Day 11, Burgos to Hornillo del Camino
This was a contradiction of days…
Having been stupid the day before I now had a brand new blister. Unknown to me at the time, this would become the blister. The day started out quite nice, I hobbled to the elevator went down a few floors and collected my clothes that still hung out to dry, and headed up to pack all my stuff.
On my way out of Burgos I hobbled more than I walked, hoping that I only needed to “warm up” the blisters. The first few minutes of walking on any day of the Camino is spent doing the Camino shuffle, meaning warming up and getting used to sore and/or stiff muscles and getting used to any blisters you may or may not have.
This day promised to be anything but comfortable to walk. The day itself was very nice with great weather. However my foot was not good, and I walked mostly by myself this day, which might have been for the best because I don’t think that I would have been in the best of moods.
I had set my sights on Hontanas which would be about 33km from Burgos, as I went however it became apparent that that would not happen. I was now used to the stabby pain that emanated from my right foot every time I plonked it down on the trail, but it made for a miserable experience and when I took a break I ran in to Andy from way back on day one, he had taken a taxi some of the way and also to get past most of the hilly sections of the camino. He stopped and we chatted and he continued on while I stayed in the shade of a tree taking a mini break for about an hour or so.. I think, but after a change of socks and taping up my foot with some athletic tape I gathered some courage and strode on… for about maybe five or seven kilometres cursing every single rock, pebble and the very ground itself.. but eventually I came upon an albergue and there in the door was Andy… it was all the reason I needed to make it my stop for the day, even though it seemed that the building the albergue was in was the only one for a few miles .. but according to Andy it was a very nice place and the hospitalera was very polite.
He was right, the place was awesome.. it was Albergue El Alfar de Hornillos I wholeheartedly recommend a stop there… it was a brilliant place.
After checking in I found the showers and rid myself of the day’s layer of dust and sweat on my way back to the room I spotted a medical cabinet, it was well stocked and hat iodine, syringes medical alcohol and more… I grabbed some the bottle of iodine, the alcohol, the sterile water and a syringe …
I went to the room and warned the two other occupants that they might hear some manly screams as I was about to get medieval on the blister from hell. One way or the other that blister was going down.
Upon inspection it was worse than I had thought, the blister was so deep that it was now filled with blood which is a excellent way of ensuring infection if not treated. So I punctured and drained it swabbed it with iodine and then filled the syringe with medical alcohol… and flushed the blister…. the scream that followed was probably heard a mile in every direction, but it was done quickly, then after a moment to compose myself I flushed it again with the sterile water. The worst was over.. I cut away a small piece of the dead skin to allow it to drain continuously then stuck a small bandage over it.
That done I made my way down into the garden where the rest of the pilgrims had gathered and was chatting. The conversations few back and forth we discussed politics, religion and had a bad joke competition… nobody won that one.
This is also where I met Pezi and Anita (from Austria) for the first time, we didn’t talk much while we where here, as shortly after the bad joke competition ended dinner was served which was a delicious Paella along with some wine..
Food and merriment happened and all too soon it was time to call it a day and get ready for bed, pre packing and making sure that I had everything.. to my surprise I had not forgotten anything in Burgos.
It was a very nice end to an otherwise not so brilliant day.
Day 12, Hornillo del Camino to Itero de la Vega
I woke up and felt well, moving around did cause some pain in my foot due to the newly treated blister but not to bad I thought. Little did I know, this would be the day that things seemed to conspire to make it the worst day of the camino.
It started out well enough a quick breakfast and then back onto the road, my feet firmly secured in my shoes without any discomfort. For the first part of the day everything was great…
But it quickly got worse and my pace became abysmally slow so I when I reached what would have been an easy incline, it was steep but short, however it was now about noon and the sun was out in full force and the temperature rose quickly. To add to the misery the path up was in direct sunlight with no trees for shade.
At this point I had some walking company from someone else who I think just slowed their pace down as to keep me company and help keep my spirit up. I eventually made it to the top and just there was one of the make shift cafes that sold fruit and sodas .. I was so happy, even happier when I spotted the benches that was under cover to provide shade and protection from rain when that might be an issue, it was not on this day. The shade however was much appreciated by all, after a lengthy break we continued on. I say we but I cannot remember who I walked with … even so we continued on and eventually reached Itero de la Vega, the first thing I saw was an albergue, that was my stop. I was not walking one meter more than necessary my walking companion had however spotted a sign for another albergue that listed vegitarian food as one of their things and she walked on in search of it since that was something she wanted.
I checked in to the albergue which turned out to be a combination of bar and albergue. It was not bad as such, just very bland everything from the beds, room and the bar itself was boring in some way. Combine that with the worst day I’d ever had so far on the Camino it just made things seem worse. As I layed in bed relaxing and taking the weight of my feet, for the first time ever I contemplated packing it in and taking a taxi for the next stage.
