Camino Green Belt

John 4:14 But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.

Day 19 — 16.71 Miles —Boadilla del Camino to Carrión de Los Condes, May 16. Today was very pleasant.  We walked along the Canal de Castille until it ended outside of Frómista. 

An alternate trail started just after Población de Campos. The temperature was still hot so we decided to follow the Camino “Green Belt”.  The “Green Belt” was approximately 1/2 mile longer.  It was a 1/2 mile that was well worth the walk.   If we had stayed on the main Camino trail, the day would have been hot and uncomfortable as the main trail paralleled a highway.  There were no trees on the main trail.  The optional “Green Belt” route was shaded. Rio Ucieza was on our right and fields of wheat were on our left.  This section of the Camino was approximately 7 miles long.  The path meandered and the birds serenaded us for the entire seven miles. The cottonwoods had left their covering of “snow” on the ground.  The sound of sneezing added to the sound of the birds.  Thank goodness for Allegra allergy pills.

Tomorrow we will walk to Ledigos. Buen Camino. Sharon and Ron

The Road

Judges 5:10 You who ride on white donkeys, You who sit on rich carpets, And you who travel on the road—Sing!

Day 18 — 18.93 Miles — Hontanas to Boadilla, May 15.  Today was another day of walking through La Meseta.  The high was 80 degrees.  No trees for shade and 80 degrees caused some people to have heat stroke problems.  

The scenery was beautiful until we saw “The Road”.  A road was visible in the distance going across and up a very high hill.  As we got closer to “The Road”, we could see people walking on it.  Yep….that was our path.  A climb to the top of Alto De Mostelares was in the walk today.  The elevation increased about 600 feet in 8/10’s of a mile……and it was hot.  The view at the top was great.  The decent down was hard. It was so step the trail had been paved with concrete to prevent people from falling on gravel.  The view of the valley below was like looking at a post card then we realized the trail across the entire valley was the pilgrim path.  

The ruins of San Anton Convent and the ruins of a castle were outside the village of Itero de la Vega. The convent was founded in 1146. It was founded to provide care for pilgrims. We were able to walk under the archway of the convent ruins.   The castle was on a hilltop over looking the village.  A climb in the heat was out of the question.  A picture would have to suffice. 

During the day, we shared a picnic table with Bridgette and Marteen. A cool down period was shared with Andreas (laughing man) at a shaded cafe.  We passed Peter from Germany sitting on a bench.  If you remember from a prior blog, Peter is the tortoise and we are the hare.  Dinner was shared with Kathy who we met in Madrid and Toby who shared the “nightmare hostel” with us.

The first part of the Camino is said to be physical, the second part is mental and the last part is spiritual.  We are past the physical part.  Our blisters are healed and the backpacks do not seem so heavy.  We think the mental part is approaching quickly.  To make oneself continue on with one foot in front of the other in the heat requires a certain amount of detachment from one’s situation.  The heat surely will not last forever.  

Tomorrow our destination is Carrión de los Condes.  Buen Camino.  Sharon and Ron

La Meseta

Deuteronomy 34:1 Then Moses went up from the desert plateau of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, Jericho, and Yahweh showed him all of the land, Gilead up to Dan.

Day 17 — 13.45 Miles, Tardajos to Hontanas, May 14.   We started later today than usual as it is only thirteen miles to Hontanas.  Before we started on our walk, two crosses were placed in our hostel.  Cross #21 was left by the register at La Fábrica (our hostel last night).  Cross #22 was left on a pillow in our room for the maid.  

Starting late was a mistake.  We are now walking through La Meseta.  La Meseta is Spanish for plateau.  A plateau looks similar to a bench in Boise or a bluff in the Midwest.  There are not many trees and it was hot.  Numerous stops were made at widely spaced cafes for cool drinks and cold water. 

The first stop was in Rabe de los Calzada for delicious Spanish orange juice.  Ukka from Finlind was in the cafe and introduced himself.  He recognized us from our hats with the Boise State Bronco logos. Ukka has been walking with Marshall from Boise.  The owner of the cafe, Jose, has a wall with US dollar bills tacked to it.  Each bill had a note written on it. Of course, we tacked up one of our dollar bills.  Our note said, “Footprints On The Way, 2019, Boise, ID, Sharon and Ron”. When Jose saw that we were tacking up a dollar, he gave both of us a St. Christopher necklace.  Jose was given cross #23..

