I’m proud of me, for the first time in this trip I was not told its time to leave the hostel. Today I was on time down at the breakfast area, I felt weird entering the dining area of a rather fancy place, Hotel San Antonio Abad, as I quickly got used to the albergues luxury.
I had a nice chat with a Norwegians couple. Had bread, eggs, colacao, orange juice and more bread, and prepared my stuff to hit the road. I looked back at the Villafranca Montes de Oca town and started to warm up for the long stretch I mentally prepared myself doing. The day started with a steep hill.
I arrived to Agés a small town and found the bar / shop in the picture below, I learnt that on the small towns they are keener on preparing a sandwich for you with the stuff you buy. Sliding the cheese would have taken me way more time with my knife than his.
I missed the yellow arrow that indicated left -and up- towards Matagrande and kept going to the next town -Olmos de la Atapuerca-. After realizing no more Camino signals were shown I thought I might have missed the turn and luckily I wasn’t too far. Wind turbines are really appealing to me, through them I paid my rent and ate over the last years, moreover I do believe they contribute to a better mix of energy generation. That said, finding wind turbines spinning while traveling by bike can only mean two things:
a) you will have an easy ride cause the wind is on your back, my way to Olmos de Atapuerca, or
b) you are on a fight with the wind, my way back to Atapuerca
I finally made it back to Atapuerca, found the yellow arrow and now I was ready for the Matagrande climb. This involved a lot of stones and sometimes pushing and carrying salsa, but made it to the top in one piece.
The downhill after that was relatively easy all the way down to Burgos. Again, I treated my poor salsa like a mountain bike and she performed pretty good. I later found my stuff inside the panniers all mixed but nothing broken.
I heard and read about the Knights Templar to be, back in the Middle Ages, the most wealthy and powerful of the Western Christian military orders. Previous to their acceptance by the church in the XI century, they were disbanded with many killed by the orders of the pope because of knowing too much, such as the fact that Jesus had a child with Mary Magdalene. They became the most skilled fighting teams of the Crusades. They also patrolled the camino and provided places of hospitality. I found one of them on the road and had a quick conversation with him, but two nights before, Pepe, the hospitalario in Nájera, showed me a gift from a knight in response to the support he provided. Today they are not trained to fight but learn more spiritual teachings as I’ve been told. Other people say they are like a version of the Rotary club, exclusive and with a mystical element.
The way down to Burgos was rather monotonous, flat and not that exciting. By now I did not know any other pilgrim on the road. The weather was still great though. Landscapes were green and blue allover. Burgos is a nice city with an impressive cathedral, a great antique city in the center and full of life. On my first stretch from Roncesvalles to Pamplona I stayed in Zizur -a small town after Pamplona- and I quickly learnt that staying in small towns was better than bigger ones. Hostels were cheaper, less crowded, more friendly, and the quality was better. Following this idea I kept riding after visiting Burgos instead of sleeping there.
I passed other really nice towns after Burgos but decided to keep going all the way to Castrojeriz.
After riding 87km I decided to stay at something better than a hostel and found a camping site that offered a room with a common bathroom. Since I was the only guest I ended up having like my own little house. I gave myself a haircut and a long shower.