Heather’s Camino: A Short 42km Walking Day to Burgos

As Heather continues walking the Camino, she’s updated us on an epic few days of travel, a bit of stalking and the HEAT!!


So, where was I?

Well, what day is it?  Oh , yes, let´s take it from Thurs night.  I stop at a refuge in Viloria de Rioja, obviously a bit new-agey and ethnic and it turns out there are only two of us.  A beautiful room, with wide beds and a few bunks.  I open the shower room door and there´s Andrew!  Oh, it was lovely to see someone I knew and we were the only two in the refugio.  It was a superb night´s rest, talking to the hospitaleros who had also been hospitaleros on The Meseta for a long time.

Now, if you´ve read The Alchemist, the plot thickens.  There were pictures all over the walls, of Paulo Coelho who wrote The Alchemist and Paulo´s books on a special shelf.  Andrew thought maybe it was him himself or his brother or his friend.  His wife is called Orietta. So if anyone wants to do any research and see if he´s living in a refugio on The Camino or whatever.  Anyway, it was interesting.

Andrew is just lovely, the sort whom any mother would be proud of – enthusiastic, good fun, interested, interesting etc.  I only include this detail because we seem to have followed each other for the next two days!

I leave the next morning and walk a beautiful day by myself, leaving La Rioja and entering Castilla y Leon.  Now, the guidebook says that this fact is reinforced at every corner, and I can´t help agreeing.  You are now in – Castilla y Leon.  This Camino is brought to you by means of – Castillo y Leon.  The route of El Camino through Castillo y Leon.  Yes,  I´ve got it.  It´s a great province.  And it´s told me.

I stay in Villafranca, in a hotel which has an albergue attached.  Very nice.  In walks Andrew.  Hi – we´re buddies now, of course, having been the only ones in the previous night´s refuge.

I have a lazy afternoon, drinking juice and buying food, reading the very heavy book that Andrew lends me.  Heavy in every way possible.  It´s about – er – wait a minute – Oh I know, kind of how come it´s the western Europe bit of the world and America that happens to have developed like this and how come say, the people of the Soloman Islands etc. haven´t?

I meet David for dinner in the hotel (at 7 euros for paella, bread peach and wine – it´s very reasonable, isn’t it!) Anyway I tell David about this very dense reading and he says casually – Oh, you mean Jerard Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel.

Er yes.  Aren´t some people so knowledgeable.  Have I spelt that right?  Ah well, he can´t speak a work of any language so there.

I play a game of hunt the protein in the paella.  I think I spotted a 2 cm bit of chicken but I must say the rice was a very nice colour so that´s alright.

Now, yesterday.  Oh, crikey.  If I tell you I walked 42 km in searing, cruel heat, you´ll realise why I was so overjoyed to collapse into Ulrike and Alessandro´s arms over the bridge in Burgos.

You mean you walked from Villafranca Montes de Oca to Burgos in one day??  You´re mad!

Yes, well I didn´t mean to.  There are two or three options at various points.  First of all I see Andrew at St Juan de Ortega (you´re right, Jackie and Mike, it is beautiful).  I assure him I´m not following him.  Then I bump into David in Altapuerca, where he said he was staying.  It made sense as the heat was unbelievable.  But (Oh, Heather, said in that disappointed kind of way) I said I was going to push on a bit as there was a refuge at Cardeñuela.

I bumped into Andrew near Cardeñuela.  Honest, honest, I´m not following him.  I say goodbye (yet again) and go and ask for the refuge.  At this point I was totally bushed and imagining just collapsing on a bunk.

The refuge is closed owing to an infestation, presumably bedbugs.

Wearily, wearily, wearily, I think about the bus that has been suggested into Burgos.  Anyone else would take a bus.

Apart from me.  Come on, Heather.  Animo, animo!!  Which I think is Spanish for Go Girl, Go!

I ran and caught Andrew up, checked where the bus was.  Let him go on and started trudging.

The heat doesn´t lessen.

Burgos is going to be fabulous.  I don´t care.  I am …..can I put this any other way than……. knackered?  Please don´t be offended.  Spanish estuvo polvo.  French totalement epuisee.

Anyway, Burgos IS fabulous and I´ll tell you about my rest day in Burgos, my strange 1st night

in Burgos (, er, not allowed a meal till after mass…heck…)

Thank you for all your emails, I get them replied to one by one

Have fun


Heather xxxx

That third day was an epic of of overheated strolling, I wonder how much water you’re getting through Heather?  Clearly the wobbly hip was playing ball.  Let’s hope it continues to do so.

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