CF21 Day 1 – Pilgrims at their best (but no kilt)

Sorry about the delay, but this camino decided to start with a bit of drama. The rain that was forecast, seemed to arrive with thunder and lightning in the middle of the night, so I put on my poncho mainly against the wind and set off from Burgos (reluctantly). The first thing I saw and heard as I hauled myself up the steps, was a young peregrina speaking to her walking buddy as they went down to see the golden wings that are set out in front of the side door of the cathedral.

I then tried to find my way out of Burgos by memory, which didn’t go very well, though I did end up in the right place eventually and could join the steady trickle of pilgrims towards Hornillos, where I had booked a twin room ages ago, to avoid the rush and race and municipal.

In front of me were one small and fast pilgrim with an easily spottable bright red cap, gradually overtaking everyone in front of them, one with a grey pack cover who seemed to be walking at my pace and one who just overtook me but was polite about it and said Buen Camino before he left me in the dust. All was well on the camino.

Until Red Cap Man disappeared behind a parked car, and didn’t reappear. Polite Fast Man seemed to help him up and spoke to him, and off Red Hat went again. They both went under the bridge, and I followed – only to find Red Cap had veered head first into the ditch and Polite Man was helping him up. Polite Man asked if my Spanish was any good, which it is if you want a bed or a beer, but not for a lot else. He said he thought Red Cap needed an ambulance, since he had had two bad falls in a short space of time and was bleeding from both cheeks and sounded like he was speaking incoherently and repeating himself a lot. I agreed with the ambulance, but Red Cap was adamant he wanted to carry on to Tardajos, which was by this time only a km or so away. So we walked with him, tried to talk to him, get him to sit down, drink water etc, but he just kept going. Just outside town we sat him down on a bench and I kept watch while Polite Man went to the nearest house to ask them to help him explain the situation to the emergency services. Red Cap himself took the phone at one point and told them he suffered from chronic cardiac something which didn’t sound good! He still wanted to move on though, as this was his 22. camino… Yes, twenty second!

As we were waiting for the ambulance, the girl from the cathedral steps in Burgos came and joined us, and after Red Cap had been picked up, we had a light lunch, a refreshing clara and then walked on to Hornillos. On the way we were excited to see a man in a kilt in front of us, but as we got nearer, it turned out it was just a pair of shorts with a long sleeve top tied over it. Very disappointing. But on we went.

The girl, also a Linda, had reserved a bed in the municipal in Hornillos, but when she arrived, they had given it to someone else after two o’clock. If you are walking now or in the near future, be aware that you might need to call and confirm on the day!

As it was, Hornillos was full, but luckily I had a spare bed in my room. So it all worked out in the end! She took me to dinner to say thank you, and David and Polite Man also joined us. Quite the full day and I felt completely thrown back where I had left off – with the best of the camino.

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