Day 15: Burgos – Hontanas

A day of contrasts.
As expected, walking out of the city of Burgos wasn’t really inspiring, and it makes walking really difficult. As the cities expanded, the outer perimeter, obviously, has the newer residential developments, and beyond that you find industrial zones. Motorways run through these areas, but most depressing is how deserted these roads are. I’ve been told there had been major development around some of these cities prior the European economic crisis, and that, thereafter, a lot of these expansion plans never came to fruition. You literally see empty industrial and office parks as far as you walk.
Burgos is also the first city or town on the Camino that (especially the outlying areas) I’ve found to be unkept. 
The Camino de Santiago is a Unesco declared World Heritage Site, and all along the route one sees how villages and towns use this to their advantage – the pilgrims bring much needed spending to many of these villages. 
Burgos, however, doesn’t seem to care as much. Route markers are also few and far between, and one needs to keep your eyes open to stay on the route.

I understand from other pilgrims that Leòn, a much bigger city than Burgos, will be even worse – with the uninspiring areas stretching much further beyond the city limits.

I’m glad, however, to be back in a rual village – Hontanas. 
It’s been quite a walk today – 32km’s – but the promise of getting out of the city made it easier.

It was nice and cool when I left Burgos, but temperatures rose quickly, and it turned out to be a scorching day – not as bad as I had about a week ago, though.

Last night I stayed in Hostel Burgos where I again met up with John, the child psychologist from the US. His Camino ended in Burgos, as he flew out to Barcelona today to meet his niece for a holiday in Europe. Burgos’ airport was developed when there was still much hope of economic growth in the area, but it currently serves only a single flight to Madrid every other day. It’s not just in South Africa where we have white elephants!

Upon my arrival today, I had a quick beer and lunch, before taking a shower and a nap. Dinner will be at 19:00, and I can’t see myself having a late night. There are a lot less pilgrims on the route now – many ended their Camino in Burgos, and many (especially the Americans) skip the stretch between Burgos and Leon, as they don’t want to walk through the Meseta.

My albergue tonight, Albergue El Pundito, is in a very old building. I’m in a room that must have been an attic. What constantly surprises me is these very, very old buildings that, from the outside, look like they’re about to collapse, but when you go inside is super modern.

As we entered the Meseta today it was considerably warmer than the previous days. It’s not the heat that gets you, though, but the fact that you have no shade or shelter (not a single tree) for miles. The landscape is mostly wheat fields, with the odd patch of sunflowers.

The further one goes on the Camino, things also (thank heavens) get cheaper – where I am now food and drink cost no more than in South Africa. Wine, as a matter of fact, in restaurants, are sometimes cheaper than bottled water – you can get wine here for €2-3 a bottle (I’ve got no clue if it’s any good, I just drink whatever they put in front of me).

Tomorrow I’ll be walking to Boadilla del Camino – it should be about 30km’s. I have really not had any serious issues, and actually feel a lot stronger than when I started. One of the things I’ve decided is to never again allow my fitness level to be as bad it was before – I have so much more energy than before.

Buen Camino!

Ps. Due to a shortage of electrical sockets in our room last night, my phone wasn’t fully charged, and I could not take nearly as many photo’s as I would have wanted to.

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