We felt well rested as we left our pension in Villafranca at 8:15 this morning. It was 29F as we started our climb over the Monte de Oca hills. It was steep going for awhile, but within 45 minutes the upslope gradually shed some pitch and away we went. It was a quiet, peaceful morning as we made our way through the pine barrens. The rhythmic rustling of pack harnesses against hard shell jackets was the only sound defining our presence. It was a bright clear morning with pleasant walking conditions. As the morning slipped by an occasional bird song reminded us that we were not alone. We carried on like this, following the folds and creases of the terrain, until reaching St. Juan de Ortega exactly as the church bells tolled 11 o’clock. The one bar that is always open did not disappoint. We hauled over for a rest and some coffee. At 11:30 we left for Atapuerca, where we would eat our lunch (bocadillos).
By 1:00 we were underway up the trail, and over the ridge, that leads from Atapuerca to Burgos. We slogged along, and 4 1/2 hours later, our tanks running on fumes, we pushed open the door to the albergue at Burgos. It was not a very scenic day, especially after leaving the forest around St. Juan de Ortega, but it is part of the westward movement of the Camino, and you just have to walk it. Robin and I are both sore and tired as we recline in our bunks, awaiting lights out (at 10:00 pm). Tomorrow is another day. Rain is in the forecast, and that means mud as well. We have had a great run of good weather so we can’t complain. We don’t expect much WiFi for a few days so posts might be delayed. Bear with us, as this Camino unfolds. Off to bed Zzzzzzz.