Belorado to Atapuerca
A few observations from this Post’s Featured Image:
- The Camino de Santiago is a long walk.
- The pilgrim is surrounded by beautiful scenery.
- My legs are starting to get some sun.
- I am not lugging a backpack on the trail today.
Since today was Jimmy’s last long day of hiking, we decided to ship our packs from Belorado to San Juan de Ortega, the end of the today’s stage. We agreed that it would be nice to walk unencumbered and just enjoy the long hike. And enjoy it we did; it was a beautiful hike.
Of interest on the journey was the Monumento de los Caídos, a memorial and a graveyard for 300 or so soldiers that we assassinated on this spot in the early days of the Spanish Civil War for their political ideas and their defense of liberty. It was hard to imagine such violence here over 80 years ago, today it is a place of peace.
On the way down to San Juan de Ortega, we came upon an upscale Donativo called “El Oasis del Camino.” It was perfectly placed on a long, dry stretch of the Camino and offered fresh fruits, water, beer, wine, plenty of places to sit, and hammocks! This was a popular place among the pilgrims today.
We did stop for refreshments and a rest in the hammocks.
On to Atapuerca
We made it to San Juan de Ortega in the early afternoon feeling strong, most likely because we hadn’t been carrying backpacks all day long. We decided to grab our packs and headed at least to Ages (3.6km) or Atapuerca (6.1km). It was a great decision for us and a fantastic hike. We stopped for refreshments at El Alquimista in Ages and then powered on to Atapuerca. We were able to get beds at the second highest place in town. We were settled in our accommodations by 4:00pm. And by the way, “settling in” means hand-washing laundry, showering, and napping, not necessarily in that order.
After settling in, we went to the gathering area for the pilgrim meal. It was a fantastic meal of lamb burgers, a delicious IPA (my first in Spain!), and really good conversations with a friend of a few days from Tennessee and a new friend from the UK.
After the meal, we went up to the highest point of the town, the local church. There was a bench in the courtyard of the church looking out to the north and the east. It was a beautiful view!
We were soaking in the scene when a local family came walking up the hill. They had a young son, maybe about 3 years old. The boy climbed up on the bench with Jimmy and me as if he’d known us for decades. And he sat in silence with us for 10 minutes. When his mother told him it was time to go, he refused and started crying. He was finally convinced to go if we hugged him and kissed him on the cheek. Satisfied with a proper goodbye from friends, he walked with his parents back down the hill.