Day 17 - Hontanas to Itero de La Vega

Date: May 13, 2018

Location: From: Hontanas To: Itero de La Vega

Mileage: 20.2 Km/ 12.6 Mi..

Weather: pretty weather but still cold and windy.

Temperature: Mid 30’s in the morning and in the 40’s in the afternoon

Lodging and Cost: Puente Fitero 8

Highlights: Not many! This section is rather boring It is on the Meseta, and a fair amount of climbing along the way. There ate views in the distance, but that’s about it.

Summary of the Day: 

Woke up or should I say was awakened at 4:45 by the Southern Korean couple across from me, and when I say across from me I mean about 6’ away. First thing they did was turn on all of the light and start to pack. It took them an hour to get all packed up. Finally they left, but failed to turn off the lights. We turned off the lights and stayed in bed. Not 5 minutes went by before they were back. They turned the lights on and started flipping their mattresses over, then left again, also leaving the lights on. By this time everybody was up and starting to pack, when here they come again. This time with the lady who owns or runs the Albergue. These people were accusing someone of stealing their cell phone. There was no proof or even a good suspect. We all just kept packing and got out of there. It was freezing cold and there was heavy frost on the grass and the wind was blowing hard. Even with a glove liner I was bitterly cold. I hadn’t walked too far before I caught up with Noel, from Ireland. I had met him back Espinosa. A real likable fellow. We walked together the rest of the day. It wasn’t too terribly long before we came to a bar, and stopped to get a cup of coffee and to warm up. I was so cold that I was afraid that I was going to drop the cup of coffee getting from the counter to my table. I had noticed a couple of days eariler that I was having a stomach ache, and it wasn’t good. I did carry on but it was getting worse as the day went on. I started to wonder if I had gotten into some bad  water or bad food. It was bad enough that that  I couldn’t eat even though I tried. I’m hoping that tomorrow would be better.  I  wa freezing cold. All during the night. Hopefully tomorrow it will be different.

This was not one of my better Camino days, hopefully I will have a Buen Camino

Day 16 - Burgos to Hontanas

Date: May 12, 2018

Location: From: Burgos To: Hontanas

Mileage: 31.5 Km/19,7 Mi..

Weather: very cold all day and cloudy in the morning with gray skies and very heavy head winds. Later in the day very cold still in the upper 40’s but blue skies and still very heavy winds,

Temperature: 40’s all day with heavy winds

Lodging and Cost: Juan de Yepes 8€

Highlights: Getting out of Burgos, and no rain.

Summary of the Day: 

I was awake at 6:00 and packing up to go. I had heard that it was supposed to rain all day but when I looked out the little window I didn’t see any. I finished getting ready to go and when I hit the street I saw water on the streets. I figured that it rained.  Then it dawned on me that the reason I didn’t sleep so well was that there was a street party. When ever they have street parties they clean up the streets and hose them down. As I walked up toward the Municipal Albergue I saw the streets were dry. As I approached the bar  I heard someone screaming. I got closer I saw two men at the bar and they were obviously talking about someone. I pushed on up the street and then I saw the man. He was screaming and making all sort of hand gestures. I didn’t look right. I stopped and walked back down the street and waited for someone to come up. Finally someone came up, but he didn’t speak English and I couldn’t explain what was going on. We just walked on then I didn’t hear anything or seem him again. Until near the top of the hill and he was screaming at the building but didn’t come toward us. We just pushed on.

