Camino Trip Notes: Stage 13 (San Juan de Ortega to Burgos)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Distance: 26.4 km

7:24 – I take back everything I said about albergue patrons being more considerate than pilgrims who stay at more upscale B&Bs, pensions and small hotels. With only one or two exceptions, the people in the albergue last night were my age or older and every single one of them got on my nerves. I don’t think I’m easily bothered by these things but let me tell you, these people were special! Who enters a communal sleeping room at midnight – when most people have been in bed since 9pm – and talks for 30 minutes at something louder than a normal speaking voice? Seniors who’ve had too much wine, that’s who. These people are apparently pros at drinking until midnight as they were up at 5:00 and rustling, zipping, stomping, coughing, banging, dropping, and fumbling.  

7:45 – I’m standing in a line of 10 people who are waiting to sit on the bench in the lobby while we put on our boots. One lady is taking up the entire bench with her backpack, yoga mat, hiking poles and rain coat. After putting on one boot, she stopped to check her email. This is when another lady mentioned that we were all waiting to sit on the bench, to which she snapped back: “hold your horses.”  She was still on phone while I took my boots outside.

8:30 – I had coffee in this small pub with Glen and Barbara from Skagway, Alaska. Without prompting, they offered a similar opinion about most of the people who spent last night at the Municipal Albergue in San Juan de Ortega. I’m reassured it’s not just me!

9:45 – I don’t know how businesses in these towns make any money! There are only two shops and two pubs in this small town and all four businesses would cater almost exclusively to pilgrims (as there’s nobody else around). But do you think any of them are open between 9:00 and 10:00 when most pilgrims come through town? 

14:20 – I’ve spent the last few hours walking parallel to an abandoned rail line and sometimes over treacherous rocks.  Now I’m on the shoulder of a major highway.  I can see Burgos in the distance – but then I said that about an hour ago and it now seems even further away.  

15:15 – The pain in my ankle isn’t getting any better so I will probably spend two days in Burgos and see if the rest does it any good. You can stay at albergues for one night so rather than move from one to another, I may just find a nice hotel and check in for two nights. The only problem is that hotels on this end of town are anything but nice. I’ve stayed in worse, to be sure, but not for 30-50€.  

15:22 – I walked into the lobby of the Hotel Las Vegas and asked if they had a vacancy. The clerk said, “For the night?” I was pleased that she took me for a pilgrim and didn’t assume that I’d need a room for 60 minutes.

16:40 – Hotel Las Vegas is modelled on The Bellagio – only different. To be honest, the dining room was busy and the home-style cooking was great. I ordered “pork chops” which turned out to be sliced ham but I actually prefer baked ham to fried porkchops so that was okay. The Caesar salad was a nice salad, although nothing remotely close to a classic Caesar salad. At least the lemon mouse was lemon mouse. And vino tinto is vino tinto all over Spain! 

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