Sunday, May 1, 2016
Distance: 19 km
8:44 – I’m sitting on a bench in the front hall of the albergue in Hornillos del Camino. Beside me are four massive hard-sided suitcases. Some people use a service to forward their backpack to the next town which frees them up to carry a small daypack with a few bottles of water, a snack and perhaps one extra layer of clothing. The couple who left these four bags (yes, two people, four large bags) headed out the door with backpacks about the size of mine. Last night I overheard them discussing their bags with others at the dinner table. They simply couldn’t imagine leaving home with anything less than four pairs of pants, four sweaters, two coats, clothes suitable for dining at high-end restaurants, and a tonne of electronics and personal care items. Just because I don’t require a hair blower doesn’t mean that everyone is in the same boat, but who needs a selection of sweaters in a rainbow of colours when walking the Camino? Not only are they adding an unnecessary expense, but they’re wiping out any chance of spontaneity since they have to get to a specific town and even a specific hostel at the end of each day. I much prefer my “fly light if by the seat of my pants” plan.
9:01 – I’m still on the bench in the front hall but my phone is now fully charged and I’m finally ready to hit the road.
12:25 – I have arrived in a lovely little town known as Hontanas. I’ve only walked for three hours today and feel that it’s much too early to call it a day except for the fact that beds are filling up fast and if I press on to Castrojeriz I just might find myself sleeping on cold, cobblestone street.
There is one municipal albergue and two private albergues in this town. The private albergues were designed by a guy who has walked the Camino three times. I was impressed with the signage that I passed an hour ago and now the actual properties look even better than the photos. If I stay here for the night, I will complete stage 15-1/2 with a 26 km walk tomorrow.
19:00 – I have decided to stay in Hontanas and the hostel is indeed first rate. The bathrooms are great, the beds have reading lights, power outlets, duvets, good mattresses and nice pillows. What more could a pilgrim ask for? Well, a pilgrim dinner, and they had that too. I just finished a four course dinner with a dozen people from all over the world. The wine and conversation flowed freely. Some people spoke English and others were from Scotland. 🙂 I sat beside Cal from Missouri who is very close to booking a Dragoman trip through Mongolia after viewing my photos. Can I expect a commission, Dragoman?
Another gentleman mentioned that he hated the municipal albergue in the last town. He pronounced it “al-berg” rather than the commonly used “al-burr-gay” and a woman at the table called him on it. His explanation, and I believe he was serious: “Ya’all call it whatever you want but this pilgrim does use G-word.” I won’t say where he was from but it starts with Tex and ends with Ass.