In the late morning, we stopped on the side of path for a foot check.  We think our feet are past the point of major blisters but we still stop occasionally to check them.  During one of our stops, Ian and Patricia from Wales road up to us on their bikes.  We never expected to see them again.  They stayed in Burgos two days to wait for the bikes.   We said goodbye again. 

The temperature continued to climb.  We walked into the next village, Hornillos del Camino, looking for a cafe.  The first cafe was very busy therefore we continued to the next cafe. Surprise…..Ian, Patricia, Kathy who we met in Madrid and JoAnn who we met the first day in Orisson were all sitting around a table.  Although none of us have walked together, everyone knew each other.  The Camino world is small.  

Hontanas was finally on the horizon.  We walked slowly into town as we were very tired. Maybe the “mental” part of the Camino is starting for us. Others have said that the middle of the Camino can be mentally challenging. We were soon smiling though as Toby from Sweden was sitting at a table. He started the Camino with us on 4/28 and shared the room with us in the “Nightmare Hostel”. Yukeko from Japan who we met on our first day in Orisson was also sitting at a table.

The Way has taken us over 200 miles. Next stop Boadilla.  Buen Camino.  Sharon and Ron.

The Factory

Isaiah 61:4 They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.

Day 16 — 7.14 Miles – Burgos to Tardajos, May 13.  We decided on a short walk today as yesterday was hard on our feet, knees, hips etc.  Walking on concrete for about eight miles is hard on one’s body.  We walked three miles on concrete just to get out of Burgos.  Burgos was a nice city though.  

We left Burgos at 11 am therefore not many pilgrims were on the trail with us.  Toby from Sweden who started the Camino on the same day as us was on the path.  Toby had also shared the room with us in the horrific hostel in Ages.  He had decided to stay in Burgos until later in the morning also.  

We did not take many pictures as the wind started blowing again.  It was not as bad the previous windy day but we were glad when we arrived in our “dream” hostel.  As we were walking into town, Ron spotted an old run down building.  He later told me that he thought we were in for another hostel nightmare.  The old run down building was indeed our hostel, La Fábrica (The Factory).   It was anything but run down.  As we walked up to it, we realized that is was in very good condition.  The owner explained that the building was an old water mill.  He completely gutted the building but kept the outside walls. The inside had been rebuilt.  It was a very nice hostel.  We had a private room again for only $45.00.  The food was great. Bridgette  and Marteen also checked into the hostel for the night.  Ron decided it should get a 5 star rating and I agree. 

We have now walked just over 200 miles. Tomorrow we will walk from Tardajos to Hontanas.  Buen Camino!  Sharon and Ron

Interior Pictures of the Cathedral de Santa Maria XIII in Burgos

Construction of the cathedral began in 1221. The cathedral was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on October 31, 1984. The website address for more cathedral information is http://www.catedraldeburgos.es. The website can be read in Spanish or English.

A Parting Sadness

Second Thessalonians 3:16   Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way.  The Lord be with you all. 

Day 15 – 14.34 Miles, Ages to Burgos, May 12.  The hostel accommodations were a nightmare but we found a really nice small restaurant for breakfast.  We talked to Yukiko from Japan.  Ken, Renee and their kids took our table when we were leaving the restaurant.  It was 36 degrees outside with frost when we started walking.   The first town after Ages is Atapuerca.  The earliest human remains ever found in Europe were found in Atapuerca. The site was discovered while a rail line was cut to nearby mines.  It is estimated that the human activity dates back 1.5 million years.  The work is ongoing at the site.  

After leaving the town, the trail started up hill to Cruz de Matagrande which is a wooden cross located at 3,543 feet.  Cross #20 was left at the wooden cross. It was really cold as the wind was blowing so we did not linger but started down another difficult rocky decent.  

Tom from New York passed us and said goodbye.  We came upon  Renee and the kids again about five miles from Burgos.  We will not see them again also as they are taking a train farther up the trail so their walk is completed in time for them to go home.  The remainder of the walk into Burgos was on pavement.  No one walking the Camino likes to walk for long distances on pavement.  It is hard on the feet and joints.  

