The road from Hontana is fairly flat and through pasture as much as cultivated land I am so excited about getting to Castrojeriz that I forgot that on the way are some of the most romantic ruins on the Camino.
The ruins are what is left of a monastery and hospital for pilgrims that was founded by Alfonso VII in 1146. What remains are arches and three walls of the church and the gateway and more walls of the complex. One archway spans the road itself.
The place is called San Anton and was famous for curing and healing. There is an albergue within the ruins that is open to the elements and looked like a cool place but it was early in the day and after wandering and taking photos I decided to walk on to Castrojeriz- only three more kilometers and within two I could see the town in the distance.
There is a tall hill above the town and on top the ruins of a castle and as I approached there was the church of Santa Maria del Manzano. Cantigas 242,249,252 and 266 have [...]
Have to tell you about the pass over the mountains above Roncesvalles. It is a long day of ever climbing upward and the day I was there was spectacular. The views kept me going round and round and up and up. Then you come to a point where you can see the final bit and it looks to be a rough track that is almost vertical. I have to admit that my heart sank and I began to have doubts about being able.
Just then, a voice behind me says "I think it's a harp." I say yes it is and a man appears beside me declares he is Irish and that he and his companion were debating as to what I was pulling. He and his companion were part of a group of fifteen Irish doing the trek. Well, they made me laugh to the point that I completely forgot the trail ahead. They all blessed me as they passed me by and I was moved by their sincerity and thankful for the laughter. Then they all went off the trail to look a cross that is at the base of the scary bit and I kept trudging on. I was only a little way [...]
I just heard that someone read about me in the Irish press.
There were some Irish folks on the mountain the day I climbed the pass and they took my picture and one claimed to be from in the press but I took that with a grain of salt. Later a lady told me she had read it and that there was a picture of me..
I've just spent some time looking but no success. If anybody has time to search the web and find it I would love to see it!
I'm half way to Santiago!
This was my first really hot day. No shade and the kind of weather that I had been led to expect. I was still not ready for it after so many days of cool and rain. I made it to Rabe de las Calzadas very tired and played in the church of Santa Mariña and rested there that evening.
The next day I began my ascent of the first mesa, After a steep road up I found myself in a different world. Flat and dry with windmills and sparse fields and off in the distance other mesas with the land between invisible. I trudged on and up and eventually into Hornillios, a village little changed by the last few centuries. It was only mid afternoon so decided to push onward over the pass to Hontana.
This is truly lonely country and as I walked alone I seemed surrounded by silence. I could only hear birdsong whenever I paused to rest. I became concerned as dark clouds were gathering to the west - the direction I was walking - and I really hoped to be able to reach Hontana before the storm hit. [...]
I left Santo Domingo on the Summer Solstice and it was a glorious day, not a cloud in the sky and almost too cool. The road was over gently rolling hills and the villages were all tucked into river valleys with sometimes only the spire of the church visible over the wheat and barley fields. About midday I crossed the border of Rioja and into Castilla y Leon. The border is at the top of a ridge and when you look down into Castilla y Leon it really is different from Rioja. The landscape is dryer with no more vines and the fields are bigger - there is rye as well as wheat and barley. And very little shade. I finally made it to Belorado which was a day of over 22 km and my feet were really unhappy from having to walk on so much paved road.
This was a day I did not play.
The next day was an easy one as I only went half as far to the village of Villafranca. I made more friends by playing there in the evening. From Villafranca I took the bus to Burgos to avoid a steep bit and also [...]