We finally got out of the intercity and walking along the sidewalk near the park, that’s when I saw this girl come out of a la tienda (grocery store). I talked to her as we walked and I found out that she was from  Denmark and her name was Monica. She was about 25 and spoke the best English. We walked on for about 25 minutes and then I pushed on. The trail walked along a road and was compl tell level. It was so cold and the wind blew non stop. There were a lot of clouds, but still not rain, and that I was thankful for. The trail finally left the road and followed a path. It went along sled a prison, and they had large guard towers, so guess that some bad guys were in there. The trail continued to walk the path, but it paralleled an interstate and crisscrossed it a number of times. Finally I reached the little town of Tardajos and I saw a little bar, and he had a tent set up in front with a flameboy that was heating the tent. I saw Leeann coming down the street from the bar so I ask her how it was, and she told me that it was pretty good but limited supplies. She went on and I went in and got café con leche, and a tortilla Patata and a banana. It hit the spot. I ate that and moved on. After about an hour I caught up with asLeeAnn and we walked together the rest of the day. We were going to go to Hornillos Del Camino, but  we were making such good time. We got there at 10:45 after going 19.45 Km/12.1 Mi. In 3 hours and fifteen minutes. We felt good so we decided to push on to a wide spot in the road by the name of San Bol. There was a Albergue in the middle of a field, and across from it was about .5 Km off the trail to get there. There were two ladies were laying on a bench waiting on it to open and a man by a car. I went to the door that had beads hanging down and the man started making hand gestures so I asked him if the Albergue was closed and before he could answer a woman came out and lock the door and said that she would be back at 2:00, which was 2 hours a way. We put our packs back on and and walked out. We only had 4.7 Km to go to get to Hontanas, which had 3 Albergues and several restaurants. It was a tough walk as it was very cold and we fought a strong head wind, but about a hour later we made it. We were tired, sore, and cold. Even considering all of this I’m glad we pushed on and gotten here.

Again it has been a buen Camino.

Day 15 - Atapuerca to Burgos

Date: May 11, 2018

Location: From: Atapuerca To: Burgos

Mileage: 22.3 Km/13.9 Mi..

Weather: Freezing cold (Frost on the grass)

Temperature: 32F in the morning and in the low 50’S in the afternoon

Lodging and Cost: Jacobson Hotel (Pensión) 60

GPS Location: 42.°20.36.” N and 3°41.54” W

Highlights: Cruz de Matagrande at sunrise, walk along the river into Burgos.

Summary of the Day: 

Was awake at 5:45 this morning as the Frenchman in the bunk across from me was packing up to leave. I couldn’t believe how quite he was. I wish that I could pack that fast and quietly. Anyway after he was gone I laid in bed because the other three people were still in bed. After about 10 minutes the Brazilian couple got up and started packing so I sat up and started to get out of bed when the Canadian fellow above me said that he was a wake and that we could turn on the lights. I started packing and after about 15minutes everybody was packed and 3 out of the 5 were gone.

I went out side and was getting ready to leave when Patricia the French lady that went to dinner with me the night before came out to say good bye. Today is her last day when she gets to Burgos. We had a nice dinner together last night to celebrate her finishing another section of the Camino.

