Have you ever wondered if creaky joints really can be affected by the weather? Well, when I woke up the morning after the cold, windy, wet, miserable weather, my joints were complaining loudly. And that after a relatively short walk the day before, and a very comfortable and supportive mattress in the albergue. But there was only one day left, and the wind and rain that had kept on raging overnight was finally moving towards Burgos. And so must I.
But first, breakfast. For some reason I decided to go to the other place, and bumped into a Swiss lady I had met every day – every day! – since Orisson, and eventually introduced myself to in Los Arcos, and stayed in the same albergues with most nights. But we had never really talked, and never walked together. This morning, my last, we had breakfast together, and I walked into the damp and cold with her and her friend.
I know I keep harping on about not walking in the dark, but please, if you have to walk in the dark from Agés or Atapuerca, make sure you have a good bright light and take your time! The rocky trail is a potential ankle twister, and falling won’t be nice either. You have been warned. The stemless flowers are amazing in contrast though.
My new Swiss friend’s other friend was so cold she decided to speed up, and the two of us carried on in a comfortable tempo, chatting away like we had been friends forever or walked together since Orisson. My joints demanded we stopped at any and all cafés and bars, to rest, reheat and refuel. The clouds were slowly, but surely withdrawing and the rain-soaked landscape looked all the more vibrant in the fresh sunshine.
We were set on taking the River Route into Burgos to avoid the long asphalt slog around the airport, and luckily I could still remember how to find it after last year’s mission: follow the road out of Orbaneja, then cross a road bridge, where there are some newly built white houses. Turn left in front of them and then shortly after left again downhill, then follow the arrow to the right – that will take you to the right side of the airport. You then follow this trail to Castañares, cross the main road and follow the signs straight ahead, keep to the right of a factory fence, cross the river on a blue bridge, turn right and follow the river into Burgos. The trail seems a bit overgrown just after the bridge, but rest assured that as long as you turn right, it will soon widen out to a proper trail and then a paved walkway.
As it was, when I got to Castañares I decided to throw in the towel. I was in a lot of pain and walking so slowly it felt like I was holding my new walking buddy back. When I sat down for a drink and a snack at Castañares, I felt absolutely no urge to get back up again to walk another 8 km, not even along the river. I waved my Swiss friend off and got in a taxi.
OK, so it was an anticlimax to arrive by car, but I arrived in Burgos, which is always a wonderful thing! I had booked a cheap room with shared bathroom, but it didn’t open until 3, so I enjoyed a spot of lunch in the tapas street, which was around the corner from where I would stay! Start as you mean to go on …
I didn’t want to walk around much, but I could sit, and where better to sit than in the square facing this beauty?
Later I met up with the Swiss peregrina and her friend, who was leaving by bus the next morning, and the three of us spent a wonderful evening with delicious albariño, assorted tapas, camino stories and lots and lots of laughs. For two of us it was the end of the road (for now), but at least I had one more day in beautiful Burgos, and a room, so I could stay out late!
We lasted until eleven before we said goodnight 😀