After a delightful night’s sleep at Pam and James’ home in Fredericksburg, we took off on Friday morning to have lunch in Williamsburg with our Camino mentors. Russ’ sister Phyllis and her husband Otis introduced us to the Camino in 2007 when they walked it for the first time. We thought they had lost their minds when they told us about their plans. However, their photo of relaxing in Molinaseca changed our minds and we too became Camino lovers. It was wonderful to share some time with them on the way home from this adventure.
From there, we went to get our Stela. She remembered us and was happy to see us. Daughter Meg and son-in-law Steve loved for to pieces, and were not really sorry to have us take her back. She is a lot of dog, especially for dachsund enthusiasts. We had another good night’s rest and drove the 12 hours to Florida on Friday, beating Tropical Storm Nestor to Gainesville. A perfect ending to the trip!
The bus ride from Burgos to Madrid is only a couple of hours. The scenery is beautiful, through mountains and desert. The bus dropped us at the airport and we caught a shuttle to the Ibis Aeropuerta hotel. It has almost 200 rooms and was a beehive of efficient, friendly service. We cringed when we saw the line to checkin. But it took only minutes for the staff to handle a dozen or so ahead of us.
Our rooms were clean and comfortable. The bar is open 24/7 for cool drinks and bar food, which we were ready to enjoy. The dining room opened at 7:30, a wonderfully welcome time for pilgrims. In the morning, they start serving breakfast at 4:00! Happily, we did not need to be there until 7:00. We caught the shuttle again and were at the airport to begin the — always awful — flight across the ocean.
All in all, in very acceptable ending to a marvelous time in Spain!
Yesterday’s weather bluster calmed to steady chill by this morning. We woke to 39 degrees and sunshine. All the locals had their winter coats on. We donned ALL our layers and ventured out for a morning of coffee and working on our sketchbooks.
In the afternoon, already feeling sorry our Camino was ending, we walked the city in our backpacks until time to head for the bus station and Madrid for tomorrow’s return to Virginia.
The morning was a foggy swirl of mountain mist and the Boar Hunting Club. We finally got coffee and headed out to taxi over the mountain. Because we wanted more time at the archeological site in Atepuerca, we jumped ahead up the mountain by taxi and saved several walking hours.
We walked from San Juan de Ortega into Atapuerca, a world heritage site. We dropped our backpacks at our pension, which was not yet open for checkin, and walk almost a mile out to the site. Unfortunately, being Saturday and a national holiday, all the tours were “completo”. Bummer! We walked back to town
We checked in and hated the place. One bath shared with at least four rooms. Electrical wires hanging out of the walls. Sloshy beds. And a cost that was higher than much nicer places we had stayed.
I went hunting and found good accommodations at an albergue with some small private rooms. We swallowed the non- refundable reservation and moved happily across the street. Spent the rest of the day on art and chatting with other pilgrims at a Paneria with a lovely gazebo.
In the evening, we had a picnic of cheese, bread, olives, and meats in the common area of the casa where our rooms were. A couple from Australia and two young American women who met as high schoolers in Hong Kong, joined us.
We started the morning, very briefly, along the road again. The truckers redeemed themselves for sweeping away our energy yesterday. Today they honked, waved, and gave us a thumbs up to encourage us onward. Yay, Truckers.
The trail soon moved away from the road. The vistas were expansive. The villages were welcoming. We completed our 7+ miles by 1:00, washed clothes and hung them. Spent the rest of the afternoon painting and blogging.
Our 10-mile walk today began with a full buffet breakfast at the Paradore in Sant Domingo. The first half of the walk was wonderfully scenic. We went , in a blink, from vineyards and harvesting yesterday to fields of grain and tilling today. Near Granon, we wished we could take 360 degree photos of the fields and mountains.
The energy from the sky above lifted us up. The energy from the earth below buoyed our feet and legs. What a morning!
The second half of the walk continued with rolling hills covered by harvested fields. Unfortunately, the trail paralleled a major road, with abundant truck traffic. The road noise swept away the sky-energy and overroad the earth-energy.
It was hard to hold onto the morning’s glory. We got tired and sore.
Rain was forecast, however the morning was dry , overcast, and in the upper 50s. We walked up and through the red clay cliffs behind Najera. The scenery was special all day. First we had vineyards and red clay. Then we had harvest fields and long views of the trail and the pilgrims ahead of us
We walked out of the Hotel Calle Mayor in Logrono this morning at 8:00. The sun was bright. The temperature was 50. A stiff breeze was blowing.
We walked all through the old city and the newer sections. Kids were walking and biking to school. The sidewalks were full of life. A group of about 25 buff, young runners went by. I tried to get a photo. Yikes, they were Guardia Civil. Can’t photograph the military. Thank goodness they did not take my iphone.
For 4 miles, we were in the heart if the city, then a city park and a linear park. Many folks, mostly not young, were exercise-walking out the trail and back.
The second half of our 8-mile distance today was less scenic and had more challenging hills. Nevertheless, it was a great day on the Camino.
We arrived in Navarrete, had some refreshments, checked in to the Villa de Navarrete, washed clothes, and now are sitting in the town square enjoying village-wide free Wifi.
We gave ourselves a shorter walk today, about 6 miles, mostly level. Logrono is a lovely city and we wanted to soak it in. We arrived to fine a marathon ongoing and most of the street closed. People were cheering the runners from every intersection. I saw several runners stop to hug their fans. That was special :).
We spent most of our time wandering on the squares, stopping for coffee, washing clothes at our hotel, and enjoying the ambiance.
On Day 5, Saturday, we walked 11.7 miles from Los Arcos to Viana. It was an awesome weather day. The first 6 miles or so were quite level and lovely. The second half had lots of climbs and downhills. The sky was blue and clear. We are tired and happy. Russ and I have now walked every step of the Camino Frances, from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Santiago, at least once.
We spent the morning exploring Estella and found a delightful woodworking shop as we walked the marble-lined streets. We flew over the mountain between Estella and Los Arcos on a magic carpet. Sweet ride.
After our morning in Estella, we spent the afternoon in Los Arcos. It was a delightful rest day, full of art and blogging, a visit to the church and its Black Madonna, the main square and the village portal.
On Day 3 we walked about 9 miles from Cirauqui on Roman roads, past a Roman bridge, past vineyards, along a river, and o to Estella. the Hosta Agora was perfect. we slept better last night, without the iconic striking of the church bell every 15 minutes and tolling of the hours 🙂 in Cirauqui 🙂 That had its own charm, but last night was quieter. we had dinner at the Bar Florida.
The morning has been lovely—-and much more flat than yesterday. we extended our walk to visit the famous octagonal-shaped church possibly built by the Knights Templar in the image of the Church of the Holy Sepluchre, at Eunate. Soon after we arrived, two bus loads of German Christians pulled in to have Mass in the courtyard. We were ready to walk on.
The afternoon was not so flat. We wore ourselves out again.
On our first day of walking we covered 10.6 miles, including climbing the Hill of Forgiveness. Lo and behold, our cares and worries we’re all blown away at the top. Our tired legs however, did not notice the forgiveness. They really ached on the way down the other side. Yikes are we ever tired. Our rooms at the Albergue Camino del Perdon in Uterga are on the third floor. Ugh, no lift. Now my clothes are washed and hanging to dry. I am showered and flat on my bed 🙂