Leon…..

…from Fromista by bus to the city of Palencia then by train to Leon. My knee is really bad, putting weight on it is very painful ….I have been walking with pain since Logrono …not smart….only got worse…..didn’t rest in Burgos either….walked all over that beautiful city just didn’t have the weight of the back pack….been in denial. So now we are in a Hostal in Leon….no pictures….sorry …..only seen the train station, an urgent care station and the street the Hostel is on.  Plan was to rest my knee, no walking at all, do ice treatments etc. but the fact is we have to quit the Camino….ahhhh….for now. I have what is called in simple terms a runners knee. This will take longer then a few days to heal….so we have to go home. Tomorrow we board the train to Lisbon and from there the plane via London back to JFK. We walked 356 km/223 mi and have 434 km/271 mi to go to Santiago and about 90 km more to Finisterre …..we will be back to finish this…..oh, yes!

I want to thank everyone for following us this far on the Camino, your comments were encouraging and refreshing. It is obvious that I am not a writer…..hopefully entertaining.

To be continued…..

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Castrojeriz to Fromista 26.4 km/15.5 mi

Buenas tardes! Yesterday no WiFi….started walking at 5:30 am…first off we climbed a very steep hill….sun rise at the top….then the steepest downhill….oh, my knee….The meseta in early morning light….beautiful. By mid morning we entered the Province of Palencia – it now appears we are in a poor and depressed area of Spain. We started the day early to finish before the hot pm sun….but arrived in Fromista in heavy rain.

Funny story – in Castrojeriz, Charlie was having Siesta and I was sitting on a bench, among people on other benches, taking pictures….from the middle of nowhere this older gentleman appears….asks to sit….starts conversation in Spanish….he knew I am a pilgrim (a peregrino)…..I let him know I only speak and understand very little (in my mind I think – time to get going)…. before I know it he gets closer….starts touching my leg….that’s it I am out of here….he holds my arm….did not want me to leave….I just shake my head…..what is it with old men?…..well, I am one day over 60 and got hit on ….gee.

Iglesia de San Martin 1066 –  finest example of pure Romanesque in Spain

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Walking the Meseta

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Arriving in Palencia – Tierra de Campos/Land of Fields

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Auberge life – Charlie gets to view women in black-lace-panties and all sorts of undress…..well, here is my HOT French bed neighbor…..

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Burgos to Hornillos del Camino 21.0 km/13.0 mi to Castrojeriz 20.2 km/12.6 mi

Hi everyone! Started the Meseta with the big 60 on my back and as a present I received a persistent pain in my left knee….can only do about 13 mi a day….down hill is the most painful and getting started in the morning…started doing Advil and Tigerbalm….not giving up….no…no…no. Most people stop walking about 1 pm also, since the sun is strong in the meseta….no shade and few villages with auberges and those fill up quickly…that means – stop – or you have to walk another 10 km to the next and it may be full. We ran into two guys returning from Santiago and asking for money to buy food. They have walked from Hungary to Santiago and are now walking back to Hungary…ran out of money….looked very tired….that’s over 2000 km air distance one way – what people do.

Castrojeriz – a sleepy town of pop. 600 – we had a “Boccadillo” sandwich with smocked Spanish ham and cheese here, on the next table a guy ate something – Charlie wondered what it was and asked as we where leaving, the guy let him try it and said it was a salt water barnacle called “Choccadilla”??? Charlie loved it so, he tried seconds.

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Village of Hontanas pop. 80 and ruins of the Convent of San Anton below

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Hornillos del Camino “Downtown”  pop. 70, here we celebrated my 60 – a bottle of vino tinto (good red wine) is only 2 Euro

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Did you know that poppies have crosses inside them?

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The Meseta

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Burgos – we love you!

Buenos Dias from Burgos – population 175,000 – alt. 860 m founded the year 884 and was home to the warlord El Cid. He and his wife Jimena lie in the 13th century Catedral de Santa Maria among the most beautiful in Spain. A vibrant city with magnificent architecture and great food.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burgos

Leaving here at 6 am tomorrow and entering “The Meseta” a wilderness of endless crop fields with little or no shade and few small villages. This will take several days of walking to get through….not sure about WiFi….please be patient.

A city worth visiting

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The food – three courses w/bottle of wine, water and bread 12 Euro per person. Nine different choices for each course – the best roast lamb ever – garlic soup and delicious desserts….absolutely sinfull

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Catedral de Santa Maria

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Gate into the old city

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Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Belogrado 24.4/15.3mi to San Juan de Ortega 26.8km/16.2mi to Burgos 26.6km/16.1mi

Happy Birthday Kat and Ben 🙂 🙂 🙂

Hello, WiFi not available last couple days …catching up, but having a heck of a time with this post…keeps disappearing…now for the third time:-(

La Rioja is behind and we entered Castilla y Leon 95,000 sq km/9 separate provinces. We are in the province of Burgos known for its cheese and lamb. This also is the bread basket of Spain, the vineyards have changed to fields of wheat, rye, barley and oats. Just before Burgos we passed the village of Atapuerca declared a UNESCO site on account of the source as the earliest human remains ever discovered in Europe dating back over 900,000 years and providing an exceptional record of the way of life of the first human communities. Artifacts are on display in Burgos – we are staying here two nights giving my knee a rest.

