CF21 Day 2 – Hornillos to Castrojeriz

My first morning actually on the camino started at a reasonable time, and the hospitalero at the Sol a Sol was already serving breakfast downstairs. Young and not so young Lindas and the Dutch lady Linda was walking with, gathered for an early feast of mini croissant, toast, butter, jam and marmelade, plus fruit, nuts, juice and a choice of coffee or tea. I have stayed there before and I will again (in fact I am already planning to). Then at around 8 we poked our heads out to see if it was raining yet – we were still due a lot of heavy rain that never came the day before, but yet again the skies were just pale blue with pretty cotton clouds. It looked like it would be a gorgeous day.

After Hornillos there really is very little to see other than the rolling fields on either side of the crunchy gravel track. First stop of the day would be in the now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t village of Hontanas, which isn’t perching on top of a hill with an easily visible church you can focus on as you walk, it just suddenly jumps out at you from a dip in the landscape and offers a weary and dusty pilgrim with nothing but toast and coffee for breakfast such delights as huge bocadillos, soups and salads, hot and cold drinks and a nice and well deserved rest. The three of us had been walking separately but had a nice lunch together before we carried on at our own pace.

Again there was nothing really to stop for or see until the ruins of the monastery of San Anton, which has always catered to pilgrims – it even has small niches under the arch spanning the trail/road where they would put out food and refreshments for late and tired pilgrims. It is now also a basic donativo albergue with WC, shower, a few beds and marvellous surroundings to watch the night sky in.

After getting some photos I decided to carry on towards my prebooked albergue bed in Castrojeriz a few kms further along before my feet gave up for the day. That last bit is all on tarmac/asphalt, so I focused on the hill with the ruins of the castle and just enjoyed the view as I soldiered on in the increasing heat.

Castrojeriz itself is nestled at the foot of the hill and stretched out in long camino town roads, and as luck would have it my albergue was the very last one at the far end… Oh well, saving the distance in the morning! The hospitalero greeted me with cold watermelon and a big smile behind his mask, what more can a tired peregrina ask for? One of the things that drew me to the Rosalia was that it has a loft with flat beds, ie not bunks, so no banging head on the top bunk or sitting all crouched up to get organised. When I came up to the loft, there seemed to be a men’s and a women’s part, and in the women’s one I met Laura, with a beaming and very infectious smile that lifted my weary mood. We had a good chat before I hit the shower and I quickly did some laundry on the way out.

The albergue offered communal dinner, but I went to the nearby hotel Iacobus, where I stayed last time, to have an ankerbier and enjoy the view. It turned out they served hot food when most places don’t, so I decided to have my dinner early. David had a meal with me, and mid main course we did get a short but fierce burst of rain. Luckily we were in the shade and under cover, so we stayed dry. Later we were joined by Polite Man, who had walked up to the castle ruins and is henceforth known as Andiana Jones, and his Polish peregrina friend. He was staying at the hotel, so when David went back for his communal dinner and the peregrina went to make hers, I stayed to keep Andiana Jones company and watch the sun go down. At least until my silent Fitbit albergue alarm went at 21.45 – I am not taking the chance of getting locked out!

As it was, curfew was at nine or half past – oops – and all was still and dark inside. I crept into bed as quietly as I could, pulled the sleeping bag zip up and was away.

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