So this was another easy day. The sun was shining, temps were ideal, not too many people on the Camino, but I wasn’t alone, no trips or falls, and I am still “fresh.” Of course, any change in just one variable for the day could have turned a perfect walk into pure misery. But that wasn’t the plan for today.
So, call it (re)beginners luck; I am sure that won’t be the case for every day over the next month.
First, About Dinner Last Night
The Alburgue I stayed at, Meeting Point, offers a Pilgrim Dinner for €9.50. It started with Salad, featured this amazing Chicken Paella (the BEST I have ever had) and finished with lemon yogurt. All meals are served with Wine and bread.
After preparing many Paella’s over the past year, I was especially wowed with the delicious soccrate, the caramelized well-done bits of rice that form on the bottom of the pan, that is the sign of a well-made Paella.
Today was an “iconic landmark day” as I knew I would be passing through the ruins of the Monastery of San Anton, but there was so much to see and experience before that.
One tip I often hear for pilgrims is to look behind you every now and then, and that was especially true today.
What a spectacular sunrise at our backs. I couldn’t stop turning around to watch it unfold.
Hontanos was the first village of the day and from the ridge above it, I thought a party was going on…at 9am. What sounded like Caribbean music was playing loudly. It turned out to be a one man show at the bar at the entrance of town.
Needless to say everyone left the bar dancing on down the Camino.
The next landmark was the ruins of San Anton, a convent built in the 14th century. They do have an Alburgue there, but it felt too early in the day to stop so I continued on to Castrojeriz.
San Anton is a pretty sweet place and I walked through the arches in awe thinking about the history and pilgrims who have been associated with this place. I could feel the energy of the Camino.
Castrojeriz is large as Spanish villages go. The town itself is about 2km long and I am grateful that my Alburgue is near the end of town since that means a quick exit in the morning.
I got to Roselia Hostel around 1. This is how I would like each Camino day to be. An early afternoon arrival allows plenty of time to shower, do laundry and explore town after getting something to eat.
I enjoyed a fabulous lunch in a restaurant across the street from my Alburgue. I had garlic soup (the first time I have had it in Spain). Delicious! Then, for the main course, I chose the fish which was a whole flat fish perfectly cooked.
I wrapped up the meal with flan. All this was for €11 including a bottle of wine.
While I didn’t intend to eat this big of a lunch, I don’t regret it even though I had already committed to dinner at the Alburgue.
It was just as well that I was still full by the time 7pm rolled around because I wasn’t super excited with the Paella made with spaghetti, which apparently is a specialty of Barcelona. It was ok, but didn’t match up to the classic Paella from the night before.
the best part about any communal dinner on the Camino is the opportunity to meet and talk with other pilgrims.
Leaving the lunch restaurant, I bumped into Kari from the bus ride from Madrid to Burgos. We exchanged contact info which is always a good idea since you never know if you will be seeing someone again when you are on the Camino.
Reflections: HOW You Do the Camino
Everyone has their own reason for why they do the Camino and this is the subject of countless books and blogs. What struck me over the past several days is people telling me HOW they are doing the Camino.
By the time I had gotten on the bus to Burgos on Tuesday I had met 4 pilgrims, each with their own ideas of how they like to do the Camino. The two brothers I met in Boston like walking slowly, but for long days. They can’t understand why people would stop walking halfway through the day. Victor, from Mexico, who was heading off to the Camino Norte (as the brothers also were) said he likes to take it nice and easy, going slowly so he can enjoy the experience. Kari from Alberta decided this Camino that she needed to walk shorter days and used a service that arranged for all of her accommodations forcing her to stop around her self-imposed 20km/day limit.
Changing HOW you do the Camino is a benefit of a second (third, fourth or fifth) walk. You have a chance to reflect on what worked and didn’t work on previous walks and make corrections for a more enjoyable and fulfilling time.
While I am only 2 days in, I am happy with the changes I have made this year. 20km days feel good. I like knowing where I am going to be staying and with all the “Completo” (aka, this Alburgue is full) signs I have seen, I have been booking a couple of days in advance. I am good with that. Maybe that makes me a tourigrino?? But, it is my Camino.