Leaving Castrojeriz there is nothing else for it than to go up and over that hill. You can see it for miles before you get there, and the sign warning you about the 12% incline is not adding to the enthusiasm. The first time I walked over it I wasn’t aware it was coming and had done some light roadside surgery on my heels the night before. (Not recommended.) I don’t actually mind it now, because I know the views are marvellous up there. So up I went, stopping every so often to enjoy the view and the sunrise over Castrojeriz (read: get my breath back) and taking it nice and slow.
Half way up I was overtaken by Andiana Jones, who walked up with me. At the top was David, and so we carried on across the little plateau together until we got to the downhill, which is signed 18% decline… Glad I had my Pacerpoles as handbrakes.
Then it was on to the meseta proper, all golden dust and harvested wheat and the odd bright yellow sunflower nodding from the fields. On and on with the meseta views right and left, past Itero de Castilla, with a stop in San Nicolas to get a stamp, they even offered a cup of coffee and some biscuits, and the 8 beds were ready for any pilgrims that might want to stay. Even St James had hand sanitiser at the ready.
In Itero de la Vega we wanted to go to the Mochila albergue and enjoy a drink and a rest in the lovely garden, but it was closed, so we had an omelette and an Aquarius in the first bar instead. It was getting really hot though so we wanted to hurry up and get to Boadilla 8 kms away. Basically we were in for two hours of walking in the heat with no shade, so no point in leaving it too long.
I am glad I had company or it would have felt even longer! When we could finally see the church in Boadilla I swear someone was slowly pulling it away as we tried to get closer.
In the end we did arrive though, and what a place to arrive to. The albergue dorms are still available but food and drink are served in the hotel next door, where I had a room. I had my lovely shower, got my laundry done and hung it out – it was bone dry in an hour. No point in going out into that blistering heat so I just stayed in the garden room and wolfed down first a two course lunch and later a main course dinner. There may have been drinks too. I really like getting rooms in nice places in the middle of nowhere, as you get more time to enjoy the room and facilities when you don’t feel the need to sightsee or look for your travelling companions – they are right there in the same building. I have been to the albergue as well as the hotel before and am already booked to return.