Camino Diary Entry #22
#22 Emails home from the Camino
Belorado to Atapuerca 31kms 9 hours
A big day ahead, another early start! Gwyneth is getting speedier in the mornings only taking an hour and a half! The 20 minutes we used to spend at home doing up our faces is now spent on doing up our feet with vaseline and wool – and paying far greater dividends I do suspect!
A clear, sunny, if somewhat chilly start to the day saw us on our way from Belorado. It was peak hour on the Camino with at least 10- 15 other Pilgrims west- bound. In the stillness the only sound was the babble of different languages. French, Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese, and a smattering of English.
The now familiar sight of red poppies was briefly overthrown by a stunning field of pale pink. It was enough to have everyone stop for photographs!
We all have guide books and what they tell you lies frequently inaccurate.Somewhere in documenting all the ascents, they exaggerated the number of descents! I overheard one avid guide book believer enquire ” what was the author smoking when he wrote this? The distances he gives have nothing to do with what I just walked!” she is so right! The estimated time frames often are a couple of hours short.Gwyneth and I suspect we’ve been given the guide for cyclists!
And that is just the first 24 kms today!
Our 31kms took us through beech forest, Pyrean oak trees and an awful lot of sun scorched trail along a ridge.!
We left many fellow pilgrims behind at San Juan and carried on for another 6 kms until we arrived a little foot-weary in Atupuerca.
Following our map up the hill on the right there was no sign of our hotel. All we could see were scruffy ramshackle buildings – including one that seemed to have the same name as the hotel we were looking for!
Clearly they have not heard of a lawn mower! Inside is suprisingly cute and quaint. Common sense tells me to duck for every doorway – Gwyn needs to be less attentive! The show is run by a weird skinny bloke in a bad taste orange t-shirt, his overweight, unattractive kid(looks about 10 but lack of front teeth would suggest younger) and a cute little dog – but Gwyneth says I’m not allowed to make eye contact!
Heaving our suitcases up the very old and very uneven stairway nearly finished us! Gwyneth – (who never lets me have any keys) fought her way in the door and then engaged in an argument with herself over a set of three windows/shutters and insect screens, to try to let some light in. Sadly when it comes to reversing the process it knocks the antiquated tv around at an angle, just enough to be a nuisance, but not the end of the world since we can’t make the damned thing work anyway! (I asked the wee man about the tv as we like to get the weather report in the morning. He replied it didn’t matter because the weather was good!)
Gwyn took first shower which was good on this occasion so it was she who got to fight with the shower door and then get herself stuck in the bathroom.
I have only managed to wrench the latch off the door so far, but as I write this, we are now both within the same space and really hoping there will be no need to evacuate in a hurry through the night as getting the door open is not a quick thing!
Gwyneth has gone a bit quiet over the last few minutes, but I’ve just checked up. She tells me it was a close thing – got her cholesterol tablet stuck in her throat but a few slurps of red wine seem to have moved it along now.
Her nose pressed to the fly screen, I am given to understand it is a lovely warm night out there but there is nowhere to buy any food or water on the way tomorrow.
Adios from Atapuerca