Today’s distance: 24.2 km
Total distance: 260.1 km.
Elevation gain: 597 metres
Weather: Mostly cloudy with showers; cool
Today started as a continuation of yesterday, with the sound of truck traffic from the busy highway. There was light rain, at least until about 11 AM.
Until I reached Villafranca Montes de Oca for breakfast, I continued my new activity of picking up litter. (Yes, I know I should get a life! LOL!)
Back on the road again, I stopped at the supermercado for antiseptic and more Compeed and commented to the clerk about the big trucks going through the village. She was quite animated in response saying, “Mucho, mucho!” The town straddles the noisy highway which cuts its way through the pass and runs parallel to the Camino.
After climbing the hill from Villafranca with the sprinkles of rain continuing, I decided listening to tunes might be a good way to enjoy the day. I have an eclectic mix on my favourites playlist: Louis Armstrong, Iz, Blue Rodeo, Jann Arden, etc., but what really got me picking up the cadence (as you can imagine) was Dirty Dancing and Alan Jackson’s Drive. When the music slowed down to Josh Groban’s You Raise Me Up, I thought of my first Camino when that song stirred up thoughts of my sister, Carole. If she was still alive, would she want to walk the Camino with me? I bet she would!
After Villafranca the path climbs through mountains and with the changes in elevation came an abundance of primulas first followed by what looks like really big heather. Oh, and there was an abundance of those brown rocks that I was searching for on the way into Granon on Day 13. In this section the highway was distant and so there was finally some peace and quiet.
The track came down to the remote pilgrim village of St. John of the Nettle (San Juan de Ortega) a disciple of Santo Domingo, and then carried on to Ages where I am staying.
I am at El Pajar (the hay loft) in a room for ten people for 10 Euros. It was a tight squeeze to get five bunk beds in this little room as well as lockable cupboards, but the bathrooms are fine and comes with shower gel and a terry cloth towel which is a real treat. With those microfibre towels all you can do is blot yourself dry.
I wouldn’t give the 10 Euro meal at the albergue a four-star rating, but I enjoyed the company of Jim from Northern Ireland. He is walking his fifth Camino and taking his time. Even though he has been on the Camino Frances several times, it is always different.