Thursday, September 9, 2010

Breaking the Impossible 200 Mile Barrier


Burgos to Hornillos del Camino
20.5 km/12.7 miles
Time on the Camino, 4:31

Our first day on the Meseta, Spain's flatest, driest region. Fortunately, it was mild temperatures and cool breezes the whole way.

I took off with Julie from Canada in tow, she slept in the bunk next to me last night and claims that IF I did snore, it was not enough to awaken her!

We walked at a relaxing pace and talked away for over four hours. I could listen to her French-Canadian accent when she speaks English all day long. . . eh?

We arrived in Hornillos del Camino, population 100, only to find that the Internet is not a part of daily life in this burgeoning community. We found a great market that served huge bocadillos and the owner gave each of us a free clam shell to display on our backpacks. The clamshell is the Camino's logo.

Jillian and Jaime from San Diego were elevated to Camino sainthood for their incredible patience and humility in working with their friend Ruth who is struggling to say the least. Ste. Jillian is a friend of Ruth's daughter and Ste. Jaime dates Ruth's son.
Together they are now the Patron Saints of Patience.

At dinner in Hornillos del Camino's only restaurant we were served a fine peregrino meal consisting of pasta, potatoes, veal, chocolate custard and, of course, vino tinto. The highlight though was our waitress, "The Soup Franco." She was about 4'10" and weighed all of 100 lbs. I would guess that she was in her 60's, loved Francisco Franco and was a nun until they eased up on the rules. When Julie moved her chair out about 4 inches, the wrath of The Soup Franco was upon her. "MOVE THAT CHAIR BACK, I MUST HAVE ROOM TO GET THROUGH!"

Now there was still about a four foot gap between the tables but, my God, she had to move or else! Ten minutes later, a French man asked Julie to translate something for him into English, she unwittingly moved her chair ever so slightly again. BIG MISTAKE! Out came the Soup Franco yet again. We were all scared. I thought of Ned Foley back in the 8th grade when Sister Mary Thomas Sadistic hit him over the head using a volleyball-like jump serve technique. Her weapon of choice that day was a wooden ruler that shattered into a million pieces.

I wanted no part of that today, so when Julie dropped an olive on the floor, I quickly scooped it up and put it on the table next to us where the San Diego girls were sitting. Two of them are saints, so I felt they were better prepared for the consequences. Ruth ate the olive before The Soup Franco saw what happened! GREAT DINNER!!!

Hornillos del Camino to Castrojeriz
21.2 km/13.2 miles
Time on the Camino, 4:17

Total Distance Walked, 329.6 km/204.9 miles
Total Time Walked, 84:54
Total Spent on 14 nights in Albergues, 75 Euros

Distance to Santiago de Compostela
469.0 km/291.4 miles

All the saints said I did not snore! Saints would not lie!!!

Blast off at 7:03, arrived refreshed in interesting Castrojeriz, population 1,000. To get an idea of what the Meseta is like, imagine getting on U.S. 99 and driving from Buttonwillow to Delano, same scenery.

Our albergue is new and clean with a great guy named Paco running it. The Pergrino's store next to it has everything you could possibly need for the Camino and is run by the charming Don Amancio Yagüez. A few meters from that store is a small market that is about 500 years old where I bought my juice, chips and banana. They were playing the long version of The Doors' 1967 hit "Light My Fire."

Very surreal indeed.

New saints today: St. Hans of Denmark, Patron Saint of the Arts and Ste. Julie of Canada, Patron Saint of Mirth and Happiness.




steveswindle said...

"No soup for You, one year!!!""

Way to go on the distance milestone....pretty awesome.

George said...

GRACIAS, I'm pretty amazed at myself actually.