After a breakfst of juice, a roll and one of Solano’s tangerines, we followed the yellow arrows to the meseta from Rabé to Hornillos del Camino where we hoped to have lunch, but because it is the holidays–Dia de Reyes–everything is closed. The fierce winds forced us to wear our ski masks and to bundle up as much as possible. I wore my three pairs of gloves all at once–the liner, the light and the heavy gloves! Additionally, it would rain sporadically so we would also don our ponchos. All in all it was a difficult walk.
We got to watch the tail end of the cabalgata in Madrid last night. Merce is the hospitalera who welcomed us and stamped our credenciales. Two pilgrims who passed us are already here–a Korean and a Madrileño who has walked the Camino 4 times already and averages 50 Km a day! In May, he claims to have walked it in 13 days. But today he has an injured calf and thus is not averaging his usual.
Becky and I talked about how we met over 40 years ago, how we are so happy to be traveling companions, how we seem to be in sync finishing each other’s thoughts, As we neared the tiny hamlet of Hornillos, Becky urged me to walk on ahead at my usual fast pace and thus I walked into the town alone. It was quiet and somewhat spooky. We had a bit of bread and cheese sitting at a bench in the town square. and then continued walking. Hontanas just appeared as if by magic as we rounded a hill. All of a sudden, there it was, in all its glory.
Two other pilgrims have joined us–a younger German man and an older Dutch man who has done the Camino many times; he is the author of a guidebook. They talk about the Camino and how in Hornillos the mayor is also the owner of the albergue. Lars, the German young may arrived by bus to Burgos and has just started walking. Jack de Groot is the Dutch author. We all go to the only place in town open for dinner. The whole family is there, and the children are still playing with the toys the Reyes Magos brought them. A family member arrives with more kids and they all delay our dinner. I don’t mind as it gives me a chance to observe the way that they treat their kids.
We all have tortilla francesa, scrambled eggs, basically, and Lars and Jack have morcilla, a blood sausage that Jack informs us is a delicacy in Galicia. I decline the honor of tasting it. We were all charged 8 Euros for our meal regardless of what we ate; Becky had a salad and an egg with cheese. I had pasta with ketchup and a salad. The Madrileno didn’t join us for dinner and said he had already eaten with the family and that they even gave him some rosca de reyes for dessert. We were not so lucky!
Later in the albergue as we ready for bed, Jack and the Madrileño discuss the albergues, and talk about Belorado and Burgos and all the other stops along the way. I get the sense that Jack is really knowledgeable about the Camino as well he should be since he has written a tour guide. He is apparently on the Camino to update the information. He knows the hospitaleros really well.
MEDITATION FOCUS: The surprises on the path are not so for those who know the path well. Hontanas comes up unexpectedly if you have never walked the path and experienced the surprise. Jack told us he loves how the town just suddenly appears. But how much of a surprise can it be for him if he has come upon it several times?