Hornillos Del Camino to Castrojeriz (Camino de Santiago)

Drank too much wine and ate dinner way too late to get much of a night’s sleep. Awake at 3:30am and laid in my bunk until 5 when I rustled the others for an early exit. We had another Pilgrim join us today. She is a Canadian, a professor from the University of Calgary, and had joined us in the previous night of local red wine sampling. We hiked a road in the pitch black and as it entered the countryside morning arrived. We crested the hilltop onto the flat of the meseta (plains). The wheat fields stretched as far as I could see and the lonely dirt road split the expanse as it disappeared into the distance. It began to rain and the wet slog began. Squalls had us pulling ponchos on and off and the mud stuck several inches to the bottom of our boots. After three hours we finally came across a village hidden in the bottom of a small hollow. It was wonderful to take a rest inside a café where it was warm and dry, sipping hot coffee. With a lot of mental effort the damp clothing was gathered and out into the pour we ventured once again. The hike through the valley was lovely when the rain stopped and birds began to sing.  After a few miles we came across the abandoned ruins of the San Anton convent.  A grand arc spanned the road and I found the broken stone walls fascinating. It was a short day, 4 ½ hours of walking and we had covered the 13.2 miles to Castrojeriz and its overlooking castle. The private alberque, Alberque Casa Nostra, opened at noon and for 7 euro we were able to secure a bed for the night. Journal: “Tried to call Beck but no answer. I am quite tired, sad and lonely tonight. Wow, I need to shake this heavy emotional weight. We are only two more days from the half way point and its going quite well. What a strange place to be at 57 years old. A lifetime of experiences and travels, raised a child (believe that I was a devoted father and did the best I could) and been a decent son but lousy brother. I was an independent SOB when I was younger but as I age have learned to be a loving partner. I no longer take being in a relationship for granted, appreciate loved ones every day as life can throw up difficult challenges (Becks cancer). “