Right after that I headed out into the bitter cold, but clear blue sky. As I walked around I looked at the grass and it was covered with frost. The frost remained until about 7:45, but even after it melted it was still bitterly cold. I pushed on out of town and the trail started to climb, steeply at times I passed a heard of sheep in a fenced in area and they were all huddled together. I finally got to the top as the sun was starting to pot up over the horizon. I made it to the Cruz de Matagrande and looked back to see the cross and the sun coming up behind the cross. It was really a pretty sight. After several pictures I pushed on down the other side. I came to where the trail splits and a decision has to be made as to the path you want to walk. There was a man from Austria standing like he was lost. I asked him if he needed help and he told me he didn’t know which path to take. Since I had taken both paths in the past I told him the one straight ahead was about .4 Km shorter but while the one to the left was a little longer, it had a bar with hot café con leche on it, he chose the one to the left. We walked together for a while and he told me he had three weeks left, which is enough time to finish. I finally moved away from him to pick up my pace. It wasn’t  long before I was starting to pass a tall fellow with a pace about the same as mine, as I was passing I spoke to him. We started talking. He is from Australia and was on holiday. He had just come from Iceland and now walking the Camino. He, like me was talkative and we started talking about everything. His name was Jerrold, and he had finished his degree in Chemical engineering at the University in Australia. I really enjoyed his company and the conversation. We stayed together all the way into Burgos. We got to Downtown Burgos at 10:00. He asked me if I would like to have a cup of coffee before pushing on to my place for the night. I said yes, as it was 10:00. And we both had plenty of time. He said that it was his treat which was nice. We spent an hour sitting there drinking coffee and talking to one of his buddies that he had been hiking with who just happened to come up and join us. He was from the UK I believe he said. We had a really good time talking. Finally I left and headed to my place to settle in. I walked into town and I remembered how to get to the hotel Norte and Londres. When I got there I asked for a room and the lady asked me if I had a reservation, it was at that moment that I knew I was in trouble. When she replied Completo, which told me there was nothing there. I asked her to suggest a place that might have something. She told me to go to the Hotel Jacabeo down the street. When I got there it was a repeat of the Nortes and Londres. I ask her where to go and she said that she had a pensión  for 60€. This was more than I paid for the room at Norte and Londres 3 years ago, but what was I to do. I took it and was glad to have it. Burgos is a nice big city but I don’t like it and never have. I knew that I was in for one night and out the next. The next chore was finding something and somewhere to eat. I walked around and asked when the dinner was going to be served and I got all kings of answers from 6:00 to 7:30 yes to the pilgrim meal then to no. I was very frustrated. About 5:30 I was in the main plaza and I heard someone call my name. It was sophilia and her son Oliver. She was sitting with all the ladies from Navarette. I went  over and had a drink with them and they said they were going to order something small, so I had a vegetariano lasaña, which was good but small and not really that filling.after I ate I excused myself and went and got me some ice cream and went back to the room. Burgos is only a short one night stop for me. 

After I got back to my room I finished packing up and got to bed. The walking into town was great but I just don’t like the city. I look forward to leaving tomorrow.

Tomorrow will be a Buen Camino

Day 14 - Espinosa del Camino to Atapuerca

Date: May 10, 2018

Location: From: Espinosa Del Camino To: Atapuerca

Mileage: 21.9 Km/13.7 Mi..

Weather: Cold with sprinkles of rain

Temperature: 40’s with sprinkles of rain all day

Lodging and Cost: Albergue Peregrinos 9(

GPS Location: 42.°22.35” N and 3°3024” W

Highlights: walked with Noel. Spain’s civil monument.

Summary of the Day: 

Everybody was up at 6:00 this morning and packing to go. It was cold out side and looked like it was going to rain. I got ready and went to the restaurant. This is some of the best wifi so far. I decided that I better do a Spanish lesson, because I wasn’t sure if I would have it later in the day. This turned out to be a good decision as I have none in the now at the time of this writing. Anyway Noel came into the  bar to get a café con leche, so I decided thatI would also. We drank that and we headed out together. We walked and talked about different things from each other’s country. I ask him about his life, if he was married or not and it turned out that he was divorced it he has grandchildren. He said that he and his X wife weren’t friends and didn’t get along. He was a carpenter and built houses. And was explaining to me that you get a more accurate measurement on lumber and Sheetrock using the metric system. We had a big climb up to the Civil War monument jus past the Él pajaro restaurant and Albergue. It then started to rain a little on us, so we put our rain gear on and kept walking. The last time I was here and I walked up it started to snow. I am having a hard time believe that it’s this cold. In about three to four days I will hit the Meseta (Desert). We went over the top and walked down to San Juan De Ortega. We stopped and had a café con leche. While there Trudy came walking in. Shortly after that the rains came back so we walked on. It was only about 3.5 Km to Atapuerca where I was going and when we arrived they decided to push on so ill probably see them tomorrow in Burgos. I’m trying to maintain my 20 to 22 Km/13.75 Mi. I don’t want get too far ahead so that I finish everything I want to and have several days to wait in Madrid for my flight home. 

Day 13 - Grañón to Espinosa del Camino

Date: May 9, 2018

Location: From: Grañón To: Espinosa Del Camino

Mileage: 24.1 Km/15.1 Mi..

Weather: cool and overcast, but no rain

Temperature: lower 50’s in the morning and upper 50’s in the afternoon

Lodging and Cost: Albergue Espinosa Del Camino 5

GPS Location: 42,°24,20” N and 3°1647” W

Highlights: Mostly small road walks and some fields and grape orchards. The town of Belorado.

