We will be starting out today’s post with a couple of photos from yesterday afternoon. Our municipal albergue had a really nice restaurant/bar next door. It had a restaurant area, a traditional cafe bar and a nice lounge. We spent quite a bit of time socializing with fellow pilgrims in the lounge as the albergue was packed and pretty cramped. Here Sandy and our friend Carlo from Rome share a conversation.
The restaurant served up a pilgrims menu with traditional local foods. They brought out this huge metal pot of paella. They placed it on our table and covered it with a white cloth. The waiter explained it needed to “sleep” a bit before serving. Besides rice, it contained chicken, chorizo, saffron, peas, and peppers. After about ten minutes he woke it up by uncovering it to the applause of a roomful of peregrinos. Our first course was dished up. Honestly, the first course was more than enough. Most of us did not finish our second meat course or dessert.
We had two travel options which we discussed at length for today’s hike. The first option was to hike 11 miles to a primative albergue in a historic church located in a remote mountain village called Tosantos. The second option was to make it a short day, hike 6.5 miles and stay in the lively town called Belorado ( pop 2,100). We went back and forth, but our final decision came when my head cold got worse and I was up for most of the night. So, we set off for Belorado and booked a private room. We passed Viloria de la Rioja and some very old homes. The door I photographed had to be several hundred years old. All the doors are split. As the temperatures rise, the residents open the top to help circulate the air.
It was very humid and cold this morning as evidenced by this picture. You know it is really cold when you absolutely do not care how stupid you look. Just layer up, keep moving and hopefully the movement and clothes will warm you up. The steam trails from our breaths went out about two feet. Humid cold is the worst cold.
This church, located in Viloria was the first mission style church we have seen in Spain. Designed much like the historic mission churches we have seen in southern California.
Sandy and her backpack.
The Spanish love to trim back their shade trees to the extreme. This is Plaza Mayor in Belorado. I would love to see what it looks like when fully leafed out. It looks like it would be a perfect shade canopy. Belorado is a neat town with lots of history. Hermits used to occupy the many caves above the town. Even today people reside in the caves.
We are now in the Spanish region called Castilla Y Leon. It is the largest region in Spain. We will be trekking through three of its nine provinces (Burgos, Palencia and Leon). It contains the Meseta, a huge flat plateau with snow capped mountains reaching up 8,500 feet.