Villamentero – May 31

It was very good to be walking again! It was an easy level 10K, about 6 miles. When we started out, in this Mediterranean climate (which Chris has pointed out is more northerly than Boston) the temperature on the thermo meter read 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Did I tell you about Victor? We met him in Sto. Domingo the evening we had decided to take the bus to Burgos. We were at the bus kiosk trying to find information about a bus the next morning. He was looking for the same info. He lives in Holland but speaks fluent Spanish. He was very helpful. We chatted for while and we talked about how cold we were. When we saw him the next morning for the bus he said he’d told his wife about us and she said, “Tell them if the want to be warm they should get on a plane to the Canary Islands and lie in the sun!”
We saw this as we left Fromista.
The Meseta is a region of high plains the extends from Burgos to Leon. It is very flat with open fields and little shade. It is also know for being very warm, and in the 9th in late June – August. That was the reason we decided to walk in the Spring and also for the wild flowers.
We found a small park with benches out side of one town and joined some other pilgrims for lunch of our salami, cheese & bread from the open market yesterday. Some other scenes along the way:
This town had 2 places to stay listed on the guide, Castille Dona Petra, casa rural, like B & B or an albergue where you could get a bunk for €6, a teepee for €5 or a hammock for €3.
I don’t think the donkey in the background is included with the hammock! We went with Dona Petra, a double Room With Our own bath, no Top bunk!


Fromista cont’d

Several other treats in Fromista, besides the clean laundry.
First the sun was shining! It was windy, but the sun felt really good. This town was not built on a hill and the lay out now seems more modern with wider street in the center of town, but they are probably more narrow in another part of town. My guide book mentioned that Friday was market day and luckily we stumbled on it near the church plaza.

We found Tony and Martin who sell cheese and meat like sausage and ham. The were happy to cut smaller size pieces for us to take for lunch tomorrow. They travel from town to town on different market days. Tony has walked the Camino twice, speaks English really well and would love to go go California if he can sell enough cheese!!
D as D bought an apple and some cherries and we headed back to the albergue. It ha some lovely gardens and sitting areas but the bunk bed room is colder than outside and no amount of begging would get us both bottom bunks.
Tomorrow we are back on the trail again for a flat six miles.

Unexpected Pleasures – Fromista , May 30

20140530_114552After we decided to take the bus to Castrojeriz we realized we should have gone on to Fromista instead as there was a steep climb and even steeper descent between them with all kinds if warnings. The only bus from Castrojeriz to Fromista was at 6 pm which meant hanging around all day waiting for the bus. We had a lot of laundry to do & they had a place to do it at Fromista. SO We very guiltily took a taxi to Fromista. However, that brought us a lot of unexpected treats. The first was Jesus our driver who was a delight. He spoke no English but it’s amazing how we are able to understand more Spanish & communicate. He told us that the cold weather we were having was very unusual. He pointed out special towns & historical sites, stopped for me to take pictures of the famous Canal built in 1779 for irrigation.
As we were leaving a town he saw a pilgrim heading the wrong way so waved him down & redirected him much to appreciation of the lost pilgrim. (He was Korean, one of many young Koreans doing the Camino. The taxi driver noted this also.)
Since the albuergue didn’t open til 1 pm we had time to wander around town & see two of the churches. The first was San Pedro, a ‘newer’one from the 15th century.
The real treat was Saint Martin which Jesus told us to be sure to see. It was commissioned by the widow of Sancho III & built beginning in 1066!!! It is reputedly one of the finest examples of pure Romanesque architecture in Spain was subsequently restored but the main part was there.
The Christ figure above is from the 13th century. The statue of St. James (Santiago) is from the 14th century. Note his traditional scallop shell, staff, cape. (No high tech clothes like the current pilgrims! )
I don’t know about this statue of the Virgin & child, but I liked it.

I’m going to post this before I loose it and will add some things later.

Castrojeriz – May 30th

A fascinating bus ride from Burgos to Castrojeriz. Big comfortable inter city bus that left the city the on to the main highway, But Not Long After That we went off onto small single lane roads, one not much more than a dirt road.