Summary of the Day:

Today was a really special day. I was awake at 6:00 but Loren, who was the Hospitalero said not to come down for breakfast until 6:30 so everybody just packed up and waited. Around 6:30 we all headed down to the kitchen area for coffee and cereal. Loren and I got into a discussion about being a Hospitalero and taking the training course, something that I have thought about before. This would give me a free emersion into Spanish. After breakfast everybody was packed and left, but I stayed and we continued to just talk. I found out that we both had hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2000. We talked about how special the Camino is and no other trail had as much impact on us.  I have always heard ever since 2013 that miracles happen on the Camino and I believe that, but he was talking about how the God will  provide everything you need on the Camino, if you travel in faith. I finally left around 7:30. I had my plans set to walk to Tosantos, about 21 Km/13.25 miles, but that was not to be, because when I got where I planned on staying about noon, I was told there were no beds everything was Completo and that I would have to go all the way to Villafranca Montes de Oca another 7.2 Km. And if nothing was available when I got there I would have to walk another 8.6 Km. I figured that up and that would make my day a long 39.9 Km/24.9 Miles.  I was hopeful that I wouldn’t have to go that far, but set out walking. I walked for about an hour and I came to a little bar and Just behind it was a sign that said Albergue Espinosa Del Camino. It looked a little old and kind of run down, but I thought that I would at least check it out. When I walked in I called out “Hola”,nobody answered then I saw a sign that said if you want to stay then telephone this number. Well that was a non-starter for me as I don’t have a telephone for calls. I went up to the Bar, (Restaurant) and told the lady I’d like to stay in the Albergue and she said “un momento” and made a phone call. In about ten minutes a man came in, wearing coveralls and a pair of gloves. He looked like he had been working in the fields. He said to come with him. We walked back to the Albergue and he took my passport to register me in. I asked him how much for the night at which he replied 5€. I thought, wow it must be a nasty rathole. After getting me registered he lead me up the stairs. He took me in to a large room with two rooms leading off of it. The floors were not level and I noticed that no one else was there. I thought what had I done. But then again it was extremely clean and he turned the hot water heater on and said good hot water. He showed me the washer so I could wash my closes and how to open the door on it with a large knife. He then took me back to the big room and pointed to a bed and said,” esta es tu cama. I was all alone in who knows where. It wasn’t listed anywhere and wasn’t supposed to be there. I guess if you travel in faith then all will be provided. As it turned out later that day every bed was full (8). And we all ate dinner together that night. Noel (Ireland), Judy (Australia), Cristy (France), Trudy (Ireland), Geovanni (Italy) and a couple from (Germany) and me. It was a great night. We ate and sat and talked until about 9:00. The man that checked me in was now the waiter and his wife was the cook. He came over to the table and joked around with us and took pictures. It has been one of my best stays.

I have really had the best time staying  the Albergues. Most of the people are friendly and try to communicate with you even though they don’t speak you language. The only real down side to the Albergue is that you can probably count on at least one person snoring all night. It’s a small price to pay to get a bed for 5 to 10 € and meet everybody.

These past two days have really been special days on the Camino and I look for more. It has been a Buen Camino.

Day 12 - Azofra to Grañón

Date: May 8, 2018

Location: From: Azofra To: Grañón

Mileage: 21.9 Km/.

Weather: Dry and overcast but warm

Temperature: 50’s in the morning and in the upper 50’s in the afternoon

Lodging and Cost: Albergue San Juan Bautista, donativo.

GPS Location: 42.°27.3.” N and 3.°1.40” W

Highlights: The early morning walk along the path through the fields of green and yellow. The town of Cirueña, a golfing community along with 100’s of condos that are for sale since 2013, my first Camino. The city of Santo Domingo.

