By the River and in the convent

A shorter day today. We were to stay last night in a room adjacent to a group of blind and partially sighted pilgrims. They may not have been able to see but they sure could talk, laugh, play video games and have conversations on their cel phones two and three at a time. My brilliant walking partner tactfully announced that since we are “ senior ladies” we would be moving next door to another section populated by serious Germans and sulky Frenchmen. We slept like tops!

A car with no tail begs for yoghurt

He was my favourite at the whole albergue except for Gabriel who took charge of all my horribly dirty and sweaty clothes, washed them, dried them and left them outside my room in a basket. I paid of course for this but….

Leaving in the morning

We are still on the Meseta but we took the scenic route that follows the river rather than the one along the highway. It was worth it.

The non-river part

Here is a picture of the courtyard of Santa Clara monastery where we are staying …one room with two beds! No no

A loooonng day

Twenty five kilometres is a lot more than twenty!

Does that sound odd to you? I have been used to walking about twenty kilometres every day and felt quite proud of myself because I never felt tired or had pains in my feet. I skipped along like a little goat. However today I and my walking partner got a little ambitious . You must understand that it would be a shame to run out of time before we had finished our walk.

We started with a long and steep pull out of Castrojeriz. The grade was 12%. The descent was 19%. I resorted to walking backwards to save my knee on the descent. Michael Jackson roll over! I would only attempt this on paved roads of course.

The weather was grey and cloudy all day with a terrific wind like the breath of God up on the high open plain. This truly is where the sky meets the bare earth now that crops are gathered in. This is the land for meditation.

At last we came to the beautiful canal that has been used for centuries to irrigate the fields. I must say by then we were very tired. We had about a five kilometres walk before we got into town. However we are now safe inside the albergue and ready to make our own dinner in the neat little kitchen. We will sleep well I know!

Really walking the Meseta

How cold it was walking out of the albergue this morning! I was glad of my jacket and one of my friends used her thin socks as gloves. The province has lifted some of the restrictions for accommodation because the Covid numbers are very good and so instead of 2 in the room we were 4. I was so tired as I had not slept well the previous night that I hardly noticed. The dawn was spectacular, the sky blue with a beautiful overlay of pink. We walked 10 km by 10:30 and stopped for “ second breakfast”.

An ecumenical church

We met our Camino angel from the day before, Claudio, and had a chat with him before continuing on across the high flat plain. It is very pleasant to walk the track except for the muddy bits.

Hard to miss the path!

Our goal was Castrojeriz and we could see it in the distance after we passed the ruins of the convent of San Antonio,

Time seems elastic, almost not to matter. The sky, clear and decorated with many clouds seems indifferent to our slow progress. I like walking close to the earth. The fields are almost at eye level in some places, the wheat already cut and dry stubble waiting for winter.

Approaching Castrojeriz

Our albergue, simple and welcoming. I am sitting in the town square waiting for the food store to open. Dry leaves rustle and I lift my head, thinking someone will pass by. But no, it is still siesta time and nothing will be open for about an hour.

Oh, in the little church that I liked so much there were slips of paper that we were invited to choose…almost like fortune cookies. Mine read “ let go or be dragged”

On the Meseta

We left Burgos in the dark and in pouring rain. My jacket and poncho held up well but my feet became soaking when I stepped into a large puddle. However, my socks are a bit magic and seemed to wick away the water so that my feet were not at all uncomfortable.

More inspiring than the mural—-we are less than 500 km from out goal

We entered the Meseta. Some people think it is boring because there are no mountains. I do not! The sky and land meet and the little villages are a joy and a mystery. We did just over 20 km today with no discomfort

Flat …. Flat. …,,Flat

A Camino incident

My companion has had discomfort with blisters and other complications. Along comes a gentleman whom I had met at the start of the Camino. He immediately opened an impressive pack of first aid items and tended to my friend’s feet. We walked together chatting and singing into the village where we will spend the night. We will meet again on the road I know.

Second day in Burgos

I love the energy of this city

Went today to the museum of human evolution. There is a huge site that has been excavated for decades at Atapuerta, Spain and there is a special museum here in Burgos that traces human evolution. It was beautifully set up and I spent a couple of hours there until I ran into a Camino friend and we ended up having lunch together

The domestication of the wolf artist Christina Diez

It had a whole section devoted to Charles Darwin, one of my heros so I spent much happy time in that section.

