May 9, 2007

5/9/07 Atapuerca

"What is this thinking done on foot? Ask any pilgrim, you'll get the same answer: You only find out by going. It is an attitude toward life, not a catechism had from some book."
Molly Emma Aitken

Some people just are early risers. Went to the bathroom at 5:15 and some folks were already cooking breakfast. By the time I left at 7AM, I was one of the last people in the albergue.

The Camino has a steep climb out of Villafranca, which tended to stretch out the line of pilgrims. But everyone seemed in a hurry, hopefully most of them will be headed to Burgos.

An early morning climb on the Camino

Once we reached the top of the climbing, away from the highway, it was a pleasant walk through a heavily wooded area all the way to San Juan de Ortega.

Stopped for cold drink at San Juan de Ortega but felt the need to push on while it was still cool. Lathered on the sunscreen just in case, and hit the trail.

No need for arrows, just follow the pilgrims

At Ages, we walked the road all the way to Atpuerca, a steady line of pilgrims. Even though it wasn't even noon yet, it was getting real hot under the sun.

I had wanted to split the distance to Burgos, so I had thought to stop here. There are two refugios, one private on the Camino and another near the church. The price difference was only 1€, so I opted for the private one, as it was closer to the Camino but also closer to everything in town.

I walked up to the church, the highest point in the village to look for a place to meditate. Behind it, was a long slope covered with flowers overlooking acres of farmland. The music I heard was the buzzing of insects, the chirps of the birds, a farmer plowing a distant field, and the sound of a train headed for Burgos. A wonderful place.

Mary Ann is from Austria and having a lot of trouble with one of her ankles. I couldn't think of anything to other than icing it down. My guess is that her calf muscles are too tight, and causing an imbalance. Later in the afternoon I gave her a foot and leg massage. I think I have a new friend. [laugh]

It is an eye opening experience for me to have aches and pains in my legs. I always thought my legs were my best feature. But now age, abuse, or neglect have taken their toll. We all take our bodies for granted until they start to fail us. So, another lesson learned - take of this body because it is the only one you have.

Henrietta, Mary Ann and Cici, also from Austria, and I decided to skip the crowded kitchen at the albergue and try the El Palomar Restaurant. The hospitalera said it served an inexpensive dinner with regional recipes. Mmm, good.

Dinner with Mary Ann, Henrietta and Cici

Well, one of my gadgets failed today. The MintyBoost that is used to charge my iPod has a short. I'm sure if I was at home, I could fix it, but for now I'll have to use computers I find along the way to charge the iPod. Let's just hope I don't plug it in somewhere and forget.