September 27, 2002

9/27/02 Boadilla del Camino

31 km

I tried to wait until close to sunrise to pack and leave. This is very different on the Camino and I am glad I spent some time here.

Amazing sunrise

Walked among stark wheat fields waiting for winter to begin. Still pretty cold as I started out. At least six kilometers to Hontanas, the next pueblo, and suddenly came upon it out of nowhere.

San Anton

While the pueblos I'm used to are built on a high point, Hontanas is located in a depression on the plain. The whole town is terraced as it descends. Even the church tower is lower than the surrounding terrain. I noticed several homes had even built over and across streets to utilise more space. The refugio was empty but I was glad to use their bathroom.

It's greener here in this low area. Came upon a German couple taking a snack break and they offered to share some apples. It just seemed like a great day to walk. Discovered a new refugio at the ruins of the Convent of San Anton. The hospitilero and his dachshund puppy were very friendly. He said they only opened in July, but most people were very pleased with the place.

The last couple of miles to Castrojeríz were on asphalt. But the view of the castle ruins above the city was worth the road-walk. Sort of got talked into buying a ticket to the museum inside the Iglesia de Santa María del Manzano. Nice museum but again, no cameras allowed. Got a bocadillo at the bar across the street and kept going.

Hot day of walkin'

Outside of town, the pilgrims had a long climb out of the valley and then another climb down, with more flat plains ahead. By now, it was getting very hot. What seemed like an oasis in this stark landscape was a tree-covered rest area with a spring. That's where I met Larissa again.

Larissa & Bernie

Larissa was now traveling with a large German shepherd named Bernie (on his 'dog' tag) who had been following her since Castrojeréz. Turns out he is a legend of the Camino. Everyday, he attaches himself to one particular pilgrim and walks with them for the whole day. Then, every day, the owner drives to either Boadilla or Frómista to pick him up. When we reached the alburgue, his owner was waiting for us at the bar. He said the dog had been doing this since he was a puppy. And if he didn't pick him up at the end of the day, Bernie would probably walk all the way to Santiago.

This privately owned alburgue near the church in Boadilla del Camino is a paradise. The grounds are green and expansive, and there is a bar and restaurant. The family who run it are great. During dinner, the owner asked all of us to come outside for something. He needed help unloading two new pilgrim statues. Even in the dark, they were stunning metal sculptures. Afterward, he invited us all back inside for a drink.

I met Irma, who is here visiting her daughter. They come from Victoria, Canada. After walking the Camino, Rebecca decided to come back to this place and volunteer. After a few days, the two of them were going to travel to Barcelona and the Southern Coast for a little sight-seeing. Irma is a nurse and we hit it off. I tried very hard to help her with a quick Spanish lesson but I'm afraid it was the 'blind leading the blind'.