So, apart from losing a pair of socks in Logrono, I could not find a blue tee-shirt I had left out overnight to dry. Oh well, to be expected I suppose. After leaving the albergue I searched for a photo shop to buy another memory card. They didn’t open till 10am so I had breakfast with Boogey, Lorenzo, Mateja and others. The coffee was great and it was another fine morning. Again it was difficult to leave the fine coffee and croissants! We said our goodbyes at the cathedral as I went to buy memory card. I would catch up with everyone later.
The Way continued out of Burgos through the stately university grounds and past a high security prison where megaphones were blaring out to the inmates. The Camino passed through a flat wide valley. Some time later a lady rode up behind me on her bike and started chatting. Her name was Mercedes and she was recommending an albergue in the village of Rabe de Calzadas. It wasn’t many kilometres away so I doubted I would stop there that night. She made it sound very welcoming and a good place to stay. I had the feeling however that she was employed by the albergue to drive pilgrims to the accommodation!
It wasn’t long till I reached Rabe de las Calzadas. I walked on straight past the albergue recommended by Mercedes. The Camino climbed slowly and the heat was intense, though still not as hot as the Pays du Quercy in France. Patricia from Hungary was heading in the opposite direction – she was too tired. Part of the way up was a perfect wild camping spot – a group of trees surrounding a grassy area with pique-nique tables. I sat for a while as the breeze drifted peacefully through the trees.
The country was becoming very dry and almost desert like. The hills were not that high and apparently used to be the bed of an ancient sea. Was this the start of the Mesetas? I wasn’t sure. It was a strangely beautiful ‘moonscape’. Climbing steadily, I finally reached the top and was happy to see the village of Hornillos del Camino far ahead.I had run out of water and was starting to feel very tired due to the extreme heat. It was so peaceful that a bizarre idea came into my head. Why not invent a small cube, solar powered, that contained a small speaker and produced calming sounds of the Meseta. Maybe the heat was getting to me!! On the Camino it is amazing the thoughts that enter the mind – perhaps as a result of the simple life, the exercise, the fresh air and the heat. It is almost a higher state of mind.
Just before the village I said hello to an elderly couple who were heading up the hill. Surely they were not heading the almost nine kilometres back to the previous village in this heat? They were both probably over eighty years old and there were no other buildings in that direction.
On a small bridge by a small river was a large group of elderly locals laughing and joking and enjoying the simple life. After now more that six weeks of walking every day, I started to understand that a life of simplicity is possibly what it takes to be truly happy. All the daily problems of the modern world start to seem quite insignificant in relation to what is really important. Perhaps these ‘elders’ had found the true passage to happiness and the simple life.
Hornillos del Camino was a delightful village, simple, with a single winding main street. What was refreshing was that there were no cars and no traffic at all. Everyone moved about on foot. The albergue was just off a small square next to the church, and it was fully booked. Luckily the lady there said there was an emergency dormitory in the Mayor’s office building. A large group of Spanish cyclists arrived as I paid and went to the dormitory to leave my belongings.
I chatted with some other Spanish people while preparing dinner and they were enthusiastically drawing maps of Spain on napkins to indicate the different states and regions of this fascinating country. I learnt a lot from them. After dinner the evening light was so special that I spent a long time near the church trying to capture the moment. A whisky bought by Lorenzo in my honour was a perfect way to end what had been a magical day of walking on the road to Santiago.