Summary of the Day: 

Today everybody seem to get up just before 6:00, so I did as well. I was walking with Karl by 6:30. It was a great morning. It was cool, but not too cool that I couldn’t start with a short sleeve shirt. It seems like the goose bumps tend to make you move a little quicker. It had rained overnight, but no sign of rain this morning. My pace was really good and my feet didn’t hurt even though last night they were pretty sore as I hobbled up to the restaurant to eat. It wasn’t long until I lost sight of Karl behind me. He has a slower pace then I and he has also been having a few foot issues. I moved on seeing a couple of folks in front of me, so I tried to catch up with them. When I did I recognized one of the men. They were both from Italy and were speaking Italian, but he also spoke Spanish and English. We struggled along in Spanish for a short time until I think we were both frustrated, (probably more him than me), then we changed to English until we got to the vacant town of Ciruena.Then we separated as I went looking for a bar (restaurant) to get a café con leche. This town, ever since I walked through in 2013 has been a town of Condos that are all for sale and only a few have been bought. The odd part of all this is that it is a golfing community and the course is absolutely beautiful. This morning they we cutting the fairway. After finding that the bar wasn’t open and my hopes for some breakfast were dashed, I just pushed on toward Santo Domingo. There was a lot of up hills this morning through the green and yellow fields. One of the fellows that I was talking to told me that this is a plant that canola oil is made from. He showed me the little bean like substance that is mashed to produced the oil. I continued walking the path over the rolling hills until I could see the larger city of Santo Domingo in the distance. The path started to drop down toward the city. I was looking forward to this because I knew that Coffee was only a few km away. I walked all the way through the town until I came to a nice little café That was serving breakfast. I I had a tortilla and a cup of coffee. When I finished eating, Karl still hadn’t arrived, so I got more coffee and waited a little bit more. After waiting a little more he still had not come in so I decided to push on. It wasn’t long until I passed by the church that is know for its legend of a family that was on a pilgrimage to Santiago and stopped there for the night and the inn keepers daughter was attracted to the son of the pilgrims, but he refused her advances. When the family left the next day the girl put a chalice in the boys pack and then reported that the boy had stollen it. The sheriff went and arrested the boy without the parents knowing. They had a trial and convicted the boy and hung him. When the parents found out they ran back to the town and saw their son hanging but noticed that he was still alive. When they found the sheriff to tell him, he was just sitting down to eat his dinner. He remarked that the boy was surely as dead as the chicken on his plate. At that time the chicken on his plate stood up and crowed. The sheriff ran to the gallows and cut the boy down and gave him a full pardon. All this is credited to Saint Dominic. At this point the church still has a rooster in the church in a cage, but the crowing of the cock is a recording. (It’s an interesting little story).

I pushed on to the church where I was going to stay that night. The trail was pretty much level and uneventful, until just outside of town then it was a nice uphill walk. It was the kind that made you glad that it was over.

When I got to the church it was open and you just when in and signed yourself in. Where the Pilgrims stayed was  in the tower of the church and you sleep on nice pads on the floor. This was really a unique place. At first it makes you think about moving on. More and more people came and before long we had 35 people there. The Hospitalero came in and explained the rules and what happens there. They had been out shopping for food all day and he said that a communal meal was served every night. The only difference was that he supplied all the food and the pilgrims elected a cook from the group of pilgrims to prepare the meal with the help of all the other pilgrims. A menu was decided and the cook supervised it all. There were 35 people doing something, cooking,cutting up veggies,setting up tables and so on. It was a great time eating and talking about their experiences on the Camino as well as their lives and families not here with us. After dinner we all sat around for a little while telling each other what the walk on the Camino meant to them. Then around 10:00 everybody starting heading off to bed. This was one of my best nights on the Camino of all of them. It did have a special meaning.

Everybody slept until 6:30the next morning and then went down for breakfast which was prepared by the Hospitalero and his help.

I can truly say that it’s been a Buen Camino so far.

Day 11 - Navarrete to Azofra

Date: May 7,2018

Location: From: Navarrete To: Azofra

Mileage: 23.3 Km/14.56 Mi..

