Again, we were only allowed to get up at 07h00 so it was a another peaceful start to the day. I had a bit of a cash crisis on this particular morning. I mistakenly thought that there was a cash machine in Villafranca. When I got there, it turned out that there was no cash machine until Burgos, two days away. After a moment of panic I went to the hotel and managed to persuade the manager to let me “draw cash” from them. I was so grateful as I had about Euro 1,20 left at that stage. I was so happy about having cash again that I just headed out of Villafranca and completely forgot to eat breakfast. This was silly as from there to San Juan de Ortega it is another 12km or so. Regardless, I really enjoyed the walk, especially the first part past Villafranca which climbed up and down through natural forest.
Needless to say, I had quite a large bocadilla for lunch, well, afternoon tea actually, in San Juan de Ortega. It ended up being a memorable stop because as I was leaving, Kevin arrived. It was so good to see him. I had met him on the train from Bayonne to St Jean. He had decided to spend a day in St Jean before starting and I hadn’t seen him since. We walked on together, with Cathy, who I had met on the road that morning. With lots to catch up on, we talked non stop and the 3,5km or so to Agés went by really quickly. I decided to go on to Atapuerco so that I had a slightly shorter day in to Burgos. I walked on with Rich and Scott and we had a good laugh as we went, so, basically, it was a very good day of walking.
The albergue had a tough job living up to the experiences in Granon and Tosantos but it had a nice sitting area outside and it was lovely to sit in the sun and chat and catch up on journal writing.
The next morning, I watched the sunrise on the way up to the view point above Atapeurca. It was such a clear day I could see all the way in to Burgos which was deceptive because it was still a good 16km away.
After such a wonderful start to the day the wheels came off a bit and I just felt really tired. I got into Obanje and stopped for some desperately needed coffee and bumped into Frank, a Chaplin in the Australian army and David, a Canadian minister. It was so good to see some familiar faces. I walked on with David. He had developed tendonitis in his shin and as a result was walking really slowly, i.e. my pace! We walked in to Burgos together. It was a long hard slog in to the town through some pretty boring industrial areas. We had discussed going to the Emaus albergue, another parish run hostel but we managed got somewhat disorientated, note, not lost, but disorientated to the extent that we thought we were about 4km further than we were. This was a bit of a blow. It seemed to much of a detour to get to the Emaus albergue so we headed straight for the Cathedral and the municipal albergue there. It was a great call. The albergue was amazing and literally a few hundred meters from the Cathedral. The long slog into Burgos made walking into the square and seeing the Cathedral so special.
It was a stunning day and, being a Sunday, the square was full of people and there was such a wonderful atmosphere. It was a really special afternoon - I found Suzie and KKin again, I went and sat in the Plaza Mayor and wrote my journal and just watched the people, met up with David, Andy, Dale and few others in the square, went to Mass, and then had a drink with Dan, Dom, Caz and Mel. I had last seen them heading into Puenta La Riena so it was great to see them again and catch up. It was a wonderful afternoon and evening.
This day was very much a case of meeting the right people at the right time. I was feeling so battered and tired when I caught up to David and Frank. If I hadn’t met up with them it would have been a really very difficult day but as it was it was one of the best.
I was privileged to spend a lot of time exploring wilderness areas in southern Africa from a very young age. I got my first camera when I was 6 years old and I have been passionate about wildlife and landscape photography ever since.