It was a short day with only 19.7 k from one albuergue to the other. It was especially nice since yesterday’s temps exceeded 104 f and today here in Castrojeriz reached 99 f.
The shorter distance allowed for us to take it a little slower and take a longer break at the only city with services, Hontanas. Our break there was at Albuergue Juan de Yepes. He served up one of the tastiest tortillas Española thus far. The view as you approach Hontanas is deceptive as you do not see the town until you are upon it. It is built in a depression in the land. Because it is shaped like a bowl, I don’t think it is still called a valley. It is also completely surrounded by wheat fields. Next you see a beautiful shrine built for the Brigida de Suecia. From this overlook on a clear morning you can take beautiful pictures of this immaculately kept town.
Our walk is not yet totally flat as promised by ‘mesta haters’. However the elevations are a welcome change on our leg muscles. After Hontanas, we proceeded towards the ruins of the San Anton Monastery where a new Albuergue is now in place (I say new because my guide did not mention it). These ruins are so beautiful. To me, they were even a little haunting as a nearby entrepreneur was playing chamber music and handing out watermelon for a donation and selling other refreshments.
The final 3 to 4 k was on asphalt on the road, a busy one might I add, to Castrojeriz. The approach had areas where trees created a beautiful canopy and much needed shade. In the distance we could see the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Manzano and the ruins of the Castillo. Being way ahead of schedule, we went in to visit the church before heading to our Albuergue for our daily chores.
After our showers, foot care and laundry we went out to find lunch. Don’t underestimate this statement. It seems every village has there own kitchen schedule. Just because they will serve you a drink or dessert, doesn’t mean the kitchen is open. However, we were lucky enough to find the Meson de Castrojeriz and enjoyed a wonderful 3 course meal with water, bread and wine for 10 euros. You just can’t beat that! Well, maybe with excellent company. You’ve already heard about Peggy. We were also joined by Roger from New Hampshire here on his second Camino after some pretty scary health challenges. Lastly, we were also joined by Alexander from Portugal. This is his first Camino after the loss of his fiancé to cancer this May.
After a lunch like that, what else to do but soak our feet in the foot pool and contemplate the day so I may share it with you. To another great day on The Way of St. James.