Thursday, September 5, 2013

Three Hundred and Counting

As of late this afternoon we have just under 300 miles to go to Santiago. Tonight we have the pleasure of sleeping in the municipal sports center in Hornillos since the other albergues, hostels and municipal albergues are all full. Earlier in the day I had a bad feeling that this might be the situation tonight. 

I did notice very early this morning that although Arlene and I spend the majority of the time walking alone - we seem to spend a fair amount of time with these two - who for one reason or another -  we are "shadowing" for the major part of this journey - so even when we think we are alone in the hot Spanish sun - God sends His angels to walk ahead of us to lead the way
 
                                                     Dos Sombra Peregrinos

We started todays journey from Burgos walking through a very nice park - We won't go into detail - you will have to ask - suffice it to say it was very well thought out. From the city center we walked through the suburbs until we got into the country paths. As with other Camino paths they were your basic dirt and gravel mix - thankfully mostly flat. We came to an intersection with conflicting  arrows - one pointing left - the other right. What to do? Luckily two other peregrinos came to the same spot with the same question - and the one fellow from Germany -  knew which way to take. His direction saved us from a few optional kilometers that would have led us off into a side trip none of us cared to take.  This correct path took us past a field of sunflowers and under a bridge that revealed a running stream and sign put up by the park authority about the Camino. 

                                                     Field of Sunflowers

                                        Official Camino Sign Along the River

Crossing a minor highway led us back to the Camino trail. Again more normal trail- lots of brown fields - recently harvested - more sun and heat.

                                                        Dry Brown Fields

Finally we were approaching some elevation - would we be asked to tackle the hill that loomed ahead of us?

                         Hey God It Is Hot Out Here -  Do You Expect Us To Climb That?

The answer was no - we got a reprieve and only had to walk around that hill which led us into Rabe - a very small village with an interesting water fountain.

                      Potable Water - Cool Refreshing Water - Not To Be Ignored Water

                                                           Rabe Village

                                        Rabe Albergue - Where We Should Have Stayed

                        Very Small Chapel Before Entering The Meseta - A Warning?

And then from this nice quiet village we begin walking the famous "Meseta" a veritable dry hot plains area devoid of most life - including human - an area of nothingness - except gravel - sun - heat - did I mention heat - and this is September - not July or August - when the Meseta is - HOT - did I mention the heat?  By the way - remember that water fountain back at Rabe - We should mention that is the last reliable potable water available for the next 10 kilometers - so if you forgot to fill your water bottle you might be in trouble on the Meseta. 
 
                                                Beginning The Meseta

                                                      Brown Dry Meseta

                                       The Meseta - Still Brown - Still Dry - Still Hot

                                          Notice How Gray and White The Terrain Is

                                            Salvation - Not Quite - But Close

              A Roadside Respite - Trees - Shade - Fresh Water - If The Pump Works

Thank God for places of respite - where we can stop and take a breath -  and for a few minutes stop what we are doing to refresh ourselves - to enjoy some shade and picnic tables and the pump that works and the well that is not dry - 10 minutes of cool comfort.  Then we re-enter the Camino - five kilometers to go still.

                                                      Still Brown - Still Dry

                                   Notice How White and Gray The Ground Is 

                                            Even Here Pilgrims Stack The Rocks

                                        An Almost Erie Sense In Those Rocks

                                        Maybe Placed Here By Some Alien?

                                                         Definitely Alien

             The One On The Right - Is That God On A Throne - Or Too Much Sun

                 We Would Join Them For A Drink But They Are Too Far Away - Zoom Lens

                                           And This Is Only Part of The Meseta

                                           Downhill - Hornillos In The Distance
     
                                    Walking On Downhill Rocks Takes Some Care

                                         Looking Back - We Were Up There?

Finally after walking 21 kilometers - we are here in Hornillos - a small village over run by peregrinos - Richard from New York is here - as well as a really big (tall) fellow from California - bigger than Deacon Jerry (but as funny) - that I would not want to be my enemy - and a lot of others - so many in fact that all the albergues are filled up - the local hostel is filled up - the municipal albergue is filled up and the next closest albergue is another 11 kilometers down the road. But not to worry says the young lady - we can sleep in the sports center - a large building with gravel dust on the concrete floor - for 5 Euros who can complain. They have men's and women's toilets and sinks and there is even a private shower for each gender complete with running water - cold water - not hot - not cool - cold water. It has been years since we led a youth retreat where we learned how to shower - very quickly - in cold water - tonight we relived that experience. 

    Our Shared Bedroom - Lights Out At 9:00 Because The Sun Is Going Down - No Nite Light

For dinner - well we didn't dine out tonight - this place was completely over run - so a trip to the local mercado - for some sandwich things - some wine with twist off tops - no ice cream - but we did get some awesome Spanish olives for desert.  Now it is really dark and time for sleep. I hear a choo choo train in the corner - oops that is someone snoring - tonight will be interesting - and no wi-fi so this will be posted later - sorry.

Buen Camino
Dale and Arlene