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.
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.
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
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.
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
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 for today.
Still Brown - Still Dry
Notice How White and Gray The Ground Is
Even Here Pilgrims Stack The Rocks
Maybe Placed Here By Some 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
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.
Dale and Arlene