Camino de Santiago

Day sixteen on the Camino Frances: Villafranca de Montes de Oca to Atapuerca

This morning we set off just before seven, conquering the hill behind Villafranca in an hour. The dark made it seem easier than we’d expected – no doubt because we could only see as far as the beam of our torches. 

We breakfasted on bread, cheese, tomatoes and  orange juice in the clouds. The rather gloomy atmosphere (just light, mist, cold wind, a forest of oaks and firs)  was very appropriate. Our picnic tables were adjacent to the Monumento de Los Caidos which marks the site of a civil war massacre.

From there it was mostly down hill through the forest  to the next village.

An oak forest


The sun came out at last and as we approached San Juan de Ortega the country-side opened up, and we had beautiful vistas again. 

The village of San Juan de Ortega


At the cafe where we stopped for coffee we caught up with fellow walkers, people we’ve met several times over the last few days.  Some have carried on but others have stopped in Atapuerca as well. 

We’re  in a smaller albergue, there are only six of us in our room – and maybe forty in total staying here. A vast improvement on the 200 or so (at a rough guess) of last night which we hadn’t expected and prefer to avoid if we can. 

Nearby there is a UNESCO world heritage site – it’s the earliest human remains found in Europe. a four kilometre round walk … if my feet hurt a little less I’d been keen. 

The weather continues to hold, today is cooler, which is welcome. There are towering thunderclouds over the hills. I have my eye on our washing as I write this – it’s not quite dry …

Storm clouds – looking back towards the village of Ages


Tomorrow we walk to Burgos. We’ve booked a hotel – time for a rest day. 

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