Probably the most popular english language Camino de Santiago travel guide is called, “A Pilgrims Guide” and is authored by John Brierley. We have it and use the guide daily. It details 33 days/segments of hiking to reach Santiago. However, we have made a conscious effort to stay off his “track” mainly to avoid the crowds and also to make an effort to stay in the little pueblos which are often just walked through. However, sometimes the little villages just don’t line up properly, so you end up on the Brierley track. Today was one of those days. The above photo shows what a “shoulder season” Brierley track looks like. Lots of pilgrims on the trail. I can just imagine what the the summer looks like on the camino.
Steve…yesterday you asked..today the camino provides. Our first camper spotted at about 0800 still sleeping on his picnic table.
We had breakfast in a little village with Terry from Nova Scotia, Canada and Johan from Austria. We had Chorizo Tortillas on bread. Yum!
We have been taking more rest breaks which has made the long distances less painful on the feet and joints. We were laying on the grass resting in Villafranca Montes de Oca and I noticed this neat view of the Church of Santiago.
Once again, the original pilgrims absolutely did not attend the same trail design class I did. The climb up to the Montes de Oca had to be 40% grade. When you slide backwards every step in your hiking boots, you know it is steep.
As we were huffing and puffing up the steep trail, we were passed like we were standing still by Kira from Switzerland. I was amazed at her fitness level, then noticed she has a prosthetic right leg. I needed to hear her story, so I hustled to the top while she paused to photograph her friends climbing the grueling hill. She was very friendly and after hearing I was from Colorado was proud to tell me she was in Utah in 2012 for the paraolympic games. She competed in cross country skiing for Switzerland. She was amazing and made our little aches and pains go away fast.
As we were approaching the top there was a natural spring which offered some relief from the days heat. Sandy Got her buff wet and cooled both of us down.
The top leveled off and was flat for about 7km. During one of our breaks in a pine forest we met two Germans from Bavaria. They have hiked 2 weeks every year along the German route. This year they will finish near Leon. They hope their wives will join them for the final leg to Santiago.
After 24.3 km (15.1 miles) we were really glad to see our resting point, San Juan de Ortega. This photo is the church where he is encripted, taken from our room.
The next two days will be shorter distances as we approach the suburbs of Burgos.