Weather: Beautiful day – started in short sleeve shirt

Temperature: in the 60’s F at 6:30 and 75 F in the afternoon

Lodging and Cost: Albergue Municipal 10

GPS Location: 42,°25.30” N and 2.°48.2” W

Highlights: The beautiful views along the way and in the distance.also the snow on top of the large mountains in the distance just beyond Ventosa.

Summary of the Day: 

Everybody in our room this morning was ready to get up just before 6:00 and they were all out of their beds and packing up to go. I did a pre-pack last night before I turned in so I was pretty much ready to go. I went in to brush my teeth and when I came out Karl was gone, so I closed my pack and hit the trail by my self. I thought that he had gone on without me. I got out of the Albergue by 7:35 and started walking. I passed the only restaurant and saw a lot of people eating toast and café con leche. I didn’t stop, because I like to get a jump on everybody else. I walked for about an hour and came to a small village, actually wide spot in the road, by the name of Ventosa, and I stopped there and had café con leche and a chocolate filled pastry. I sat and ate and drank, when Sofia and her son Oliver came in and sat with me. It wasn’t long and Karl came in. I thought that he was ahead of me, but no. I finished up and moved on. Not knowing how many people were coming here and if they have reservations, I though that I better move on pretty fast. I knew that they had 60 beds and Debra told me that she had reserved 6, so I started counting the people that I saw. I knew that a lot were going on past Azofra, but I wasn’t sure of the total that I didn’t see that had reservations. It wasn’t too far past. Ventosa that in the distance I saw the mountains and they were covered in snow. The next little town that I came to was Nájera and it was covered up with bars and Albergues and hostels and Pensións, but I kept going. I remembered this one street that I was on in 2015 and a big turn bus came down it. The bus was so big that I had to step into the front porch of a house so that the bus could pass. The streets are so narrow in these little towns, but they have their own character, and I like it! After getting out of town it was back to path walking and a lot of dust now that the rains have gone. I’ll take the dusk just to avoid the rain and the mud. Had one climb left for the  day which I heard people here at the Albergue saying Wow! What a hard climb. They said a 560 Meter summit. I thought about that for a few minutes and then it dawned on me, that is about 1,680 ft. And that’s street level at home, not to mention hiking on the Appalachian Trail is a lot higher and the incline is steeper. I do like the climbs here though as they give you great views.

I finally got to Azofra and the Albergue only to find out that it didn’t open until 12:30 so I sat and rested until they opened. One thing about everything here is the are punctual, so when 12:30 hit the doors opened. I was the third one in and got a room right away. I wasn’t sure where Karl was but I asked if I could make a reservation for him and they agreed. All the rooms are two beds to a room and when he got here he got the other bed in my room. All is well and the walk is going well. It’s about dinner time so I’ll close for now. It’s been a Buen Camino.

Day 10 - Viana to Navarrete

Date: May 6, 2018

Location: From: Viana To: Navarrete

Mileage: 22.1 Km/13.8 mi..

Weather: absolutely beautiful. In the low 50’s early and in the mid 70’s in the afternoon, with solid blue sky.

Temperature: 50’s early mid 70’s afternoon

Lodging and Cost: Albergue Navarrete Centro - 10

GPS Location: 42.°25.45” N and 2.°33.38” W

Highlights: Beautiful views atop the high hill tops and the walk through the large city of Logroño. Not to mention the large breakfast that I had in Logroño

Summary of the Day: 

Karl and I were up and out of the Albergue by 6:40 this morning and I was off to Logroño for a good breakfast. The walk this morning was almost totally on a path and very little road walking, until I got near Logroño then you walk along the road and into the park. It gets a bit tricky finding you way as the markers seem to disappear. There were a couple of times that I had to ask people along the way if I was going right. I found the restaurant that I ate in the last time I was on the Camino. I stopped in and asked if I could get eggs and bacon with toast, and of course Café con leche. It was a great meal and it filled me right up so I wasn’t hungry all the way to Navarrete. The walk out of the city was long and you had to watch every turn and also for cars. It went through a park and up to a lake. There are always people fishing and kids playing and considering this was a Sunday it was full. It wasn’t  a bad walk. As you leave the park on the back side of the lake, there is a man that has a little stand set up and he is giving you your sello(stamp for your Camino crediental) and he sells bananas and apples for donation only.i had a nice conversation with him in Spanish. I told him that I saw him in 2013 and 2015 that that he stamped my credential and that I bought bananas from him. He was excited to hear this and said that he would look for me in another year. I took his picture and was on my way. From there it was an easy walk over to the Albergue in Navarrete. The Albergue was clean and the hospitalero was extremely friendly. I met up with Karl, Tomás and Debra.

