From Villafranca de Montes de Oca to Cardeñuela Riopico

This morning’s post was a feeble attempt to try to encapsulate about three days of the Camino in one stream of consciousness, written at 6am in the least comfortable of all the albergues I’ve stayed in so far.

The weight of all the moments that have passed since the incident with Martin at the Spanish Civil War memorial outside Villafranca de Montes de Oca has then been multiplied by the sudden speed at which I’m currently travelling – it’s all got a bit out of hand and I wonder if I’ve been really able to afford each subsequent stage of the journey its due weight.

So, I’m taking my time now to go back a bit and try to more fairly describe the last few days, in separate posts.

After the alarms of Monday morning’s medical moment, it was good to be able to continue onwards to Burgos, although my original intention of actually getting there in one day now looked unlikely.

There were a number of pleasant places to take a moment to absorb, including St Juan de Ortega (St John Nettles), by which time I found myself walking with Janet from South Australia, who’d also helped in Martin’s moment of distress.

We later encountered Sean from the US, who currently holds the title of Least Satisfactory Person Yet (agreed and confirmed by persons of multiple nationalities), but were able to unload him simply by carrying on, while he sank into his chair at Agés.

Soon after, we found Ferdi from Germany who was able to confirm that his friend Martin was doing well in hospital and recovering quickly, grateful for all the support he’d received.

I walked with Ferdi for a while and we chatted about this and that and he allowed me to test his walking poles to see if they actually did that much to help.

They do.

But I’d already walked more than 250km without them by that point – so I’m not getting them now.

At this point, I suddenly heard a yell behind me, just after a farmer in his tractor went past.

Fearing a second medical incident of the day, we turned around to see Janet gesticulating that we’d somehow gone off the path.

I’d waved at the same farmer just a few moments before and he’d let me and Ferdi carry on.

But when he saw Janet, he stopped his tractor, leapt out and pointed her in the right direction.

Go figure.

Back on track, we all arrived at Atapuerca, a site of great archaeological interest with standing stones a little similar to those found at Stonehenge.

By now, Burgos was no longer in range, so after another strenuous climb, we settled on an albergue in the next village, Cardeñuela Riopico.

A sleepy little place, it seemed possible that we might even have the place to ourselves, but in the end a total of seven pilgrims had the benefit of power showers, extra pillows and a “swimming pool”.

The absolute treat was to find Githlian and Elizabeth from New Zealand (from Day 2) and to compare notes on Sean from America…

The friendliness of the welcome and the quality of the evening were well above average – each albergue has been special, in its own way.

Burgos lay in wait for us, just another 12km away.

Accommodation Report:

Albergue Via Minera, Cardeñuela Riopico

A very well equipped sleeping block with all mod cons, with a good restaurant/bar attached too. Spot on.

Health Report:

Blisters: 0 (9) Pretty much no longer an issue

Trips, Slips and Falls: 0 (1)

Applications of Factor 50: 5 (68)

Filling of Water Bottles: 3 (32)

Guide Book Left Behind At Scene Of Medical Emergency: 1

Unsuccessful requests for Parmesan cheese: 0 (1)

Unrequested dish of Parmesan cheese presented: 0 (1)

Acceptance of pathside lemonade stall opportunities: 0 (2)

Wrong turns taken: 1 (2) A farmer saved us from an incorrect left turn, thankfully after only 1km going the wrong way

Mobile phone chargers left behind: 1

New mobile phone chargers bought: 1

Number of times “Buen Camino” was said: About 40

Unlikely Song Repeatedly Played By My Brain: Eyes To The Wind by The War On Drugs

Poncho deployments: 0 (2)

6 thoughts on “From Villafranca de Montes de Oca to Cardeñuela Riopico

  1. jillgat

    Enjoying your blog and reliving the Camino!
    Least Satisfactory Person Yet (LSPY).. hahaha! I bonded with a number of other pilgrims in our common exasperation with a loud French woman with dyed blue hair who loudly talked to herself and repetitively packed and repacked her backpack onto her bed, complete with loud, rustling plastic bags. Even her boyfriend ended up staying in a different albergue, finally.

    Here’s a tip for lost chargers (and lost towels, etc.) Ask the next albergue for a look in their “Lost and Found” box. You will likely come up with a new charger, left by a previous pilgrim.

    Buen Camino!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jillgat

    Dammit, I am searching through your blog for the picture of the statue of the pilgrim holding his water bottle/bota above his head, aiming at his mouth. It was at the bottom of the hill just before Astorga. I meant to ask you if you discovered that there was a lever to push to make water actually flow from the bottle to his mouth?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. jillgat

        Somebody else pushed it while I was there or I wouldn’t have known, either! Really cool statue. And was the guy playing the guitar and singing about peregrinos going to Astorga at the top of the hill?

        Liked by 1 person

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