Our hostel was in a hotel.  We had a private room with a bathroom.  Some hotels here double as hostels.  The room rates are low but the conditions are much nicer plus the hotels get business.  We toured the unbelievable Cathedral de Santa Maria XIII.  The inside pictures of the Cathedral will be in a separate post.  The pictures do not come close to demonstrating the beauty of the cathedral.  (My Pentax camera was just too heavy to carry on this walk.)

We did see Ken, Renee and their children one last time tonight.  They were returning from having gelato and we were going to dinner.  We exchanged blog addresses so we can keep in touch.  They are a special family.  

Ian and Patricia bumped into us after we left the family so we had a final dinner with them.  They are renting bikes to continue the Camino.

Tomorrow we walk to Tardajos.  Buen Camino!  Sharon and Ron


Hostels R Not 4 Us

Psalm 27:5   For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.  

Day 14 —17.25 Miles— Belorado to Ages, May 11.  The day started out foggy and rainy so we walked most of the day in rain ponchos.  We have been lucky with rain as only two days have had rain.  Even with the rain and fog, there were still nice views from the path.  We stopped in Villafranca Montes de Oca for hot tea and coffee.  The next stretch did not go through any towns.  

We came upon a monument that was erected by relatives of 300 people who were shot during the first months of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).   It was erected where the people were shot.  Cross #19 was hung on the railing surrounding the monument.   

The Way continued through changing surroundings.  Trees were replacing the green fields.  The path was wide and flat. Approximately 5 miles from Villafranca Montes de Oca,  “el oasis del Camino” appeared.  There were colorful totem poles, snack food to purchase and a dog.  The dog was friendly so my dog “fix” was satisfied.  His name was either Dean or Dino.  He leaned against me while he got his massage “fix”. 

The next town was San Juan de Ortega.  The monastery in the village operates a hostel for pilgrims. We had attempted to reserve two bunks but it was full.  We did see Tom from New York.  He walks tomorrow then leaves Spain to go home.  It will probably be the last time we will see him.  We stopped in San Juan de Ortega and had cold drinks with Ian and Patricia from Wales.  They will be riding bikes once they arrive in Burgos, It is doubtful we will see them again as the next town, Burgos, is large.  

We continued on another 3 miles to Ages.  A room was already booked for the night through a website called onlypilgrims.com.  The hostel was a nightmare.   The pictures on the website made the hostel look really nice.  There were seven beds lined up in our room.  The room was evidently a storage area as there were different items piled behind the beds.  The temperature that night got down to 32 degrees.  Heat was provided by two electric space heaters the owners put in the room.  The heaters were plugged into a heavy extension cord that went out the room’s door and across the entryway into another room.  We will be booking rooms in hostels/hotels for one room with its own bathroom for the remainder of the walk.  

We are walking to Burgos tomorrow.  Buen Camino!  Sharon & Ron

Blow’in in the Wind

Psalm 78:26 He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens And by His power He directed the south wind.

Day 13 — 14.93 Miles — Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Belorado, May 10. The Way exited Santo Domingo via a bridge that was built in 1185 by Domingo Garcia (Santo Domingo) to assist pilgrims crossing the river. The day looked ominous. Rain skirted around us all day. The wind started in the morning and did not let up all day. It was blowing about 20 miles per hour against us. We and our fellow pilgrims were very tired by the time Belorado was visible in the distance.

The walk in the wind continued through farm fields. The wheat blowing in the wind was a soothing site and helped to take our minds off the force that was battering us.

Our hostel tonight has beds for about 50 people. We are in a room with space for 26 people. The noise level will probably be high from snoring. When we walked up to the hostel, Tom from New York was standing in line waiting to register. He had no reservation therefore the chance of him getting a bed was slim. The Camino always provides. I had mistakenly booked three beds for the night for which we would be required to pay. Tom took the third bed. The Camino took care of us and him. We had dinner with Tom that night along with Ian and Patricia from Wales. Tom was kind and bought us all dinner in celebration of walking the Camino on our honeymoon.

In addition to the scallop shells that point The Way, Belorado has bronze tiles in the road with the footprint and handprints of Olympic athletes. The town, of course, has a church. We had our Camino passports stamped in the church before mass. Cross #18 was left on the table by the Camino stamp.

The walk tomorrow will be long. The next town that had beds for the night is about 17 miles away. Buen Camino! Sharon and Ron

Back on Track

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.

