Day 23 – Burgos to Hornillos del Camino

Walked today: 6.3 miles

Walked Camino 2019: 160.6 miles

We took a taxi to the edge of Burgos and began our walk, stopping at a bar in Tardajos (pop.856) for breakfast.

As we walked through Tardajos we noticed that several stork nests had been built in the belfry of the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Asuncíon. But as we looked closer there were actually two storks in one nest.

two storks
one stork up closer, very unusual site

The next village of Rabé de las Calzadas ( pop. 221) also had an impressive church and what appeared to be a convent attached.

Rabé village square and fountain

Interesting mural as we walked out of Rabé

The earthen path out of Rabé started a gradual climb that continued for nearly two miles and carried us up to the Meseta.

on our way up to the Meseta

There is a saying that the landscape of the Meseta is not found in the land, but in the sky with its diverse colors and expansive clouds. Dreaded by some, relished by others, the Meseta has a distinct reputation for being boring, repetitive and bleak. However, the Meseta begins and ends with such vibrant cities as Burgos and León and there is a certain beauty and awe in the endless horizon and wide open space in between.

Sometimes, visible to the north are the jutting mountains of the Cordillera Cantábrica. Towns are often set down in shallow river valleys, that appear to be large bowls, practically invisible along the horizon until arrival.

The lack of trees means little to no shade. The Meseta can be blistering hot in summer and quite cold in winter and very windy with fast developing storms. The flat landscape glimmers with golden wheat and flocks of sheep ramble the area along ancient sheep paths known as cañadas.

In spite of the monotony, the Meseta can serve as a memorable wilderness experience with plenty of time for personal thought and reflection.

With the lack of stone in this area, there are more buildings made of brick or adobe. Many towns feature bodegas, wine cellars dug into the earth that resemble hobbit homes, as well as mudbrick dovecotes.

a 180 degree pano of the Meseta ahead of us

Upon reaching the Meseta, the expansive views are initially breathtaking, maybe a bit unsettling and humbling.

We walked on the Meseta for about two miles before approaching our first “bowl”.

Out first sign of a valley or bowl on the Meseta.

In the valley was Hornillos del Camino (pop. 61), our destination for the day.

But to get to the valley we faced a very steep descent, referred to by locals as “cuesta matamulas” translated, “mule killers hill”.

Taking on the “mule killer”
Easy walking from here in, BUT tomorrow we have to climb back out!

There weren’t any mules around but the hill into Hornillos was accurately named.

We had an early lunch at a nearby bar and checked into Albergue Meeting Place at 11:30, did our chores and spent the afternoon recovering, blogging and struggling with a weak wifi.

Most places in Spain, hotels, bars, albergues, etc. have wifi. Most pretty good, some not so good. We rely on a good wifi signal to upload photos and the daily blog. If you fail to get a daily post, it’s probably a wifi problem and not our falling off the end of the earth, which is located about 50 miles west of Santiago!😜

The pilgrims dinner tonight was a delightful experience. First of all, the albergue has been owned and operated by a brother and sister in their 20’s for 4 years. It is a very well run, well organized albergue with modern facilities.

Paella in the making

The dinner was a simple green salad, freshly baked bread, homemade paella (we watched them prepare it this afternoon) and a delicious lemon pudding for desert with red wine or water to drink. They have served the same menu every night for 4 years.

There were 14 pilgrims at the family style meal from Denmark, Spain, Germany, South Africa, Korea, Colombia and the U.S. (Texas & New York).

A happy, delicious international pilgrim dinner

Our conversation was interesting and engaging and though sad to end so soon, as we will all go our different ways in the morning, it was the kind of experience that makes the Camino so special for us.

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