Another amazing day. Didn’t leave Burgos until 10:00 today, as I wandered around the old city. On the tour last night saw an arch I really liked and wanted to see it by day. Keyhole shaped and part of the massive wall that surrounded the city. Once I found the road we were on last night I just followed it. Last night the lit buildings caught my attention, but today it was the massive ancient walls. And the chestnuts! They were everywhere, smooth, shiny, ripe nuts and the broken prickly outer skins (thoughts of Bob and Emma’s wedding cake- but these are not the edible variety). The more I’ve wandered through Burgos the more I’ve liked it. It would be easy to stay.
On the way out of town I finally saw a stork in one of the many storks’ nests nestled on the bell tower of a church!
Then I ran into a fellow pilgrim Valentine. He has bonded very strongly with the 5 women from Nelson, BC and I have come to know him as our paths have frequently crossed. He is from Burgos, but lives in Sweden and speaks English with a very unusual accent that is tinged with strong traces of both Spain and Sweden. He is taking advantage of being home and is staying nearby with family for a day or two. He was returning home from shopping. It added a different depth to Burgos to know I was in his neighborhood.
Gradually I passed through the fringes of Burgos, until I crossed a multi-lane road to no where, turned and was in a quite different country side. Stark, flattish, horizons endless. Arid, quite windy. Occasional scrubby brush or trees near tiny creeks. Fell into step with Eduardo and Nando. They teased me a bit – they call me “Flash Jane” because I usually go zipping by them. They are very easy to be with, and for the first time I ended up walking most of the day with the same companions. Very comfortable periods of silence, talking with one or the other of them separately, or us all together. English, espanol, portugués. Feel very close to both of them. We had a wonderful lunch together. Later on a bridge crossing a small dammed creek we spied two river lobsters laboriously climbing the spillway. We paused to watch and were soon joined by the same group of Koreans that I walked with intermittantly so long ago outside Burguete, including Sun-hwa, Yuni, Seo-yeon, Sung Yung & Sean. This is the first time since then I’ve seen them all together – they usually walk by twos or alone. Like so many others they all caught up in Burgos. Good first talk with Sean and catch up talk with Seo-Yeon.
Paused at a tiny shady oasis with an old fashioned metal water pump, cool, sweet water, and the rustle of wind in the leaves. Sat at picnic table. Took out binoculars and watched a flock of quail, and a couple of vultures.
At four o’clock finally arrived at our destination, Hornillos del Camino, a tiny, untouristy outpost whose municipal albergue with 32 beds was full. The people who ran the albergue were working on overflow accommodations in that cheerful way I’ve come to associate with the best of the camino. E, N & I decided to push on to San Bol, another 6k. Don’t worry about beds there, we were told. No one wants to stay there, there is no electricity, hot water – or toilets. Decidedly intrigued we set out. This part of the path each walked alone.
It was beginning to cool down, but was still windy and I soon depleted what little water I had as I had neglected to refill at Hornillos. I caught up with two Australian pilgrims, Tracy and Oliver, who graciously filled my little cup. Then I slowed down traversing more amazing, limitless, absolutely treeless space. Until finally, the ground dropped and nestled at the bottom of this unexpected depression was one lone stone building and the most welcoming grove of poplar tress. San Bol. Eduardo and I who were a few minutes a head of Nando knew instantly that we could not be anywhere else so perfect. It got better when we arrived at the grove to find a wonderful spring fed fountain and a pool deep enough to totally submerge in. I have never tasted better water in my life, and my feet were soaking in the pool as soon as I could get my shoes off. Eduardo had his hammock up just as quickly. Utterly peaceful.
There were four other guests, German (Johan & Reinhardt) & Dutch (Kai & Fritz) – five when Werner arrived just as we were sitting down on the patio to a dinner of garlic soup & paella prepared by Judit, our hoteliera. After it grew dark and we had finished washing the dishes in the bucket next to the spring, Judit said she was going to prepare a surprise and made us wait a few minutes out side. When she opened the door and we walked into the small room it was lit by the blue flame of a flaming queimada – a traditional Galician drink where the flaming liquid is scooped up and let fall back into the bowl. Gathered together around the small kitchen table, we watched it fall, drank it, talked and sang. Each person sharing a special song. Cozy and warm when I finally crawled into my bed from where I could gaze through the window to the surrounding emptiness.
Another practically perfect day.
Note: The first time you leave a comment it will not appear until I approve it, which might be a day or two depending on internet availability.
5 Oct 2009