Unknown to me

We went out to supper as it was Christiana’s last night. We seven to supper. On the way back to the albergue the streets were full of people out for the evening. Perhaps Covid is really almost over!

Must get up early to make breakfast and head out into the rain. I had the most delicious fish for dinner and will sleep like a top.

In Burgos

Boy I am so glad my walking companion and I decided to stay two nights in this wonderful cathedral town. I truly have never seen anything like this amazing cathedral and the beautiful squares that surround it. I will let the images speak for themselves for the most part.

Get ready! You’re in for a treat

The tour of this amazing structure can be downloaded onto a smartphone and….I managed perfectly!

Don’t just stand there…c’mon in

I really have never in all my life seen so much history, art, splendour anywhere!

Well, a rather sad sign of the times…no holy water but hand sanitizer instead
Look up, look way up!
My favourite! Tobias and his fish..,go look it up!

Nothing is perfect in this world of course and the fly in the ointment was that my backpack got delivered to the wrong place and then shipped to the Post Office. Like a big girl I followed my app to a majestic building over a bridge infested with statues and had a surprisingly effective argument with a clerk on Spanish . She insisted it was not there but I managed to convince her that based on an earlier phone call it was. I emerged triumphant with it slung on my back and staggered back to the very comfortable room. I am sharing with Ana. She could not go to the cathedral this am as her feet are in a bad way and needed medical attention. We had a lovely time at the Pilgrim’s mass and a short stroll around the old town. The over- the-top chapel in the cathedral featured this statue of St Dominique with his chickens. The story another time. And so to bed

See his hens? In the last town the actually have live hens in his honor

PS a confession …we took the bus this morning for 45 minutes thus saving two days walking. Our weakness was forgiven by my finding someone’s wallet in the bus and handing it in to the driver

At Espinoza

We walked 18 km today without too much discomfort. It was very cloudy and cool in the morning ..gloomy I might even say. The road ran along a busy highway with many trucks roaring past. The day only opened up after noon and then it became brilliant and sunny. We came to the town where a St Dominique who built many bridges was born … over a thousand years ago.

The good St Dominique who helped pilgrims

There was a lot of agriculture going on and here I show what was going on

We start
Hello farmer!
Here is the bale
This far to go!

To Castodelgado

A long walk on mostly flat terrain (17 km) that led to a wonderful albergue out in the middle of nowhere. The landscape was stunning with lovely clouds. We are at about 800 meters high. Is that why the clouds seem so low?

Let your eye take it all in

We have a new and interesting companion on our walk. She is Anna, a resident of Oregon who had a career as an opera singer. The three of us, Christiana, Anna and I had deep conversations in the pretty garden of the albergue. It is called Bideluze. More pictures below

This is what happens to sunflowers in the fall
At start of day

From Najera to Ciruena

We had a nice

Short day today only 14.2 km and that mostly on flat terrain. The first village where we could get coffee however was 6 km from the start so the place was jumping from 8:30 and on. Granny from the balcony was interested!

Who are all these strangers in my village?

The sky was quite grey but rain held off. I walked with a nice French couple who had many questions about Quebec. Five kilometres just flew by. We are still walking through vineyards and ploughed fields. The application of liquid manure by a large sort of tanker spray truck was perhaps an informal Covid test. I was one of the first to arrive at the albergue after a long slow climb up a hiss. Many are the blessings heaped on whomever set up the park at the top.

Rest Pilgrim after the hill.

Now ensconced in a nice albergue in this decidedly odd town of brand new and seemingly empty houses ……,we will see what surprises await us at dinner

Foot care

No series of posts about the Camino would be complete without a bite in foot care. Peligrinos walk many miles per day and their poor feet protest. Blisters, hot spots, uncomfortable shoes and all part of the game. I have large ugly feet but they serve me well. I just have one spot that has always been a little sore. Today in the middle of nowhere I felt I simply had to “doctor” it a little. There was nowhere to sit for a long time. At last a wamarker appeared. These are everywhere to guide the pilgrims. They are narrow blocks with a flat top about 9 inches square. It sat in a patch of brambles. Gingerly I stepped into the briars. I sat on the column. I opened my backpack and removed a very sharp knife. I removed shoe and sock. I cut a strip of bandage and carefully closed the knife. I wrapped the bandage around my toe and gingerly put sock and shoe back on. It was very uncomfortable and precarious but I managed . I walked another 6 k and my friend gave me this very neat bandage in the albergue.