserved there! After waiting about an hour for the proprietress to return from siesta, we checked in and thought we were in heaven. 35 euros may have been the best money spent so far. Our locked area had six private rooms with a shared kitchen and dining/living room. With all these amenities, Dave was able to ice his shin which seemed to help.
After showering and doing a large load of clothes in a machine and hanging them, we wandered the small village, visited the church and made a supply run to the tiny market for tomorrow's breakfast and lunch and a bottle of wine for 2.90 euro, which would be good anytime.
The other Albergue in town Pasasol, was the only one which had a restaurant and offered a pilgrim menu. It was packed, and they told us to come back at 8:20.
After bringing in our laundry, working the blog/journal and having a glass of very good 2.90 euro wine, we headed up for dinner at Pasasol. For
12 euro, this was our best meal on the Camino. Sue had pork roquefort, and salad and Dave had roasted cockerel (chicken) and lentil/sausage stew - both of us had whiskey cake (cake/ice cream/whipped cream) for dessert. Excellent!
The table next to us were two mature British women and a young woman from Paris. The two had a private room in our place while the Parisian was in the albergue's dorm. She had to rush back for the 10:00 curfew.
Back to our room about 10:30, Dave iced his shin and we called it an end to another great day.
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