Day 13-September 25, 2017
Granon to Villafranca Montes de Oca, Spain
Last night stay in the bell tower of the Granon church, I met with some South Korean college students. They were feeling a little more than slightly apprehensive to talk as apparently some people around them were not trying to communicate. Finally I was able to say a simple word “Hi” and found out that they were drama students that could sing. They talked among themselves and out came this harmony of voices. The whole place went into a gigantic cheer. They sang and sang and even serenaded us during our communal dinner meal. It was fantastic.
As mentioned in yesterday´s posting the roosters play an important role in the community and especially the church. (re: story of the chicken coming to life) Our Albergue has roosters in the courtyard used by the cathedral in special ceremonies. Apparently roosters announce the day starting at 5:00am, sharp. Just as apparent is the fact they continue to crow every 2 minutes until you give in and get out of town. I yield and Villafranca was in our past by 6:30am. When you leave Villafranca you enter the countryside almost immediately and walk a steep mountain for over an hour. It was a cool 48 when I started but I was peeling layers of clothes off about every 15 minutes.
Another hour the terrain leveled out and the temperature returned with a nice 60’ish.
The entry to Belorado is somewhat hidden. At one point I walked by a chicken farm…. quite honestly it was very fowl. (pun intended) Everyone must have been holding their breath past this point……
After walking through waving farm fields the Camino path winds through a small valley and an abrupt turn in the road hides the town. It has taken me so long to get to this town some of the Albergues are fully booked. I look around and found a small private Albergue. They have two rooms, the smaller is quieter, but fully occupied at this point so I was forced to take a room over the bar (restaurant). It closes at 9 and open at 7, so it wasn’t bad.
There are many meals you want to forget walking the Camino, but tonight was an exception. I had a wonderful meal in our Albergue bar and sat with a really nice fellow from Brazil called Rafael. He is a biologist an father of two from the south of the country. Rafael shared the same reasons for doing the camino.
BTW, back to dinner….. I recommend the chicken. It‘s a house specialty.
Day 14-September 26, 2017
Villafranca Montes de Oca to Atapuerca, Spain
One note. Dinner was exceptional last night. This is simply one of the best Pilgrim Menu´s I have had to date. Best of all it was only 8 euros.
My path out of town is largely uphill until the last section which is described as a gentle downhill run into St. Juan de Ortega.The route today is actually seeming to be quite manageable. A lot up upgrade sections that will at some point tire my legs out more.. One of the sections I stopped to have lunch turned out to be the site a mass grave from the Spanish Civil War. Many bodies were found buried on the top of the mountain in mass graves, the majority of the murdered were originally rounded up in Burgos. There are two grave sites in this one spot. An absolutely beautiful location surrounded by trees and hilltops. Then to find this…..the whole area was suddenly shaded with a deeply solemn feeling. History is still so alive.
My route took me over the mountain range and directly through very rocky paths.
My entry to Atapuerca is in the heat of the day at 82. Now, here the scoop you need to know about Atapuerca, it is the location of the oldest Homo sapien found in Europe. That makes all the Europeans descendant traced back 850,000 years to this location.