So anyway after three days the Irish spy arrived in Burgos to undertake her reconnaissance mission for future caminos. She also planned to soak up some sun as it had apparently already left Ireland for the year.
Of course with daily weather changes in burgos at this time of year her visit for some sunshine was now also a little concerning.
(Tengo frio! I wonder how Mavis is coping!)
The Spy was, in my mind, a camino veteran after having passed the Pyrenees challenge and crossed Navarra into Rioja before leaving a group of us at Estella last year.
Now it was time for her to stake out the Meseta and venture into Palencia! And my suggestions included leaving Burgos to Hornillas and seeing my favourite tree and also leaving Castrojeriz via the magnificent hill for some views back to the pueblo and some grand Meseta vistas.
We began the reconnaissance mission with some well earned time in Burgos at the pool of course. It was essential the spy commence her mission with some sun rays which gave me time to lap the indoor pool and ready myself for some long camino days. We then headed out for some tapas and vino (maybe also beer)!
After enjoying the evening we prepared our packs ready for our journey on the morrow. My pack was somewhat more challenging than hers. Desafortunatemente my sparking of joy on the Pyrenees had reverted to something a little heavier once my luggage arrived. I also have a definite need to carry a sleeping bag and ensure I have enough warm clothes! The spy was only here for 3 days and was travelling light! But we were hoping not to sleep in any 90 bed dormitories!
My favourite tree
Hornillas in the distance
We arrived in Hornillas after a 20km walk from burgos and decided the best thing to do was to deploy a driver to move us forward to Casterojeriz so that we could undertake surveillance and make Fromista on the morrow. We hoped to catch trains from there to our respective destinations. I was to head to A Coruña and maybe Ferrol for the Camino Ingles and the spy was returning to Dublin via Madrid.
so after transferring from Hornillas to Casterojeriz we snagged a room in an Aussie run establishment that Zebra had recommended. (Casa Grevillea). This was an interesting reservation. I had called ahead from Hornillas and discovered that spanish speakers now ran the establishment. So I reserved a room with two beds and said muchas gracias.
When we arrived at the Casa the man welcoming us was definitely Australian and he happily took our details and payment and showed us to our room. Some time later whilst I was enjoying a cup of tea and a TimTam he informed me that he hadn’t had a phone there since last year. It was fortuitous that there was a room available on our arrival as he only had 3 rooms. The fact that I had called and the nice spanish lady had taken my reservation was neither here nor there! God knows where I had actually reserved a room!
We also had some decent food back at the meson where my beloved and I had stayed last year.
Although the asparagus does require some getting used to!
Unfortunately for the spy the sun was playing hide and seek with clouds and the chilling wind was picking up. We had walked in excess of 20 kms on day 1 and day 2 would be a longer run.
So after a reasonably early night we went to sleep ready for the 25 to 30 kilometre stroll into Fromista on the morrow.
We enjoyed a pleasant stay in the authentic village house sharing a bathroom and a wall with a rather unusual sounding man. We couldn’t quite work out from whence he was passing wind as it echoed through the wall during the night. There was also a strange whistling sound as he breathed out at times which was of deep concern.
In the morning I went downstairs first to make a vegemite sandwich and a cup of tea. There a Dutch man, who was not too old, joined me and made himself a coffee. I wondered if he was the phantom from behind the wall but ask him I did not.
I went about my business of packing my pack after I had made myself the sandwich and I left the spy some plain bread and butter – no point forcing vegemite on the uninitiated!
The wind was freezing as we wound our way through the streets of Casterojeriz to the bag drop off and out to the Meseta. We bid farewell and arranged to rendezvous at the first cafe we would arrive at. From memory it was bacon and eggs and a whole tomato if you were my beloved. As we battled the wind and the cold the thought of this reprieve gave us something to look forward to.
This part of the camino provides some stunning vistas. You may remember the magnificent rainbow from last year. As I made my ascent up the hill outside Castrojeriz (somewhat slower than the spy), I heard behind me a familiar whistling and groaning noise getting closer. I turned to see an elderly spanish man powering up the hill making all sorts of noises – Maybe he was the phantom behind the wall last night. Ask him I did not. We will never know now will we?
Well the day did not disappoint although to be honest- it was mucho frío! The wind whipped our faces and sent chills through my three layers of clothing. Nevertheless we were still greeted with some spectacular scenery and I managed to rest my feet and marvel at my Nyngan wool blister prevention regime before having my now annual photo with Eduardo in Boadilla del Camino.
The spy successfully obtained photo of the year at this location.
At one point I was moseying along minding my own business when a Korean couple, with the wind at their backs, went completely off piste and into the paddock beside me! I was astounded! The woman looked as though she was about to take off as they passed me. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, there wasnt even a hypotenuse in sight! And then it hit me. They were going to cut me off at the pass. And they were creating a hypotenuse where there was none! They were actually going to form a parallelogram!
I had to let it go. This is not what the camino is about. No judgment. No self doubt. Just be at one with the world. This wasnt a race. I could make a parallelogram too if I wanted. But it would have to wait for another day.
I continued on following the viaducts into Fromista – this clearly was not the place to consider the parallelogram move! It was windy and the water was close. It was all I could do to keep myself upright by the time I wandered into town.
We made a timely decision to take a room at hotel Doña Mayor in Fromista and could not have been happier. Last year me beloved and I had bunked at the Municipal Albergue with the Brazilian national snoring champion- we had had a memorable meal at doña mayor with the Sommelier – it was the night we met the Irish oracle, our wonderful friend the fräulein and we became reaquainted with the American day nappers over wine and food!
This visit did not disappoint either! The staff were completely charming and could not do enough to help us – even buying our railway tickets for us!
In the morning we meandered through the back streets in plenty of time for the train to Palencia. The wind was even colder and we were glad to have a waiting room in which to hide from the cold.
A couple of nice spanish ladies kept watch over the platform and laughed each time we went out hopeful the noises we were hearing were the train arriving. It was very late but my train to A Coruña didnt leave Palencia until after 1 and the spy could catch many trains to Madrid throughout the day.
We eventually arrived in Palencia and said our farewells at a cafe near the bus station. Amazing how eventful three days in Spain can be and how lucky was I to start my caminoing with the very same person we had started with last year after meeting at the train station in Bayonne ! How lucky are those that can pop over from Europe and the UK for a weekend or two!
Now here I sit facing backwards in the aisle seat on a seven hour train journey bound for A Coruña. I am left handed and my left elbow is beside my neighbour, an older spanish man who has the window seat and is convinced that his right elbow should have right of way over the middle arm rest. I am in no mood for argument as I type away on my keyboard. My left elbow wins. He is not that elderly.
I am eating Pringle’s that I bought in the bar carriage as the bocadillo jamón that I bought at the bus station is inedible. What did I expect! A ham sandwich isn’t always a ham sandwich is it. To top it all off my folding keyboard has changed back to spanish again and I can´t google how to change it back to English because the signal is so bad. (Control shift for future reference!)
A heap of people disembarked at Leon and my neighbour informs me he was going to the bar and will not be coming back because he is only going to Astorga. We part on good terms and I quickly nab the window seat.
I am somewhat disturbed to see the train had changed direction. On the one hand, I now have a forward facing window seat, but on the other hand I could be going back from whence I had come! Fortunately we soon arrive in Astorga and my concerns are laid to rest! We are moving forward.
And I am moving forward – on to my next adventure – on to the Camino Ingles!
Hasta Mañana !