Villafranca Monte de Oca to Atapuerca - 18.5 km

May 17
Lat: 42.375833 Lon: -3.506944

I got up at 6:30 a.m., packed up, and went to breakfast in the restaurant next to the hosteles. The trail is starting to get crowded with lots of different nationalities. Today alone I talked with people from South Korea, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and even another American. It’s a lot of fun getting to talk with people from other cultures.

This morning I hiked the first 12 Km with a fellow from Switzerland. Peter was a delight to walk with. He is 29 years old and in the last nine years he'd lived in eight countries. This is unbelievable to me as most people in America work and live their entire lives not only in one country, but in one or possiblly only two states. We had great conversations about not only life in general, but what we had done with our lives and still want to do.

The weather is so strange here. It was 36 degrees at 7:30 a.m. and as I climbed up the mountain it got colder. We made it to the summit of the first mountain out of Villafranca only to find it with snow on the ground and before we got across the top it was snowing again. It snowed for about 30 minutes, then rained, sleeted and later even the sun came out with an afternoon high of 44 degrees. Even the locals are commenting about it as it hasn't been like this in years.

We got to St. Juan de Ortega just as the snow was turning to rain and got into a bar/restaurant. The place was packed with Peregrinos all there for the cafe con leche, which is the best coffee that you'll ever have. It was there that I met two fellows from San Diego, California. They were both firemen. After an hour of drinking coffee and talking it was time move on. I finally got to Atapuerca to the Albergue Peregrino where I had a single room reserved. This is a wonderfully clean and friendly place. It is 8 euros for a bunk bed space, and 25 euros for a single private room with your own bathroom and shower. This little town only has a population of 200, but has one of the best restaurants that I've been in since my arrival in Spain. They have a Peregrinos meal for 10 euros. I had one for lunch and then we went back for dinner a 7:30 p.m. I had dinner with two women from Dublin, Ireland. We had great conversation around my own Irish heritage. All in all it was a fun night.

It's now time for bed and resting for the walk to Burgos tomorrow. It should make for an interesting walk as again they are calling for cooler than normal temperatures and possibly more rain. I’ll just have to see what tomorrow holds.

Until then ... Buen Camino!

Spain Blog 2013

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