Day 12 — 13.96 miles — May 9, Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada. Day 9 started early again at 7:00.  Our feet are still sore so we planned for another short day.   Compeed Blister Cushions and toe sleeves are wonderful. We are not the only ones with sore feet.  All along The Way, people were stopped with their boots off tending to their feet.  At this stage of the walk, everyone has covered over 100 miles.   When we arrived in Azofra to eat, we decided to cancel our hostel reservation in Ciruena and push on to Santo Domingo de la Calzada.  This decision changed the distance for today from 9 miles to 13 miles. We would be back on track to walk 13 to 15 miles per day.  Our feet were feeling better.  There were still hills to go up and down however they were not as steep.  

The landscape continues to be breathtaking.  It is varying shades of green.  The breeze was gentle and the sun was warm.  We took a break just before entering Ciruena.  There was a food truck that offered refreshments for donations only.  A shaded area with picnic tables and a water fountain were available for pilgrims to use.  JoAnn who we met in Orisson walked into the picnic area.  We had eaten dinner with her in Los Arcos.  JoAnn and I were talking about Boise.  A man at the fountain spoke up and said he was from Boise.  We had crossed paths numerous times in the last few days but had no reason to make any connection.  His first name is Marshall which is my maiden name.  

We also have continued to bump into Andreas (Laughing Man as we have nick named him).  He is German but lives in Ireland.  We probably saw him five times today.  

Arriving early in Santo Domingo de la Calzada enabled us to visit the magnificent cathedral. Domingo Garcia was born in 1019.  He desired to become a monk however the monastery at San Milan would not accept an illiterate person.   He turned his efforts to aiding pilgrims on their journeys.  He built a pilgrim hospital and a church which evolved into the Cathedral.  The original church was consecrated in the 12th century.  It houses the tomb of Domingo Garcia (Saint Domingo) and a chicken coop with a live rooster and hen.

Legend has it that a pilgrim couple and their son stopped at an inn in the town on the way to Santiago. The innkeeper’s daughter had her eyes on the son but he denied her advances.  Angered by his rebuff, she slipped a silver goblet in his pack and reported that he had stolen it.  He was arrested and hanged.  The parents had gone on to Santiago but when they returned, they found their son hanging on the gallows but still miraculously alive.  They rushed to the sheriff’s house and asked for their son to be released.  The sheriff retorted that their son was no more alive than the chicken he was about to eat, whereupon the chicken stood up on the dish and crowed loudly. The miracle was not lost on the sheriff who rushed to the gallows and cut down the son.  He was given a full pardon.  Today, a rooster and a hen actually live in a special pen in the cathedral. 

Cross #17 was left in the Cathedral. There are more pictures of the Cathedral below.

Tomorrow we go to Belorado.  Buen Camino.  Sharon and Ron

Beautiful Music

Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.

Day 11 — 11.2 Miles — Navarette to Najera, Wednesday, May 8.  The day started at 7:15 so we could eat breakfast at a local restaurant before leaving town.  We left town however as there were no restaurants open.  We did not walk through another town until we walked into Najera later in the morning.  Fortunately, food is packed everyday for the day’s walk.  The temperature when we left was 59 degrees and cloudy.  Today was a perfect walking day.  It was not too hot and not too cold.  

Our walk took us through orchards and vineyards again.  There was one wooded area in which we heard music.  Who would be out in the middle of nowhere playing a radio? We came around a curve in the path and there sat Miguel.  He was playing the guitar, harmonica and singing.  The song was about walking The Camino.  We stopped and listened with some women from Tasmania.   It was a pleasant break. Miguel was given cross #15.  He gave us each scallop shells which are a symbol of The Camino.   

In the middles ages, Camino pilgrimages were dangerous walks. Upon reaching Santiago, the pilgrims returned home with a scallop shell as proof they completed the pilgrimage. The shells are indigenous to the Galician coast. Today most pilgrims hang the shells from their back packs. The shells are used to mark the path of the The Way for pilgrims. They also symbolize that all paths lead to Santiago.

We walked into Najera in the early afternoon. Najera was the capital of Navarre in the 11th and 12th centuries.  The Monastery of Santa Maria de la Real is in Najera.  It is the final resting place of kings, queens and knights of Navarre.  No pictures were allowed to be taken inside the monastery.

It is time for some sleep.  Buen Camino.  Sharon and Ron