After a small nap, I still thought about it but decided I would wait until the morning to see how I felt and if it was as bad as today I would take a taxi…
Then I went into the bar to look at what food might be had there, the menu did not look appetising, I went with the least objectionable item on it which was chorizo sausage with egg an fries. I had to wait until for a bit as the cook was not in yet which was a common thing everywhere so that was not unexpected. In the meantime I had some beer and wrote a few postcards and a bit in my journal.
Then food happened, it was not bad, it was as advertised but the rest of my experiences this day threw a wet blanket on any thing that I might find exiting.
Eventually night came and I prepped as usual for the next day….
Day 13, Itero de la Vega to Carrion de los Condes
The day started off well, my feet were almost completely recovered, not pain just mild discomfort. Thoughts of taking a taxi vanished from my mind and I set off in a good mood, determined to have a good day.
I walked for a good hour still anxious to see if my feet would behave and let me walk without pain, they seemed be content with just causing mild discomfort every now and then. I came upon the first town after Itero de la Vega, Boadilla del Camino and the first albergue I saw looked awesome, so much so that I immediately thought that I had been stupid yesterday to stop where I did, however in hindsight it was probably for the best as I think if I had pushed it further that day my feet would not have recovered as well.
I got my usual breakfast and looked around as I sat out in the garden under a canopy of trees, two Danes joined me Thor and Thorben (might have spelled the last one wrong there) As we started talking I told them about my blister troubles and Thor then showed me his numerous blisters which had, in all honesty, not been treated the best way. I pulled out my supplies and helped him treat them so that they would at least have a chance to recover more quickly.
After a while we started walking out together and Thor was very pleased with the improvement, he payed me with a pack of gummy bears, which I packed into my emergency food stash.
We continued to walk together and my feet gave me no trouble and I was back to my normal pace, which also seemed to be Thor’s pace, Thorben walked slower but according to Thor I shouldn’t worry because he walked slowly but steadily and never took breaks… so me and Thor would steam ahead … take a break wherever we would find some shade and surely in the distance we would spot him.
After a while we came upon lunch-town … I was uncertain of the wisdom of choosing this particular spot for lunch, there were free roaming chickens, ducks and a baby goat running around between the tables and chairs outside. However any doubts I had quickly disappeared when I saw the inside and not to mention the menu. The place was awesome, they had a big chalkboard for people to write messages, words of wisdom or a joke.
I got a bocadillo, something you will eventually come to loathe but still get as lunch or breakfast. It is essentially a stale baguette with cheese or ham… no butter or oil by way of lubrication. I also ordered the biggest coffee they had in order to rehydrate my mouth between bites of the bocadillo… after what I considered to be an extended lunch break we continued on repeating the walk, break, catch up routine …
After walking a while I decided that I would stop in Carrion de lots Condes. It was still a bit of a way off, but with the company of the Danes the time passed quickly .. all but the final stretch.. that was a long one and both me a Thor ran out of water and so we just went for it
On the edge of the town we found a small wall / stone fence that we sat down on trying to squeeze any water out of our various water containing devices, with no luck. Shortly after Thorben can almost jogging panting like crazy. It turns out that Thor had been carrying their water reserves and he had been trying to catch up with us, however since we had not taken any breaks he had done so in vain.
We walked slowly into town, we spotted a bar and the two Danes were sold, they went for the beer. I however wanted to find an albergue and possibly a water fountain. As I headed into the town centre… I hear someone call my name… again and again… it was Matteo and Simon was with him. They had apparently been walking like crazy to catch up to some friends of theirs, they had done a 40km and a 50km day in order to do so and thus they had gone past me.
I had been known to those I met as the crazy Norwegian due to me walking silly distances at times, now I pointed out to them that they were very much the crazy Italians.
Matteo told me which albergue they had booked into, it happened to be the same one that I was looking for. Matteo gave me directions, I walked towards it and could not find it.. in fact I got so lost I ended up back where I started and Matteo just shook his head… and offered to take me there. I told him it would not be necessary, I took a short break in the shade and then tried to find it again, this time I succeeded. I waited in line, the albergue was run by nuns, and as I sat down along with two other pilgrims to check in and get my credential stamped … a nun snuck up on us and spritzed us with lemon scented water… I suppose it was something they did to all pilgrims to lessen the BO they were exposed to.
I found my room and I was very happy, no bunk beds.. proper beds with decent mattresses.
Soon after I met up with Matteo and Simon and since this would be the last day we would spend together..our schedules was completely different and they also wanted a very short day after having walked close 100km in two days, which was more than understandable.
I told them I would make a farewell dinner for us albeit a simple one, pasta with chorizo and tomato sauce…. we cooked dinner together and they got some beers and we exchanged contact info … so we could stay in touch, which we did and still do.
Before long it was time to go to bed, and we said our goodbyes