Day 17 – The Meseta shows it’s beauty

Our dinner in Hornillos is quite nice, and I think many were delighted. We had met up with Benita again as she had left Burgos same day we had.  I also met Maureen from Toronto. (Young & St. Clair)  Hornillos is a very small, isolated town. Accommodations and services are extremely limited. After dinner a group decide to accompany Zeb into the fields around Hornillos and set off a collection of fireworks he has been carrying for days. I have only seen videos taken on a cell phone…..somewhat glad to have missed this one. Despite all of this we are to a person well fed, and able to have a very good nights sleep.

Morning comes and we head out around 7:45 am and the weather is a brisk 8 degrees Celsius, with a full field of stars above us. This is a bit later than we wanted to start, but today is just over 20 km and doesn’t appear to be much of a physical challenge.

About 5 km out of town we come across a sign saying there is an Albergue and breakfast available 100 m to the left. I am the last agree to head down this side road to San Bolt. We discover a beautiful oasis and a small 12 bed Albergue hidden from the main view. A highlight of the site is a natural springing cool, clear fresh water. For 3 Euros we have a wonderful breakfast. Nathan from San Diego is there and a couple from Johannesburg, South Africa, and a woman from Scotland.

Before long we refill our water bottles from the natural spring and resume the Way.

Walking through the Meseta is wonderful. The variations in the land are much more subtle and our trail appears to take us mostly through valleys. The surrounding hills are actually plateaus and we weave our way smoothly between and around. For one stretch we are walking on the side of a plateau. The narrow path is easy to negotiate and provides a beautiful view of a valley system. We also have a gentle breeze keeping our “pet flies” away for a bit. Never fear… they will never fail to return.

We stopped again for an early lunch and met up again with Benita. Today is Sunday so we are mindful, if you find something open, get it….you may not be so lucky later on. After our quick stop Nathan and Benita become walking partners and we head out for the 10 km left in today’s journey.

Bene and I are walking and we start singing a traditional Irish drinking song “Wild Rover”. If you are not aware, during the chorus everyone is required to clap 4 times, quite loudly if possible. As we have walking poles in our hands we jab them into the road and stomp our feet. During our impromptu performance, being completely absorbed, we miss the markers for the trail and people start yelling to correct our mistake. The song wasn’t quite finished so their calls were not heard until we were a hundred or so metres into our mistake.

No problem….we stumbled back laughing and joined the trail again.

One man, Mike from Miami, was quite amused at our “song and dance”. After explaining what was going on in our little reality he was intrigued to participate as well. We promised to break out the ukulele in our destination tonight. (Unfortunately we didn’t see Mike that night and sadly didn’t sing the song…..this will have to happen later) Unfortunately we never saw Mike again….

One note: Mike is actually a member at the Ocean Reef Club. For those who do not get this reference, this is where my Mother winters in Florida. Small planet.

We check into the Albergue in Castrojeriz and get some of the few remaining beds. Low and behold Mark and Zeb have stopped here as well. After phone calls and showers we head out for a group dinner.

Our group is joined by Ian from Auckland and Nicklas from Sweden. Nicklas is walking/running the Camino and has arrived from Burgos today! We understand this is our only evening with our new friend making it even more special. He will be well ahead of us by end of day tomorrow.

As no one has fireworks, our stomachs are full of very good food, and we have a bigger day ahead of us tomorrow, we head off to bed.

Tomorrow we start at 6:30.

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