Friday, May 8, 2009

May 7 Burgos to Hornillas

Aaah, the incredible recuperative powers (coupled with anti-inflammatory cream and Advil) of the human body. It´s amazing what a good night´s sleep, even with tired aching legs and feet grumbling at you all night, can do for you. I was sure I´d never walk again after yesterday´s 40kms.

Plans are made and plans are made to be revised and refined. The alberque in Burgos was willing to store backpacks while pigrims toured the city but it was an all or nothing policy whereby you had to vacate by 8am or wait until after 12pm to retrieve your packs and then start the day´s 20+ km hike after lunch. We decided to count yesterday´s grueling crawl through the streets of Burgos looking for the alberque and last night´s outdoor dinner in the Playa Major in the shadows of the catedra as our sightseeing tour.

That decision set, we took our packs and joined the noisy throngs of the ´not get up and go´types in the gigantic common room which was abuzz with those having breakfast, using the computer, setting out bikes or bags and easing eaching feet into still dust covered boots. We headed out by 8:15 and, with all the energy or "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead", we burst into the first panaderia all the way and ordered everything in sight: one croissant, a chocolate croissant, a twisted crunchy sugary donut com pretzel and two thin crispy sugared elephant ears. All were devoured quickly without a single calorie counting guilt-filled thought.

We followed the yellow Camino arrows out of Burgos onto a grey stone road that took us into our first glimpse of the Meseta. A quick caffeine break in Tarajados and then another 10km to Hornillas del Camino. The alberque was clean but exceptionally cramped and the proprietor ran a strict ship, you had the mop the floor after your shower. Since we arrived before 12:30pm, we had a sunny, leisurely afternoon to enjoy a lunch in the square, a lunch of those big bulbous green onions, tomatoes, ham, bread, apples and lots of wine and beer.

A couple of interesting side notes here. There was an interesting trio we passed along the way and who, as it happens on the Camino, showed up at the same stop. The man and women, brother/sister or boyfriend/girlfriend I never got clear, were doing the Camino from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago with the woman´s three and a half year old son. He had on his hiking boots but they also had a big stroller with them for when he tired and he charmed everyone in the square all afternoon and evening. We´re not sure whether this group was pilgrim or free spirits because they didn´t seem to have a place to stay but were, I think, counting on the Camino providing and it seemed to be doing so.

The other tale is of Bruce Graham from Vancouver who got an infected toe from lancing a blister. He had had it treated in Logrono and went into the emergency room at Burgos to have it looked at again and to have the dressing changed. He said the emergency room was packed and noisy but, after giving his information, he settled down to wait. His wait turned out to be SIX MINUTES! before he was called into triage, saw a doctor, had xrays and the bandage changed and was out the door in unter 35 minutes. And not once was a fee mentioned.

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