Camino Francés 2021 – Day 2 – Hornillos del Camino to Castrojeriz

September 2nd 2021 – Day 2

After a fantastic evening in Hornillos, I woke up with the rest of the room packing their bags and gathering their things. I guess it was close to 6.30 am at this time so there was no excuse for me to stay in bed any longer. My first night of pilgrim life had been reasonable and I looked forward to just walk. Shortly, I had my pack ready and I was having some breakfast. I stayed to myself this morning but I think everyone did that in the morning time. The plan today was to walk from Hornillos del Camino to Castrojeriz – another town I have passed through but not actually stayed in. I managed to reserve a bed in Albergue Rosalia for the night. I probably wouldn’t need it, as there is a good amount of accommodation in Castrojeriz, but I just wanted to be sure. Anyway, I grabbed my walking pole and my pack and wished those who were still eating breakfast a “buen camino”.

Hornillos del Camino to Castrojeriz

From Hornillos del Camino and for the next hour, the Camino rises gently until I reach the Alto de Meseta. When I was walking all the way through to Hontanas, I would walk this uphill in the midday sun so it is a bit of relief to have the morning mist with me this time around. It’s a 2 hour walk to the next town Hontanas and I was looking forward for 2nd breakfast there. I arrived at the Alto about an hour later and this would be my first ascent of the day. Rather an ascent than a descent, I think. I am on the meseta plains now and there is literally nothing. The odd cyclist passes me shouting “buen camino”. They are probably bound for Fromista or some far off place! I start thinking about the life of a bicigrino – how different it must be to a peregrino. Anyway, back to me!

Hornillos del Camino to Castrojeriz
The Alto and me.

Arriving at Hontanas is a strange one to describe. You can sense it is there but you can’t see it until the top of the iglesia points its head over the hill. It is located in the best placed valley in Spain. Once I see the large yellow arrow on the giant slab of stone, it is some one has invited me in for coffee, scones and stories around the fire. El Puntido is open for business and I order second breakfast – tostadas con queso y cafe con leche. Once finished, I visit the large church which has been renovated since I have been here last. Such a beautiful town, the quietness disturbed by birds chirping and clacking sticks by peregrinos.

I didn’t leave Hontanas for a good while but when I did I had my energy back. 10 km done – another 10 km to go so 50% done. Now to see the jewel in the crown of the day – the ruins of San Anton Monastery. I had another few kilometres to go yet and from what I remember, it isn’t all easy. The Camino goes off road and you really need to watch your feet in case you don’t trip. There was a lot of loose gravel which hindered the walk. I was happy enough to arrive back on the main road within two hours. From there , it is a straight walk into Castrojeriz – but pilgrims, please keep to your left hand side!

I passed the old ruins of San Anton monastery and took a rest. I mean, you need to take this in! There is a refuge here for pilgrims also and they survive on donations. It is always worthwhile to give a few euro when passing. I wouldn’t mind sleeping under the stars in a Camino to come, maybe next year? I met Mike and Wendy O Brien from Cleveland who I had met in Hornillos. I would meet them later on in the week.

Hornillos del Camino to Castrojeriz
Hornillos del Camino to Castrojeriz

Hornillos del Camino to Castrojeriz is a handy stage to walk with some interesting places. I was glad to arrive in Castrojeriz however as the sun was starting to beat down. Castrojeriz is a large town at the base of a hill. My albergue was at the far side of the town but I was glad to find it. Javier, its owner, is a gentleman and showed me around.

Linda was also staying at this albergue also so I waited for her to arrive to have some food. We went to the nearby Iacobus for 0% beer and food. Andreas and his friend joined us before I realised that I had paid for a communal dinner back at the albergue! Time flies when you are having fun. At the albergue, I was joined by John from the USA, John from Holland, Linda from Germany and Illowa from Holland. All great people!

Up tomorrow for breakfast as we challenge the Alto de Mostolares – a hill over 1000 metres high.

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Buen Camino!

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