Day Fourteen: Burgos to Hornillos de Camino

The Meseta begins behind Burgos and stretches until after Leon. To some, this is the “boring” part of the Camino, but to me this was the most exciting one.

We rose early and, given that we had to walk back trough Burgos and its suburbs, decided to stay the night in Hornillos de Camino instead of the more traditional Hontanas endpoint. “It’s six days to Leon. We have half a pack of cigarettes, a full bottle of water, it’s forty degrees in the shade, and we’re wearing sunscreen.” Inga proclaimed. My “Hit it.” must have been heard throughout the hotel.

We quickly shopped for some necessities, and I mentioned the vending machines selling more and more sex toys. “I noticed,” she responded, “didn’t have enough change for a Lady Rabbit, but I bought a penis keychain as a souvenir.” Leaving town through a much nicer kind of suburb than the one taking us into it, we soon left urban landscapes behind and entered the Meseta proper, walking on dusty gravel roads between wheat fields.

In Rabé de Las Calzadas a bar owner handed us small medallions of the Virgin Mary together with a stamp and heartfelt Buen Camino. Waiting for Inga to finish “getting ready” at the bar’s toilets, a friend of the Swiss whose name I did not remember (or had never been told) sat down at the next table. I returned to the lecture of the pamphlet we’d been handed with our medallions, when another pilgrim passed, stopped, and backtracked introduced himself to her.

Inga emerged, we waved them good bye, wished Buen Camino, and continued our trek. “Maybe I should have pointed them at the next vending machine,” Inga quipped and, noticing my puzzled look, “they’ll be in a bed before sunset.”

She was part right. After another few miles trough farmland we arrived in Hornillos de Camino, checked into the first Albergue in town, dropped our dirties into a washer, and went on the hunt for dinner.

A group of German bicycle pilgrims joined us, and after the usual hour of stories from the Camino, we headed back to spend the evening in the albergue’s garden. A little away, in as much privacy as an albergue affords, the two, now dubbed “The Rabé Couple” by Inga, were busy exploring each others’ tonsils with their tongues.

We retreated into our bunks around ten, woken around midnight by quite explicit sounds from the yard below. “Well, they waited until after sunset,” Inga remarked, rolled over, and fell back asleep. I followed quickly, dreaming of wheat fields and sunsets.