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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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El Camino: Day 11 (Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Belorado)

Posted on 24 September 2012 by christie

Cat in the window

Even “los gatos” are staying inside away from the vicious winds

The strong 25mph headwinds made today’s 22 kilometer trek to Belorado quite challenging. We felt as if we were carrying extra weight fighting against the violent winds pushing us back to Santo Domingo. We plowed through 7 km’s to Grañon, the last village in the beautiful Rioja wine region. Bar Teo, the only town bar, served up great breakfast egg sandwiches and espresso coffees. Leaving the bar we noticed “Panaderia Jesus”, and took a photo. A Spanish pilgrim walked out and told us we had to try some of the delicious cookies. We wound up buying a few chocolate cookies with nuts for the remaining long windy 16km walk ahead.

Castile y Leòn

Entering the dry plains of Castile y Leòn

A few kilometers after Grañon, we reached the border crossing into the Castile y Leòn region. No more vineyards….. just dry open farmland ahead. Supposedly, Castile got its name from the numerous castles build in the region during the Reconquista. Hopefully some castle ruins remain for us to see along the way. In the next 12 km’s, we passed through three small villages; Redecilla del Camino, Viloria de la Rioja and Vilamayor del Rio. They are equally 4 km’s apart from each other, which was a pleasant way to break up the monotonous walk through dry farmland. And! I spotted a few cute cats along the way! Continue Reading

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El Camino: Day 10 (Nàjera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada)

Posted on 23 September 2012 by christie

Green Friend

Our little wiggly green friend on the Camino Road

Albeit last night’s loud sleepless party village of Nàjera, we arose early to start walking at 8:00 to Santo Domingo de la Calzada. This seems early for us, however the majority of pilgrims are gone just before sunrise at 7:15. Some wish to escape the midday heat while others are racing to the next destination to secure a bed for the night. We’ve been booking private accommodations well in advance, feeling no need to rush in the morning. We have even heard there are pilgrims up and out at 5:00. The later departure works out better as we can enjoy ourselves by stopping in each village or pretty site along the way…… confident that we have a comfortable place to rest our heads at night.

More Rioja Vines

Our last day walking through the stunning Rioja

Today was a particularly easy and peaceful day, with evenly split up village stops. The initial ascent and descent out of Nàjera was a great way to get our blood pumping. Over the mountain down the hill led us to an endless land of more Rioja vineyards. This would be the last day through the Rioja region, as tomorrow’s walk to Belorado would lead us into the dry lands of Castille & Leon. After a brisk 6km walk we took a breakfast and coffee break in Azofra, a village with less than 350 inhabitants. Continue Reading

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