Belorado – Agés
Agés, only 518 kilometers from Santiago. Agés is a small but memorable Camino town with two albergues and a bar or two. It's one of those places where people have no choice but to congregate, and that made it one of my favorite Camino places! Unlike a big city, where everyone inevitably goes off in separate directions, pilgrims come together in towns like this. Next to our albergue, the only tienda in town sold awesome homemade pastries, orange juice, and chocolate. Yum!
Accommodation: A clean yet otherwise unremarkable municipal albergue. It's best feature was the bar/restaurant- not for the quality of food, but for the company; it attracted most of the pilgrims in town.
Agés – Burgos
Day 12 took us to Burgos, the largest city since Pamplona. Some members of our group opted to try a “night walk” from Agés, but I’m so glad we didn’t. Even in daylight, heavy fog obscured large portions of the path. I can only imagine that walking at night would have been colder, wetter, and a bit dangerous. Much of the Camino followed the roads as we walked into the city. Fortunately, a friendly bartender helped us avoid the industrial and (from what we’ve heard) unpleasant suburbs by suggesting we walk about 5 km through the parallel park. For dinner that night, we ate at one for Burgos’ two veg-friendly restaurants [more to come] and finished off with some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had.
Accommodation: In Burgos, we stayed at a private hostel, a step up from a typical albergue. For €14 a person, we had double rooms in a central location. It was a nice treat- mostly because we slept past 9 and didn’t wake up with the early-rising bag-rustlers that plague albergues!
We took a rest day in Burgos on Day 13, which meant we got to enjoy a lazy morning. We took a tour of the beautiful cathedral, went to a tapas bar, and enjoyed being in the city! Fun tip: Burgos provides 5 hours of free wifi to tourists per day (in the city center only). All you have to do is fill out a form at the tourist bureau and set up an account!
Accommodation: For our second night in Burgos, we stayed at the large (but clean) municipal just blocks away from the Cathedral.
Burgos – Hornillos
This was a short day (only 13 miles), but according to our book, it was the day we first entered the Meseta. This was one of the coldest days we’d faced thus far- as we walked out of the city, we saw a sign that said 2*C! The picture above shows one of our first views of the (mostly) flat plains!
Accommodations: Hornillos was a tiny town, with a bar, a shop, and an albergue. We stayed at the municipal here, which was quite basic, but only cost €5. As far as we could tell, there was no wifi anywhere in town.
Hornillos – Castrojeriz
Accommodation: We stayed at the Refugio San Juan, a donativo in Castrojeriz. The Refugio was simple, but quaint in a (very) rustic sort of way. According to our guidebook, the hospitalero is “an enduring figure” of the Camino and I can certainly see why he’s one that regulation. Eccentric just about sums him up. He has a serious of small planks he plays on residents, including a “cure” for blisters that involves surgical scrubs and a large, rusty saw. Yikes. He also instructed us we weren’t allowed out of bed until he woke us up at 6:30 because “pilgrims need their rest.” The next morning, he was true to his word- he played chants and sang “buenos días” to us while wearing traditional pilgrim garb and swinging his lantern. It was an eventful night!