A few days since I posted......
Headed for Santa Domingo on Sunday and was hoping to hit the time for the main Mass. But when I got there at about 11.30am, the church was firmly closed, with no signs of any bells ringing, and it was raining. It looked like a really interesting town, with lots of historic buildings, but things tend to be closed on Sundays, and I decided to move on a few kms to Granon. Good move - had one of my most enjoyable evenings of all. I stayed in the parish albergue, which was up behind the church: you got to climb up the steps that headed up towards the belltower. The hospitalero who was there for two weeks was from Leon and he was a really lovely guy. He made everyone welcome, and cooked a wonderful evening meal for us all. He also acquired some firewood, and a fire really added to the atmosphere, with people taking turns to sit in the seats around there. The whole place had a really comfortable feel to it. This was yet another day when I wished I had kept my windjacket as it was bitter outside!
Next day headed for Belorado. Cultivation in the fields changed from mainly vineyards and wheat, to more potatoes as well as wheat. It was fairly muddy underfoot in places. I had thought I might stay in Belorado, but when I arrived there was heavy machinery working in the street near the church, adding to the muddy feeling I already had, so I decided to move on a little further to Tosantos, mainly to shorten what looked like a long walk over a mountain for today.
Tosantos was a christian-run albergue. The hospitalero was another wonderful cook and we had a great meal to set us up for the ´mountain´. In the end, the ´mountain´today wasn´t as bad as it looked on the altitude chart! There was a climb of several hundred metres, but it wasn´t too steep. Then what I wasn´t expecting was a loooooooong flat stretch at the top. The mud was less than I had feared. We walked mainly on what seemed to be a forestry access path. Finally the path emerged at a monastery, San Juan de Ortega. They had beds there, but I decided to move a little further, to Ages, so as to make tomorrow´s trek into Burgos a little shorter. I am not sure whether I will take the bus 8km through the industrial suburbs or not! But if I do it will let me have more time to see the cathedral etc. We will see. I am really near here to Atapuerca, where there is a fascinating archeological site I have read about before - where they have found some of the earliest human remains in Europe. I would quite like to stop off and have a nosey, but have only seen info about guided tours in Spanish that you need to book... so I guess I will end up in Burgos tomorrow, though you never know!!
My ankles are quite sore today. Need to learn how to stretch my achilles properly. And now I am off to do just that!