Distance: 20.1km, Steps: 29,352, Time total: 6hrs.
Another restless nights sleep in last nights Albergue. Firstly, Mr D striked it lucky again in the bed department & got the most squeaky bed of them all. SQUEAK! SQUEAK! As he rolled about in bed. Then the door to the corridor would open as we were unlucky to be opposite the door. Bright light would shine in on us. SQUEAK! Mr D rolled to his side to avoid the glare of the outside lights. SQUEAK! Then he had to roll back on his back as he doesn’t like sleeping on his side. SQUEAK! The door opens again…. all night long…. The second was the bright lights in our faces as people exited & entered the room. Thirdly the door would shut with a loud BANG! Always fun in Albergue dormitory bunk rooms……
The morning was not too cold as we left at 7am & headed to the cafe up the road. It had a sign yesterday promising breakfast at 6.30am & pancakes was on the menu. I was looking forward to pancakes & a nice cuppa if I was lucky. But they were CLOSED! How rude! Nothing was open in fact so we had to walk on empty stomachs for 10kms to the next village! Was unhappy with this but it couldn’t be changed. Mr D had also passed on his sore throat to me hadn’t he?! I was feeling average as well as hungry. So we walked & the Meseta was quite lovely in the dark & early sunrise. We left early but were soon overtaken by the marching ants behind us ( aka marching Pilgrims ).
I sped up halfway through bored with the long never ending road to nowhere & just wanting my breakfast. Mr D was somewhere far behind me talking to the young German man called Timo that was seated next to us at dinner last night. He seems to be a shy lad & doesn’t say too much. At the town called Hontanas, we ordered breakfast & I patiently (!) waited in the slow queue to order. We had simple toast with butter & jam. Mr D had a big Americano coffee & me my usual tea con leche.
Back on the dirt road again with another 10kms to go. The sky was bright blue like yesterday but not as hot. The track was a bit more interesting as well, there were more trees to look at & odd ruins here & there. My backpack was feeling rather more heavier than when I started & I was carrying the same stuff plus some fridge magnets I had brought. I bet Mr D had snuck a bottle of wine in my backpack, I wouldn’t put it pass him! It is nice walking along in peace & quiet reflecting on stuff in your mind. This is what the Meseta is about…. Then you glance behind & see more marching ants that seemed to have come out of nowhere & right on your heels. I pull aside & let them pass so all is peaceful again in my world.
We came to the road & a poor man in his car was waiting for us all. He calls out to me “Peregrino! Passport! Stamp!” Waving a stamp in the air. Mr D senses he is asking for money so doesn’t stop. I instead pull out my passport for a stamp & he offers me a wood token from his basket & asks for a donativo. So I give him some loose change & with my good deed done for the day, ( or I’m a sucker for con artists ) I move on.
We came to the San Miguel ruins & took some photos there. Then just passing it, there’s an open cafe rest area run by a man called Angel. Mr D didn’t want to stop so I brought a Coke & moved on. That wasn’t easy but, he gives me the can then goes to do some washing. I have to figure out how to ask him how much, pay & go! These people are different like that. You pay after your drinks / meals anywhere you go. I’m not use to it. I rather pay up front than later when I have to wait at the counter again to pay. In this case he must of assumed I would sit & drink my Coke, pay & then leave.
The last 4 kms was up the bitumen road in a straight line & it went for a looong time. Mr D was feeling fed up with the long boring roads. The last kms are usually the worst as you just want to get there! Castrojeriz is a much bigger town & the cobblestone street laneways are hazardous, Mr D almost twisted an ankle stepping into a rut. We decided to get a private room in a hostal / hotel. But it was Saturday, we had forgot what happened in Santo Domingo. All the hotels were booked out. Spanish people must make a weekend of going to these little towns in the middle of nowhere or something! It is hard to believe no rooms would be available! So we went back to the Casa Nostra Albergue that I liked the look of. The owner is terrible to find. You wait & yell out Hola! several times before he emerges. But it is lovely. A real old townhouse with character. As you enter there are rows of different patterned tiles that shouldn’t go together. We decided to sleep upstairs, up the old wooden steps & into a room separated into 4 separate bedroom sections. Mr D selected the 4th little room with one set of bunkbeds & it’s furthest away from the hallway out of sight! In fact, it is like our own private room just with no door. And there is lots of floor space to spread our stuff out – & only 6.5€ each!
Very happy with this we walked up to the nearest restaurant / bar for lunch. Mr D had a big thirst & ordered a giant 1 litre jug of beer for himself! He said the young waitress behind the counter looked 28 years old when he started drinking. By the time he had finished he reckoned she looked 18 years old. Go on Mr D – have another one! We washed the beer down with some delicious tapas food. They gave us bread rolls – which we were already full. But as our Albergue offers no meals, has a kitchen only, we decided to take them for breakfast in the morning.
Mr D needed a Spanish siesta after his beer indulgence. I stepped off to explore the town & ended up following the long winding track up the hill to the old castle ruins. Another Pilgrim was going up at the same time, a man from Canada. We chatted our way up the hill talking about the Camino, Canada, Australia. Many people have been to Perth or know someone from there when we say where we are from. They all say how nice Perth city is. There you go – sometimes you just don’t appreciate your hometown as much as you should. (Mrs J?!) The Canadian is walking with his family whom didn’t want to walk up to the castle. He also said they went by the cafe in Hornillos at 7.30am for breakfast & they were still closed! They lost some business today. The ruins were far better than the others I had been to. It’s free to walk inside & up the narrow stairs. Plus you get amazing views of the town & the Meseta that extends far into the distance.
My quad muscles were cramping up so thought it best to head back to our beds, freshen up & rest awhile. As advised by John from Albany, I lay on my back with my legs up the wall to allow circulation back to my upper body. His wife has had a similar rash on her legs & he had concluded it to do with the kidneys & the constant walking so blood flow is mostly to the legs & feet. My rash is looking better today but feeling itchy. I’m sure it is helping together with the cream. My nose on the other hand is semi blocked, I have spent the last 24 hours constantly wiping my nose & I’m FED UP! There is no hope yet for me…. grumble, grumble.
Mr D took a walk to the supermercado & brought cheese & chorizo to have on our bread for breakfast in the morning. There is two ladies in the room joining ours – this Albergue is great, everyone is spread out so it doesn’t feel cramped. One of the young ladies is from Germany. She has been travelling 5 months. Walked from Germany to France. Cycled from France to SJPDP, then has walked the Camino from there. She lived in Perth for 12 months & reckons it is the best city in the world. No comment. So Mr D asked about our friends the German couple & she had spoke to them today – they are walking here, with any luck we might have a happy reunion.
We went out to a nice spot for dinner outside but dinner wasn’t till 9pm! So we settled for a 10€ each Pilgrim menu at another restaurant which included 3 courses, bread & bottle of vino. Unfortunately we did not see our German friends but am sure we will bump into each other again.