Archive | September, 2012

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El Camino: Day 17 (Fromista to Carrion de los Condes)

Posted on 30 September 2012 by christie

Pilgrim cut-out

Pilgrim cut-out at the bridge from Fromista to start our daily workout

Some days on the Camino are long while others are short. We were really looking forward to the easy 19.25 kilometer day ahead. It’s funny how now 20 kilometers walking seems like nothing. We were a bit hungry this morning as we weren’t too successful the previous night in finding any substantial food besides a small pizza. Luckily 3.5 kilometers into our walk we arrived in Poblaciòn de Campos, where we had delicious “huevos” y “patatas” breakfast with coffee. Normally we just eat a grain/nut bar and a piece of fruit in the morning. This was a real treat to start off our Sunday morning.

Dead sunflowers come alive in this landscape

Dead sunflowers come alive in this landscape

There is a small bridge over a semi-dried up river shortly after leaving Poblaciòn de Campos. All the Camino signs direct pilgrims to take the paved path along the road, however I had read to take an unmarked small dirt path immediately off to the right after crossing the bridge. All yellow arrow signs pointed straight, but we decided to take the risk and venture on the dirt path which promised to be the more scenic route. The quiet dirt path through trees takes you 10 kilometers along the river, bypassing a few villages but definitely enhancing the walk with nature. We saw glimpses of pilgrims still walking along side the road and wondered, why hasn’t anyone changed the Camino route to go along this other path we were on? Score! Continue Reading

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El Camino: Day 16 (Castrojeriz to Fromista)

Posted on 29 September 2012 by christie

Endless Camino Path

Endless Camino Path

The rain was pouring down early this morning, but thankfully it stopped by the time we left our hotel in Castrojeriz. We walked down the main street through town which again there was not a soul in sight. Although our guide book said La Taberna was open for breakfast, the doors were chained and locked. On the way through town, we passed the 16th century German Gothic Iglesia de San Juan. After walking 2 kilometers out of the town we had to tackle a steep climb over the mountain. A great way to get our blood flowing. Once over the mountain top, we stood on the plateau in awe looking out into the vast brown landscape in the distance. The sky meshed with the land, creating a seemingly endless horizon. I felt as if I was looking out onto a sea of water with infinite possibilities.

Peaceful Solitude

The peace of solitude on the Camino

The camino path was clear in the distance with pilgrims making their way into the horizon. We imagined our next 8 kilometer walk to Itero del Castillo. Here we found “Ermita de San Nicolàs”, which is a religious hostel run by Italian volunteers who practice a ritual washing pilgrim’s feet. There were several pilgrims who stopped here, but we decided against the religious ritual and bypassed the Ermita. Shortly thereafter we were on Ponte Fitero Bridge, walking over the Rio Pisuerga. Here is the historic border crossing into the Province of Palencia, Leòn. The original bridge was built to unite the kingdoms of Castile and Leòn. Continue Reading

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El Camino: Day 15 (Burgos to Castrojeriz)

Posted on 28 September 2012 by christie

Hornillos del Camino

Town Square, Church and Albergue in Hornillos del Camino

Feeling well rested after two days in Burgos, we were ready to get back on the Camino. Our next destination was Castrojeriz, which is 40 kilometers from Burgos. Although we were feeling much better, we still needed to be cautious about over exerting ourselves and having a relapse. Hence, we decided to take a taxi 20 km to Hornillos del Camino and then walk from there to Castrojeriz. We reminded ourselves that everyone creates their own Camino journey.

Hornillos del Camino felt quite deserted but it may have been the fact that we got there at 10:00 in the morning. Most of the pilgrims staying overnight had left earlier in the morning, and those walking from Burgos hadn’t quite arrived yet. We stopped in a small cafe and shared a “cafe con leche” before beginning our 20 kilometer day to Castrojeriz. Continue Reading

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El Camino: Day 13-14 (San Juan de Ortega to Burgos)

Posted on 26 September 2012 by christie

Burgos Cathedral

Burgos 12-15th Century Gothic Cathedral

The alarm buzzed and we laid in bed still pondering whether we should walk or take a taxi to Burgos (27.6 km away). I still felt terrible with a head cold and sore throat. I rushed to look out the window, in the back of my mind hoping it was pouring down rain as it would be an easier decision. The sky looked like it had cleared for the most part, but it was still freezing. On one hand I didn’t want to give in, take a taxi and miss walking a day of the Camino. On the other hand, I was sick, feeling awful and walking in the cold could make me even worse. The last thing I wanted was to jeopardize making it to Compostella. We also didn’t have any warm fleece or jacket. It was the first time we thought we had under packed.

We finally decided that hopping a taxi was the smart way to go. In the end everyone’s Camino is their own and one person’s Camino is very different from the next. The significance of the Camino is not how fast you walk or how many exact kilometers you cover. It’s about your personal journey through the time you spend on the Camino. Every journey is different and every person creates their own Camino. It is not a competition (although some take it as one). There are no rules. There are no time constraints. There is no right or wrong. There is only “My Camino”. Continue Reading

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El Camino: Day 12 (Belorado to San Juan de Ortega)

Posted on 25 September 2012 by christie

Rain is coming

Rain in the forecast for our walk from Belorado

Belorado’s weather forecast looked bleak for today’s 24 kilometer walk to San Juan de Ortega. Sure enough, we stepped out of Casa Waslala Pension and dark clouds towered over us. We were freezing as we wrapped ourselves up in our warmest clothes, which actually weren’t too warm. This was the first time on the Camino we found ourselves unprepared for the cold weather. We both wished we had those Patagonia fleeces we sent back to the U.S. months ago while we were in the heat of Asia.

El Pajaro Bar

Taking a break at El Pajaro Bar in Villafranca de Montes de Oca

With the cold and strong winds, we decided to make today’s walk a fast one. We breezed past the first few villages; Tosantos (4.8km), Villambista (1.9km), and Espinosa del Camino (1.6km). Our stomachs were growling for breakfast, however nothing seemed to be open in any of the villages. We pushed on another 4 km to Villafranca de Montes de Oca, the last village before the 12 km steep trek through Los Montes de Oca to San Juan de Ortega. Here we found a local bar, El Pajaro, where we took a short break……. while warming up with hot tea and tortilla sandwiches. All the other pilgrims had the same idea as the bar was packed with pilgrims getting ready for the long trek ahead. Continue Reading

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