Trajectory: Hontanas to Boadillos del Camino
Distance: 16.7 miles, or 26ish kilometers. This might be wrong; it might have been 17.6. I don’t know. An amount was walked.
A cloudy morning stroll from Hontanas to Castrojeriz was soundtracked with a Happy Folk Spotify playlist and characterized yet again by a startling lack of creatures.
I did meet one other pilgrim, a French guy walking back to France after having gone all the way to Lisbon on the Caminos Francés and Portugués. He absolutely loved life, and especially walking, and I’m sure he’ll turn up on the AT in the near future.
I arrived early to Castrojeriz, where I hung out in a 50’s style café with black and white linoleum and The Beach Boys blaring. It’s impossible to go 5 miles without finding some form of cured meat in this country, which makes it a very amenable place to walk. For €1.50, I got a small jamón sandwich, which I intended to save for lunch. However, lunch wanted to be eaten within five seconds of leaving the café, so that was that.
Afternoon Stroll (See the Theme?)
I continued on, trudging up a “brutal ascent” of about 400 feet that ended in a sweeping view of Castrojeriz and the surrounding farmlands. After walking for nearly half a year in a tunnel of trees, almost always shaded, almost always staring at the ground to avoid tripping on roots, rocks, entire trees, and snakes, the privilege of the horizon hasn’t worn off.
The remainder of the day was on a serpentine path through open fields with the sun blazing.
I grabbed a Coke in Itero de la Vega and continued on before realizing that the only food I had was sunflower seeds, and not many. Though it was incredibly windy, the sun was scalding. Hiking thoughts seem like high thoughts, this is true, but the only thing going through my head for the last 6 miles of the day was: “Damn, the sun is really hot if it can burn us from all the way out there.” I started to feel bizarre, like a cartoon character trudging through the desert. I wrapped myself in a scarf and promised to buy a hideous baseball cap in Leon, which I’ll probably forget to do.
No Night Hiking Here
The only place open in Boadillas del Camino was a private hostel, so in I went. There was a French mother and daughter there as well, and we had quite an interesting afternoon and evening. Two men who were Spain’s answer to the Hell’s Angels showed up, and insisted on buying us beers. Appearances are deceiving, and we had a two hour discussion about languages, slang, and Spain.
Of course, because men are men, a solid portion of the discussion was trying to find a civilized translation for “horny” for the mother, in the context of “your daughter’s French accent is making me thusly aroused.” Don’t kill the messenger, I suppose. Once the beer was in the veins, though, the larger of the two men started telling me that Spain needs a Trump of their own to protect the Spanish natives; he also said he loved his motorcycle more than his wife because he could ride the motorcycle whenever he wanted and it never got a headache.
They soon departed after that, and the three of us ladies dined on salad and pasta, washing it down with red wine in glasses the size of Dixie Cups. In short, a stellar night.