Time walked – 3 hours
Total distance walked – 10.5 miles (213.6 miles total)
Weather – Sunny and hot, 80 degrees F
Terrain – city streets, rocky path
We slept so well at the hotel in Burgos that it was as hard to leave as I had feared. Two nights of cozy beds made us feel spoiled. Ann had sent her spreadsheet as she had promised with their Camino plan, including accommodations. I took advantage of reworking my schedule while Ray was in the shower and with the strong hotel wifi. Ray made a long list of items he thought we needed to restock the things we have used on the Camino. I filled my shampoo bottle with what was left of the hotel shampoo, but I have not seen any conditioner to buy or to use for refilling.
Our first stop was to the phone store to recharge Ray’s data and check my data balance. Fortunately Ray’s data had run out in Burgos where we had a chance to purchase more. I also wanted to buy some minutes because so few accommodations communicated via internet. Ray got another 2 GB of data for €15, but I still had 0.97 GB. I chided Ray for turning off his wifi feature too often and bought €5 worth of minutes. Ray just rolled his eyes and told me that I’d have to explain that to him later, although I’m pretty sure he understands how it works just fine.
From the phone store we rounded the corner to a shoes store that carried Ecco sandals according to the internet. It proved not true, so we left to look for a pharmacy. Pharmacies are plentiful along the Camino, so we entered one within a few feet. We bought the smallest sunscreen they stocked, some moleskin for my feet and restocked the few painkillers we had brought with us. We also looked at flatter inserts for my shoes, but they only carried the same thick gel-type inserts that caused the problem in the first place.
That completed our list, except for my walking sandals. I had found a sporting goods store on the internet, but it would require a taxi. Ray remembered that he had seen a hat store nearby and wanted to stop there before getting a taxi. The hat he brought was too hot for the unusually hot weather that we were encountering. The shop keeper in the hat store was extremely helpful showing Ray a multitude of choices and sizes. For €21 Ray found exactly the hat he had been thinking would work. We thanked the shop keeper and asked him to point the way to catch a cab. He gave us extensive directions, but all in Spanish. Ray and I started in the direction that I understood, and I thought we would ask again if we didn’t see a taxi first.
We walked out of the tourist area and toward a major street. Right away we saw a taxi traveling down the street, but it already had passengers. Because Ray knew we would need to go the other direction, we crossed the street and saw a hotel sign in the next block. We thought getting to a hotel would increase our chances of getting a taxi, so I went inside to ask at the front desk. I told the two young girls at the counter that I needed to take a cab to the Deportes Manzanedo and asked how to get a taxi. Thankfully, they knew that the store had another name as well and helped me find the one a few blocks away on my map app.
The shoe department in the closest sporting goods store to the Camino was busy. There were two ladies there also buying sandals. We asked the shoe salesman what I should be looking for considering what was going on with my feet. He recommended Teva sandals and a thinner, more breathable sock. We purchased both and laughed as he removed all the tags for us and knew that I would need the box.
It was just past noon, and Ray and I still needed to eat and walk a half mile back to get our bags at the hotel. Mentally, I was still debating about staying one more day. I had reserved two beds at an albergue only 8 miles away, but I knew I could still cancel. After some discussion, I found out that Ray felt the same way I did, so we started out of Burgos at 2:30 p.m. I sent an email to the albergue to let them know we would be there around 6 pm, thinking that would give us plenty of time.
I walked much slower than my normal, pace with the blisters on my left foot. The new sandals helped immensely, however. Just like entering Burgos seemed to go on and on, leaving the big city was the same. We walked through several suburbs and saw very few other pilgrims. Since it was late afternoon, the sun was high in the sky and hot. We stopped often in what little shade there was to drink some water. Just outside of the city, we reached a small roadside park with a few benches in the shade. I sat for a minute and adjusted my sandals. Ray thought it looked like my left foot was further back on the sole, and I agreed with him.
The path was not well marked as to which direction we were to go from the park, until we realized that there had been arrows painted on the tree behind us. We crossed the road and continued to the meseta.
I had been reading about the area called the meseta since the beginning of my research. It is very common for peregrinos to skip the meseta by either stopping their Camino in Burgos and continuing later at a different point. Other peregrinos take a bus from Burgos to another point on the Camino to continue their journey. Most of the excuses used to avoid the meseta make the area sound like Kansas. The meseta is said to be flat, boring and lonely with cloudless skies and very little shade. The villages are more spread out making it necessary to carefully plan your food and water. We had experienced some flat spots in the Camino already and a few places that really reminded us of Kansas because of all the wheat. Ray and I were actually excited to face the challenge of the meseta to see if we could conquer what others would not.
Although a very hot afternoon, Ray and I were glad that we could be walking again and to be back in the country and out of the city. From the beginning our plan had been to get up early and walk before the heat of the day, but on this day we felt like it was our only option. I was happy for the occasional cloud cover, but our clothes were soaked in sweat fairly quickly. We liked the wide open spaces and stopped to capture some of the beauty in photos.
My sandals were working well on my feet, but I could feel the bones starting to wear out a couple of miles before our stop for the night. We left the rocky trail and finished the last part on pavement. Normally the softer dirt is the preferred path, but once my feet start getting tired, the smooth pavement actually helps. We crossed a bridge looking straight at a large hill. I decided that we had not yet entered the meseta.
There was no shade to be found all the way into Rabé de las Calzadas, but seeing the church ahead is always a good sign that we are close.
We arrived at the hostel where I had made reservations at 5:40 p.m. With all the breaks I needed for my feet, we did not walk at our usual pace, but we did make it before 6 p.m. We got checked in and chose to eat the pilgrim’s meal at 7:00 p.m. We quickly arranged our things and took our showers so that we wouldn’t be late to dinner. We hadn’t been stretching after walking even though we knew better. Ray had talked to Jeanette at dinner in Burgos about stretching, so he wanted to make it a priority again. I’ve always been good at stretching after exercising because I love the way I feel when I finish, but I have not remembered to at all. We had a little time before dinner, and Ray prompted me to find a place for us to stretch our muscles and tendons until dinner was served.
Our albergue was across the square from the village church. The planter full of roses has become a more familiar sight as we walk through each village. I don’t know if it’s just in the spring, but roses in the villages greet us daily. As we got ready to be seated for dinner, Ray and I recognized Paul and Sara from the albergue in Villafranca Montes de Oca. We had talked the morning after the rain, but had not introduced ourselves, so we took the opportunity to do so, and the four of us sat together at dinner. This meal consisted of a saffron soup starter, a salad and thick dinner tortilla with a fruit yogurt for dessert. For €8 each, it was filling, delicious and made with exhausted pilgrims in mind. Paul and Sara were from New Zealand, walking the Camino Frances for the second time in two years. They were a wealth of information, and it was fun to get their perspective during and after the Camino. We had planned a similar pace for the next few days, so we looked forward to seeing them again.
Since the time difference between us and Kansas City is seven hours, Ray tried to check in with Brandon at 8 p.m. Spain time. A couple of young pilgrims were traveling with a guitar, so they attracted an audience while playing and singing. It was a lovely setting and a lovely evening, but there was no where for Ray to get away and concentrate on work. Even though we had walked farther other days, we had no problem preparing for bed well before the required lights-out at 10.