It was a good night there and we all went out dinner and enjoyed the evening in a little bar having a glass of wine, before heading off to bed. The weather forecast is good but the temperatures are getting higher. I hope tomorrow isn’t too hot.

I enjoyed the day and the good walk.  Until then …Buen Camino

Day 09 - Los Arcos to Viana

Date: May 5, 2018

Location: From: Los Arcos To: Viana

Mileage: 18.6 Km/11.0 Mi..

Weather: Cool and sunny

Temperature: 46 F in the morning and in the lower 50’s F in the afternoon but with light steady winds

Lodging and Cost: Andres Muñoz

GPS Location: 42.°3610” N and 2°..,22.25” W

Highlights: The beautiful day that had started and how good the trail was. There were so many views.

Summary of the Day: 

I was up by 6:00 a.m. and out of the Albergue by was a much warmer start then any of the other days, so maybe the warmer and nicer weather is on the way, but that enjoyment will probably be short lived once I hit the Meseta (Desert) in a couple of weeks. The Albergue was really nice. It was clean and not too crowded. I have always avoided them because I didn’t want to be jammed in, but the last several ones have changed my mind. Not to mention they are a better price than the Pensión. I was feeling great and all parts of the body were in high gear and an I walking at a good pace. I usually walkat about 4.5 Km/hr, but this morning I got to Torres Del Rio, which is 7.8 Km in an hour and ten minutes. I stopped there at a little bar, which I had eaten at in 2015. I ordered up a good breakfast and was starting eat when I looked up and saw Karl coming up the trail. He is the fellow from Denmark that I met back in Orisson and did walk over the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles with. It was good to see someone that I knew from the beginning. He speaks pretty good English and we can have nice conservations when we take breaks, but his walking pace is somewhat slower than mine. I told him my destination for the day was Viana, and he said that was good for him. He has to be in Santiago by June 9, so he has a good bit of time as I. After we finished eating we both took off heading out to complete the last 10 Km/6.25 Mi. We arrived in Viana at 11:30 and had to wait to check into the Albergue at 12:00 so we went and got a cold beer and waited. We were back when the doors opened and were the first two to sign in. A little later Tomás from Germany came in and we ended up the only three people in our room tonight night.

It was a great day of walking and the weather was cooperating, along with the body, so all in all I had a great day and walk. I’ve been practicing my Spanish everyday, all day. I make sure that I start in Spanish, but the conversation is still a little short. Some what because of my limitations but mostly the people are really busy and don’t have too much time to chit chat. I did have a great conversation with a girl in the pharmacy. I told her my difficulties with hearing Spanish and understanding everything, and that’s when she changed to some broken English and told me that she has the same problem. We both agreed that we can read and write, but the hearing was the stumbling block for us.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow and the new adventures. Until then Buen Camino

Day 08 - Estella to Los Arcos

Date: May 4, 2018

Location: From: Estella To: Los Arcos

Mileage: 23.3 Km/13.4 Mi.

Weather: Cold and cloudy but no rain

Temperature: 36 F in the morning but then warmed up to the mid 40’s in the afternoon40° F

Lodging and Cost: Albergue La Casa de la Abuela 10

GPS Location: 42.°3410” N and 2°1131” W

Highlights: The great views as I climbed up to Monjardin and the great path from Monjardin all the way to Los Arcos. It was fairly smooth an not so rocky..

