Walking Toward Windmills

April 14, 2015
Hornillos to Castrojeriz (Population: 500)
7:45 AM to 1:20 PM
21.35 in 5 hrs 35 min

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This is the first day we felt quite indecisive. We wondered about continuing walking, but the next albergue was nine km further. It has been a perfect day for walking, 20 C with a light breeze in our back, no climbs too strenuous. This is a good albergue with many possibilities for food in the village. The one down the road is isolated and we don’t know what the possibilities for food are nor whether there will be room there. We had already booked here at La Posada. There is 80% chance of rain tomorrow, and we have 25 km to go, but we finally decided to stay here. Once we lay down and put our feet up against the wall, it always feels like the right decision.

We crossed two mesetas this morning, always walking toward windmills. As one set got closer the next set was visible on the horizon. Many minuscule flowers along the roadside: some grape hyacinths and small dandelions then a variety of flowers less than a centimetre in diameter: white, blue and white, various pinks, yellow. Not many trees but a few small groves here and there, more than we saw yesterday.

One of the amazing ruins we saw was the 14th century convent at St. Anton. It must have been a large thriving Tau community, part of the Antonine order of France. Bread used to be left out for pilgrims. Not anymore. There is a 14 bed albergue, no electricity. We kept moving.

We saw our first castle ruins high on a hill above Castrojeriz, from the ninth century. It looks massive, but unless someone is driving us there, we will rely on telephoto.

We ate our lunch on the garden wall outside the large church, Santa Maria de la Manzana ( Our Lady of the Apple) at the entrance to Castrojeriz. There is a beautiful huge rose window which must be stunning from the inside but the church was not open.

This is noted as a very sleepy town where what the people do best is siesta except for July when there is a vibrant garlic festival.

Yesterday and today there were moments along the trail where we were accosted by clouds of flies which looked suspiciously like black flies. Fortunately we have no bites.

Our new digs have two antique wooden three quarter beds and a single cot, a longer bath tub that fills more slowly, a bidet AND a sewing kit. Brian has wanted one of those. He sewed a tuck into his waistband. I just pull my belt tighter. We do not have a view but there is a covered courtyard below us where Margaret just retired too.

Yesterday our host was Samuel whose sister married Emilio Estevez’ son. Martin Sheen’s grandson. Samuel has a big poster on his wall of The Way, signed by both Martin and Emilio, Margaret showed him the photos of Mom with Martin when she was part of the crowd in The Dead Zone for which our brother John was Production Manager in 1983. Samuel was delighted and asked Margaret to send him the photos for him to share with his sister and brother-in-law and family.

Last night at supper a French man had a heart attack. The ambulance came from Burgos, half an hour away ( more than five hours on foot). The French group he was with told us this morning he was in intensive care in Burgos, was improving and would be returning to France, not continuing walking. It did make for a disturbing meal. The restaurant owners did an admirable job. There were only 20 of us, a full house; half of them the French group.

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