Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hornillos del Camino to Castrojeriz

We left our lovely Casa Rural around 8, after finding out that it is one featured in "The Way" and the proprietor is related by marriage to Martin Sheen (aka Esteban). We were greeted with a new weather phenomenon - fog. At least it was not as cold and windy as it has been and there was no rain. It was actually quite beautiful to watch the fog lift over the fields, which had flattened since yesterday's terrain. (Photo 1). Most pilgrims curse the meseta for its wide open spaces and lack of scenery, but we quite embraced it. We marveled at the huge piles of stones along the way which must have been gathered centuries ago to allow for the cultivation of the fields.
Our first stop was Hontanas, a lovely pilgrim village tucked into a fold in the Meseta. (Photo 2) The Church of the Conception dominates the little town which was surprisingly well preserved. We reconnected with some pilgrim friends and had our cafe con leche before setting out again.
Our next highlight was walking through the ruins of the ancient (14th C) convent of San Anton (photo 3).
From there is was only about 3 miles into Castrojeriz (pop. 1,000), our destination for the day. (Photo 4) The view from the road is punctuated by Iglesia Santa Maria, which was not open, like many of the churches we've encountered.(photo 5) A peak above the village is home to ruins of a 9th century castle.
Our Hostal is El Meson Castrojeriz -- 36€ for a comfortable double with bath. Located on the far end of town, it will be an advantage tomorrow.
Brent showed up later with Mike from Florida and the 4 of us ate dinner in the very charming restaurant in the lower level of the Hostal. We had a delicious pilgrim's meal with goulash and the best flan I have had to date.
We completed another 13 miles today but tomorrow is a long haul, about 16 miles, so early to bed!

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