Summary of the Day: 

I was up at 6:00 and out by 7:00 on a very cold morning. I looked at the temperature gauge on the pharmacy sign and it said 8 deg celcus which is about 36 deg F. But as I walked I warmed up fast. The nice thing was that there was no rain forecasted. I pretty much had the trail to myself as most people stayed in Estella to eat breakfast. The climb up to the village of Villamayor de Monjardín spectular. The views were the best yet. When I got there I stopped at a nice little bar,(restaurant) and had a café con leche with a pastry.  After that I was set to go. It seemed like no sooner then I started walking I came across Eduardo’s mobile café. It is a trailer that he sets up and sells café con leche along with other goodies to eat and drink. I stopped there back in 2015 when I was passing through. I couldn’t not stop so I did and had another café con leche and something else to eat. After about thirty minutes I pushed on to Los Arcos for the night. I was the first one to check in the Albergue, so I got my bunk make and my stuff put away and most importantly my shower before anybody came in. Some times there are advantages to hiking fast.

It wasn’t long before a lot of folks started to come in. The Albergue also offered dinner, so I paid the 10€ for dinner and glad I did. Dinner was served at 7:00 and it was vegetarian. A big salad and then a nice hot lentil soup. We also had water and wine. Debra, from Washington state and a woman from Holland, and another from Russia also joined us.

After dinner everybody was full, tired and warm and it wasn’t long before everybody was in bed.

Today was probably my best day so far. My feet feel great and the weather is starting to get better and warm up in the afternoons. The forecast is not calling for any rain and I hope that it stays that way.

With that I will call it a day and look forward to tomorrow and another Buen Camino

Day 07 - Puente La Reina to Estella

Date: May 3, 2018

Location: From: Puente La Reina To: Estella

Mileage: 21,9 Km/13.6 Mi.

Weather: cold, but clear and no rain

Temperature: 38 F at 7:30 but in the lower 50’s later in the dayF°

Lodging and Cost: San Andres Pensión 30

Highlights: The Roman bridges along the way and the people I came across.

Summary of the Day: 

We were all awake at 6:00 this morning but I stayed in the bed and let Saul, Debra and Hans get packed up and out before I got out of the bed. This Albergue had tiny rooms and I didn’t  want to take the chance of mixing my stuff with someone else’s. They finally left around 7:00 and then I got on the move. It was cold out side, but it makes for great walking. I packed and left the Albergue at 7:30 and walked out to the Queen’s Bridge. Today’s walk was on the start of the old Roman Roads and it was really good to see how they has stood the test of time. Most of the roads are still in great shape, and they will tear your feet up as the rocks cause stone bruising as you walk. We’re at the beginning of wine country, and  all the farmers are working their grape orchards. The little grape stumps are starting to sprout green leaves. It is really interesting to see how they have all the rows perfectly straight. By the time I get to the other side of the Rioja area of the wine region all the trees will be full of leaves and small grapes. They grow so fast and the soil is as black as can be.I’ve also already seen some of the olive trees with buds and little olives. I passed several Bodegas today but none of them gave free wine. That will happen in the next couple of days. The larger winery’s have the outlets to let you taste their wines

Today wasn’t a difficult day on the trail. It was a pretty path and level trail. I’m starting to pass more Pilgrims that I have not seen before.I think the group that I started with are beginning move faster than this group. Saul, Debra, and Hans are doing longer days as they are on a time schedule and have to finish by the end on May. While I may never catch them again, we’re keeping in touch by e-mail so we know where each other is. I may pick up my pace a little to catch up with the, before they get to Santiago, just to make contact again. It has been another good day on the Camino. I have been able to practice my Spanish some but the times are limited as everybody is working hard and are taking care of the Pilgrims. Not to mention I have a hard time understanding their Spanish. First it is so fast and secondly, they speak Spanish from Spain and mine is pretty much Latin Spanish. Same but different. I’ll keep working on it though. Most of the locals that are non connected to the Camino and the Pilgrims don’t interact with you, unless they see you going the wrong way or walking off the Camino, then they start waving their hands and hollering at you. 

As I said it’s been a good day both on the Camino but also in Spain. So until tomorrow I will say Buen Camino

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