Camino de Santiago / Pilgrimage / Spain

Camino de Santiago, Days 14 & 15

Camino de Santiago, Days 14 & 15

Day 14 Burgos to Hotanas 19 Miles

This article is the thirteenth in our series of walking 500 miles on the Camino de Santiago with my husband Scott. Some articles will be only about one day of walking, and some may include a few days of walking, for the lengths will vary. To begin with the first article click here.

Day 14 on the Camino de Santiago began with much excitement because we were entering a week long walk on the section called the Meseta. It is known for miles of wide open spaces and high plains. Some pilgrims choose to skip this part of the Camino and bus ahead. They aren’t interested in the wide open spaces and tiny towns along the way.

Santiago
The lone tree
Morning

The 45 minute walk out of the city of Burgos was very pleasant. We walked through a beautiful park called El Parral, which is a great space for holding fiestas. For a few minutes, we walked with the couple and their guide dog. They were on a slower pace than we were, so we said our farewells, knowing we wouldn’t be seeing them again on the Camino. Scott and I had different mileage goals and a timeline to keep. In one week we would be meeting our friends from home in Leon.

New Friends

Once we began walking on a dirt, farm road, our feet were happier. Scott’s shin splints were causing him some pain, but we were feeling good after lightening our pack load in Burgos.

We began walking through miles of farmland and it became very foggy. Just then, we met Jeremy and Katrina, a young couple from Ohio. We shared a similar walking pace, so it was nice to walk along and chat.

All of a sudden we heard a tremendous noise coming from the field next to us. We couldn’t see more than twenty feet ahead of us, due to the fog. Katrina thought it was a combine tractor. I feared for our safety because it seemed to be coming toward us. A few minutes later, we all laughed as we realized it was a freight train passing by!

Lunch

After several hours walking, we all decided to stop for food. Scott and I had iced tea and tortilla potata. Jeremy and Katrina were serious about taking a long break with their meal. They had hamburgers and beer!  Scott and I couldn’t imagine having such a big meal when we still had hours of walking ahead.  Plus, Scott falls asleep after drinking beer, so that wouldn’t work!

It was a good test of our patience to sit through the long lunch. Scott and I didn’t usually take long breaks but we were really enjoying the company of our new friends.

As we rested our feet at the outside cafe, Jeremy took off his shoes and socks and covered his feet with vaseline and then new socks. It was a preventive technique for blisters. Maybe I should have done that a long time ago! The funny thing about this is it didn’t even phase us, foot care was normal restaurant behavior on the Camino.

Santiago
As we entered town.
Hotanas

Late in the afternoon we arrived in the small town of Hotanas. It was a relief to come upon this charming town after walking 19 miles.

We all went into a hostel to see if there were rooms available, and just our luck, there were! The owner was so friendly and asked if we wanted to sign up for the pilgrim dinner that he and his wife would be hosting that night. He said he would be serving “the best paella in all of Spain.”  Scott was very excited and liked his confidence. I told him I didn’t like rice and he said he would make pasta for me instead. He was so sweet!

Socializing in the Afternoon

Scott and I cleaned up and washed our laundry. We were lucky to have a sun facing room, so our clothes would dry quickly while hanging from the window sill.

We went out to the patio between our hostel and the church and met our friends for a glass of wine. Brenna, a young woman Scott and I had met on our first day of the Camino (and never seen again in 14 days) passed by and spotted us. She joined us as we sat in the sun with our feet up, sipping wine and telling stories about our lives back home.

At one point, the church bells started ringing for about five minutes. We think it was calling the pilgrims to mass. The sound echoed through the small town and it was a special few minutes.

Dinner

At our pilgrim dinner we met some new people; Lou and Helen from Texas, Axel from Germany, Serge from Alberta, as well as Brenna, Jeremy and Katrina.

It was a lively group and Manuel (the owner) told us the story of how he and his wife Svetlana had met as they walked the Camino and fell in love.

Everyone said the paella was excellent and I enjoyed my pasta a lot. It was so nice of Manuel to make it special for me.

The evening was one of our favorite pilgrim dinners on the Camino.

Santiago Hotanas
Scott helped serve dinner.

Day 15 Hotanas to Itero de la Vega, 14 Miles

Scott and I were up before the sun and on our way out of Hotanas. My feet were sore as I had developed two new blisters the day before. Scott’s shins were a bit swollen and sore as well.

We came upon the ruins of the San Antón Convent and passed through the tunnel. It boggled our minds to think of all the pilgrims who had passed through this very spot over the years.

Santiago
The remains of the convent.
Walking Along

Scott and I stopped in Castrojeriz for coffee and ran into Jeremy and Katrina. We walked together for most of the morning. As we passed many fields of fresh cut wheat, Jeremy stopped to explain to us the process of wheat and the different parts of the grain. It was interesting, and being from the mountains of California we had no clue about wheat.

Santiago
The markers always let us know which way to go.

Eventually, we saw a big climb ahead, so Scott and I stopped to tend to our feet. Jeremy and Katrina kept going and Scott and I talked to Lou and Helen who had stopped as well.

Scott and I made our way up the hill, it was steeper than it looked from far away. We enjoyed the gorgeous views it provided, but I mainly kept my head down and thought of the little old french lady and just thought, one small step at a time. It really got our hearts pumping, it was the biggest hill we had climbed in a while.

Santiago
Scott likes to take pictures of me going up hill.