At one of our stops we met two ladies of mid sixty riding their bikes (older bikes not many gears) from Holland to Santiago…they left home May 6. …husbands did not want to come…gave the girls two month to do this. Most of our Camino friends are going home from Burgos to come back another time to finish….some people have to work…lucky us.

Along the way

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Waiting for the auberge to open – usually between 12:00 and 2:00 pm

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Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada 22km/13.2mi

Hello again! Sunshine and easy walking today…but never without hills. The feet are OK…having a little pain in my left knee….Tigerbalm will take care of it….great stuff. Charlie is feeling it too, as are all our “Camino Friends” walking those distances with 20+ pounds on your back takes a toll on the body….but everyone is in good spirits. We had a short walking day…7:30am to 11:30 in the auberge …cleaned up and laundry done…almost feels like a rest day…planning for two nights in Burgos.

Getting closer

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Muddy boots

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Fields of green

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This is a nice little town founded in 1044 – 30 kings and queens are buried here – decleared a national historic interest site

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Logrono to Najera 31.6km/19mi

Hi, no WiFi yesterday….2 posts today.

Left Logrono at 7am..people still on the street celebrating the festival of St. Barnabas (Logrono resisted the French invasion in 1521). The previous night we were in the mid of the celebrations and parade on the streets. We enjoyed the “Menu del Dia” or “Menu del Peregrino”  a three course meal incl. a whole bottle of the local red wine for 10 Euro…delicious artichokes (grown in all the gardens), white asparagus, lamb, beef, flan and apple tart. On the trail we were surrounded by vineyards, rain and strong head wind all the way…not easy walking. We arrived in Najera around 3 pm and the first auberge was full…the second had beds but all the hot water was used up…brrr cold shower not fun either. Why do we stay at auberges? It is fun being with all the people we pass and walk with on the trail …Finnland, Sweden, lots of Italy, Korea, Germany, England, Australia, Spain and many others….the camaraderie is priceless.

We had the Menu del Peregrino here

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Walking in the rain

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Parade in Logrono

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Los Arcos to Logrono 30km/18.2mi

Hola amigos! Now we are in the La Rioja region, a special black grape is grown here…the Tempranillo ….makes very good red wine. Logrono is the capital of La Rioja and center of the wine industry – population 150,000. The trail led us through the village of Torres del Rio past its octagonal 12th century church linked to the Knights Templar, then we stopped for lunch in the small town of Viana, founded in 1219 by King Sancho III “El Fuerte”. In the beautiful Gothic style church lie the remains of the soldier, prince and cardinal “Cesare Borgia” (the Borgias) who died near here in 1507. Crossing the river Ebro we entered Logrono….tireeed….after 18 miles.mi.

Germany and Australia about to eat their self-prepared meal …Auberge life

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Olives on the left – grapes on the right – Almonds top rightimagePoppies are everywhereimageCamino artimageimageIglesia de Santa Maria – in VianaimageimageLogronoimage

Estella to Los Arcos 20.5km/13.1mi

Hi you all! Had a night…we stayed at the Auberge Municipal in Estella last night…6 Euro per bed, the cheepest so far, usually we pay 8 – 10 Euro. They were quite full and crowded and about the only thing left were two top bunks in different cubicles…so there I am on the top bunk and had not seen my bottem partner yet….but a while later here he comes….oh my, don’t think he has showered for some time….he STUNK. Charlie could not even stand it, he said to me”he smells like a goat and….YOU like goats” ha..ha..ha….. Tigerbalm under my nose helped some.

Short day today…the trail went through more or less the same terrain as yesterday, but we are starting to see more vineyards now. Just out of town we came to the Fuente del Vino – free red wine on tap. Also walked a bit with three Spanish ladies from Malaga….very nice. One of them walks the camino for the third time.

The view from my bunk

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Fuente del Vino – wine at 7am….that gets you going

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Up and down…up and down

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One of the many old churches we pass

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Rain in Spain

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Enjoying some more vino tinto

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Puente la Reina to Estella 24.8km/15.8mi

Buenas tardes! This morning we left the town by walking over the “Queens Bridge” (the wife of the benefactor of Puente la Reina, Dona Mayor, commanded the magnificent bridge, spanning the river Arga, built to support the safe movement of the increasing numbers of pilgrims). The trail led us through quiet villages and in between fields of rye and barley as well as some grapes and olives. We also walked a good part of the 2000 year old Roman road bordered with sweet smelling honeysuckle, blooming rosehip in white and pink and clumps of poppies. My blisters really appreciated the Roman road. Both of us are very tired tonight.

Queens bridge

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On the trail

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Roman road

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I can only dream of having roses like this

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