This service connects isolated rural villages that are hundreds of years old and not designed to for a big modern bus, maybe an oX cart! I wasn’t fast enough with my camera to get a picture of the bus going through a town with maybe 2 inches on each side, but imagine a bus going through this street.

Bye Bye Burgos

Some pictures from our hotel window & scenes around Burgos. First, all the farmacia have green neon cross signs with the time, temp & messages about controlling your cholesterol etc. When we went out at noon I caught this across from the hotel.
13.5 C = ~56 F. Our guide book keeps telling us we’ve now entered a Mediterranean climate. Really?? We met some people at the Evolution Muse (checking out the Atapuerca exhibit). The were from Penn. & we talked about their cold winter. They said it was warmer there now than here. The dad had lived in Ocean Beach & PB.
View of the cathedral from the museum. Dad with handkerchief.
Our hotel & pictures from our room.

Burgos – May 29

There was a lovely sunrise this morning, but alas it didn’t last long and now it’s raining again with temps in the low 50s. We are both anxious to get back on the road again & had planned to walk 6 miles today. Unfortunately numerous calls to the only albergue in town went unanswered. We decided it was to chancy to arrive there, possibly drenched with no place to sleep. So the plan is to bus to the tow after that then start walking again. That will get us up to only one day behind schedule. Yesterday afternoon we went to see the cathedral. It is overwhelming! It’s huge! There actually about 20 some separate chapels all around it, all incredible! Unfortunately the battery on my camera ran out so I only got a few pictures. But before we went in I had to take a picture just for Seeger of the tourist trolley parked in the plaza. I was wishing you were here Seeger so we could take a ride together!
The cathedral is a UNESCO world heritage site. I really want to read more about it. It is well organized. With our pilgrim credential we got in for 1/2 price. €3.5 You get a device like a telephone that tells you to push a number for a description of each chapel, built by some wealthy person. It was interesting how some of them were tombs for themselves, or full of busts of their family members while others were totally dedicated to a saint e.g. Saint Anne.
These of course don’t do it justice. I wish I knew how to put in a link. Our bus doesn’t leave til 5:30, but we have to check out in a few minutes & I’ll loose the hotel wifi. My Orange sim card is used up for this month until 6/3. I kept putting more € but it turns out that was for phone & text which I haven’t been using. That’s what happens when you aren’t a techie & can’t read all the messages in Spanish they send me! Til later.

Burgos & Sun (for a day)

While eating a pizza in Santo Domingo (we didn’t get the hot dog) we decided to take the bus to Burgos. I used helpful Trip Advisor to find a great hotel close to the bus station and the cathedral.
We had seen on the news there was a town that had gotten 6 inches of hail and from the bus we saw mountains not far away with snow on them. But when we got to Burgo…There was sun!
A long nap after checking in, then lunch. Their restaurant is only for breakfast otherwise you get room service. We got lovely salads. I’m embarrassed to show the picture as it shows the lovely French windows looking out on the park & river! I suggested that we could stay here for the next month & I’d make up stories for the blog.
In the afternoon we took a stroll along the park.
We learned there was a Carmelite convent not far away. Since Brian’s sister Cathy, Sister Mercedes, is a Carmelite nun in Concord, NH, we decided to visit and bring a nice box of chocolates. We were greeted at the turn (greeting window For orders that are not open to the public) by Sister Rosa. We stumbled along trying to explain about Sr. Mercedes, but it turns out Sr. Rosa was Korean! Unfortunately, I totally forgot to take the picture of her I intended, just go the outside. I know Sr. Mercedes & the NH Carmels are reading this, so we are thinking about along the way. Brian left your address so you might hear from them.
The good news is that Brian seems to be feeling much better. Amazing what having warm digs for a couple days can do to your health & spirit! The not so great news is that it was pouring this morning. Even this little dog had his own rain coat!
The sun seems to be trying to come out this afternoon, so hopefully tomorrow we can change from touristas back to peregrinos. We are off to visit the cathedral now.