When we reached the top we saw Jeremy and Katrina had taken a break to wait for us, so we all continued on together. We went down the other side of the hill and all we could see for miles and miles was bare land. It was hot and there was no shade. Up ahead, we could see the dirt road was under the clouds and our path would be shaded. We hurried ahead to race the clouds and enjoyed a break from the sun.

Santiago Spain
Katrina and I heading down the hill.
A Stopping Point

Eventually, we came to the town of Itero de la Vega. We had only walked 14 miles but Scott and I were having trouble with our feet and shins. Maybe we had overdone it a bit the day before.

There was a room available at the hostel, which also had a great bar and was a popular spot for pilgrims to stop for a meal and refreshments along the way. Our friends had a big lunch and relaxed with us for a while, and then were on their way again. They were planning to walk for a few more hours before ending for the day.

We were bummed to see them go, as we knew we probably wouldn’t see them again on the Camino again. They were short on time and would need to bus ahead through a section soon.

Time For Rest

We enjoyed our rest that afternoon, and the bar served us soup, even though it was siesta. That was a treat!

The meseta was proving to be beautiful so far. Scott and I enjoyed the expansive views and being able to see for miles ahead. The city of Santiago de Compostela, our final destination, was coming to our minds more often as we made our way west, day after day.

Day 15, 14 Miles

To continue reading Day 16 please click here.

 

43 thoughts on “Camino de Santiago, Days 14 & 15”

    1. Thank you! Those dinners were so interesting. It was always nice if someone spoke a little bit of english to go with our little bit of spanish. 🙂

  1. Congrats for such determination! It sounds like great effort, but great fun at the same time. And the scenery, those landscapes around you are just breath taking. Love your pics. Journey to be proud of indeed! 🙂

    1. How exciting! We walked in September and October. Unfortunately, we didn’t blog along the way, so this is why I am posting them now. There is so much to talk about the Camino, the history, people we met and how we were feeling, it’s ended up being a much bigger project than we were planning. Right now I try to post on Wednesdays. Please email me directly if you have any specific questions. 🙂

  2. I’m so impressed with anyone who does this trail! It takes real physical and mental stamina and I love the spirit of the travelers on this route. Bravo and congrats!

  3. This pilgrimage route looks lovely. I remember when I was working in a hostel in Lisbon I met an American girl who had just finished her pilgrimage and was going back home the following day. She looked so happy. I traveled around that part of Spain when I was 15 and still love to remember how beautiful were these landscapes 🙂

    1. Thank you! You must have so many stories to tell from your time at the hostel! Lisbon is high on my list. 🙂

  4. Respect for this! I heard a lot about this trail, seems like an amazing walk. Landscape looks beautiful – also quite dry during this season. So how many days does it take in total?

    1. Thank you! 🙂 We were out 35 days, and walked 32, we had a few rest days. Everyone takes different amounts of time, depending on how many miles they want to walk each day. We averaged 15 miles a day.

  5. 500 miles journey!? Talking about adventures. That’s really awesome. I love hiking and walking around nature. The tranquility that it brings is incomparable! Good luck on the rest of your adventures with Scott!

  6. What a great experience! I love the camaraderie between the other pilgrims along the path. Seems like you’ve already made some long lasting friendships.

    1. Thank you! It was a lot of fun but really hard. We really enjoyed meeting other pilgrims from around the world.

  7. What an incredible experience. It sounds like you meet a lot of people and there’s real sense of community. Blisters don’t sound fun. But the food, friendship and sense of achievement in walking all that way must feel very rewarding.

  8. I don’t know anything about the Camino pilgrimage. Is it a religious observance? I suppose I should look it up and learn something, right? Whatever it is, I am awed by your determination and persistence. I hope you were well rewarded for your efforts…both physically and spiritually.

    1. Thank you! 50% of the people walk the Camino for religious reasons and 50% for the spiritual as well as the mental and physical challenges. We were in the latter group. 🙂

    1. Thank you! Yes, we trained for about six months before. Usually we tried to walk on flat trails with our packs for about ten miles. We live in the mountains are are used to hiking hills, so we knew the flats would be tough. But we didn’t realize the impact of walking every single day. It’s something we couldn’t really invest the time to train for in that way.

  9. This is something I would definitely do! I love walking and exploring by foot. This is going on my bucket list!

  10. I keep hearing more and more about El Camino. I think it’ll be one of my next trips (one where I take a break from the work part)! It looks really scenic. The paella looks amazing. I can’t wait to try the real thing.

  11. Well done on what you guys are achieving, what an adventure. The vaseline tip is a good one! I love the idea of the wide, expansive views so good on you for not getting the bus and good luck with the rest of your journey!

  12. Wow, hiking sure seems like grueling work. I’m not sure I could get used to the blisters. But those views and the experience sure makes it seem 100% worth it. I love your photo with all the golden grain around. Seems like you learned a lot, too! Happy travels 🙂

  13. It might be sooo exciting to do such a thing!! I would love to try Comino de Santiago, but I still need to build resistence for this kind of thing! I imagine how tiring it might be!

  14. I want to experience a walking trip exactly like this. Off late we have been traveling a lot in cars and other vehicles. But walking has been less. I loved the way you describe walking through those fields and then finally reaching your destination. Absolutely want to do that

  15. I love hiking but I don’t know if I would manage to do 19 miles in one day. Even if it doesn’t look like a hard walk, being on the trail for so many days definitely matters. However, Camino de Santiago looks like a charming challenge to do because of the people you meet on the way and the tiny beautiful villages you get to pass through.

    1. You are spot on! One day isn’t hard, but day after day is. The nice thing is, there isn’t anything else to do but walk. 🙂

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