Today’s hike was a little shorter than usual, only about 20 km. Unfortunately though, we were 1 pilgrim short. Mel stayed behind in Hornillos to hike later on to a bus stop where her Camino would end for now. Once again, we started out early in the morning before the sun was up. This was always bittersweet because on the one hand you got to see the sun rise almost every morning. On the other hand, It was usually so dark when we started that we had to use our headlamps to find the yellow arrows and shells that pointed us in the right direction; not to mention it sucked starting your days hike in 30 degree weather. To make matters worse for this particular morning, there wasn’t a town with an open bar for the first 11 km! Since we usually didn’t eat breakfast till we had walked to the next nearest town, this meant that I didn’t get my coffee until we were at least 3 hours into the hike. Me not having my coffee in the morning is a bad idea for my moral, and sometimes for the livelihood of those around me. Once we stopped for breakfast and grabbed some coffee, I was a little more amiable and we proceeded onward to Castrojeriz.
The last kilometer of the hike into this town is beautiful. On the side of the hill is the main part of town, but on the top lays the ruins of a medieval castle. Walking up to this town looked like something out of a painting. The town was a weave of switchbacks with several bars, delicious restaurants, and albergues and hostels.
We stayed in the San Estaban albergue, a municipal albergue. The place had good showers, clean restrooms (communal facilities I might add), and decent sleeping arrangements. There were about 30 or 40 beds to the room, but at this point in the trip, I had adapted to sleeping through the snoring (especially Dom’s). As an added feature to this particular albergue, at the bottom of the stairs headed down the hill away from the albergue is an outdoor store. I didn’t pack a short sleeve shirt because I read about how cool it would be, but needed one now because of the higher temps. The store had walking poles, hiking pants, shirts, and hats, and other items pilgrims might need. If you decided to buy a shirt from this store, be sure to wash it before you wear it. I decided to wash mine before I tried it the next day, and the dyes in it turned the water a deep purple. After a few more dunks and rinses in the water, it was fine though.
After settling in to the albergue, I turned on my phone to catch up on what was going on back home. The first thing that popped up was a slew of USA Today new updates. There had been a bombing at the Boston marathon. Hearing the news hit me a little harder than I thought it would, I guess it’s because I’m a runner. Sometimes when I hear about things like this, I think it’s sad, but it doesn’t really hit me because it doesn’t directly affect me. But for some reason or another, this was different. Couldn’t tell you why it did, but it just did.
We ended the day by grabbing a few beers at this little bar just down the hill from our albergue. It always felt good after hiking for most of the day to grab a cold beer, sit outside and meet new people and start up random conversations. It was a great way to unwind and relax, especially after hearing the news of the bombing earlier in the day.
What a cool little town.
Distance: 20.2 km
Accommodation: San Esteban Albergue- The place had good showers, clean restrooms (communal facilities I might add), and decent sleeping arrangements. There were about 30 or 40 beds to the room. Wifi was available as well as internet access. I’d stay here again.