6 June Villambistia to Atapuerca

Much of today’s walk would prove to be along hot, dusty and wind blown tracks where pilgrims who had previously neglected their feet or had not rested or eaten well last night might have a problem.

It wasn’t terribly difficult walking but was a little demanding at times because of the heat. Let me tell you about my day friends.

For the first time I was one of the first to leave the Albergue. I left at 6:40am having rested well despite 14 of us in the same small room.

Evan and Ariana and a guy called Bals from Holland were making moves to leave at the same time as me. My stretching exercises would eventually give them a 10 or 15 minute start on me. If things work out as they have done elsewhere we’ll probably see each other in about 2 hours time somewhere along the path.

As I do my warm-up I am thinking about a conversation I heard but was not fully part of last evening. Ariana, who has an interest in a particular subject she is thinking of studying was asking another of our group some interesting, inquisitive and intelligent questions to try and gain a greater understanding of the topic. As I listened I wondered if Evan, her father, was proud of the his 17 year old daughter and the way she was looking to listen and understand others and their point of view.

With my warm-up finished and still feeling as flexible as a house-brick, I set off.

Our Albergue was not starting breakfast until 8am. A stop along the way in the next hour or so would sort that out.

As it turns out us early risers left it until the last-chance saloon to get breakfast and that proved to be a bit of luck. The last chance was a hotel, probably 4 star, with a breakfast for 8 euros. Now, that’s twice as much as we would normally pay, so, not to be outdone, we ate twice as much, drank twice as much coffee and orange juice as we normally would and stuffed our rucksacks with take-away little pieces of cake and biscuits. Here’s where we ate.

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Here’s the result of valiant efforts by some of our group in this particular battle.
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On the way out I visited the toilets and let me tell you this. You know you smell bad when a toilet smells better than you do.

Leaving the luxury behind I was soon into some good hill climbing walking. Hills like these a few weeks ago would have left me huffing, puffing and wheezing. Now that I have been walking for two weeks or so and am fitter with more stamina they only leaving me crying, whimpering and sobbing like a baby.

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I stopped for a toe wiggle here after about 3 hours of walking, a little longer than usual for me to walk before stopping but I was feeling good.

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As I lay here I created a small poem thing about this tree in my head, which made me feel even better.

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Twenty minutes later I carried on uphill, once again with birdsong for company. Here is a photo of birdsong……… :-0

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Fairly soon I crested the first serious hill of the day to be greeted by warm sirocco-like wind that drew up small dust devils in a split-second from a dry and dusty path. They danced and skipped around my feet like fabled whirling dervishes, only to disappear as quickly as they appeared in a collapse of millions of dust particles.

This is another hot day. I hope these photographs give you a feel for the hills, heat and much of the walking today.

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As I walk, my route becomes shorter, my hair longer and my body older.

I see this ruin from this angle.
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The other side looks like this. Have a close look at the obvious grey slab to the right of the archway. The second photo below is it. Then right side, second row up from the ground there’s an obvious white stone. The third photo is it.

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The third photo gave us something to discuss, see what you think. Was it carved to go in there, or did it come from a previously existent building and get recycled?

At one stage I am tracking a young man. He is of Asian appearance and walks with that languid, loose-limbed confidence of youth. After a short time I suddenly break-from day-dreaming and realise I have been keeping pace with him like a faithful puppy, I am quick to recognise that for some time I have been walking much too quickly to last all day.

The path is quite sparsely dressed with flowers for the remainder of the day. Where they do exist they determinedly play their part in the great drama that is our life by playing host to visiting insects.

Muddy puddles from long-gone rains are ringed with moisture seeking butterflies.

The next toe wiggle is at the bottom of a long slow descent from the ridge-line I’ve walked the last 2 hours or so. As I leave the cool woodland I walk into a dry, skin crinkling hot wind again and stop here.

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Home for the night is expected to be Atapuerca (there is something about this being the area of the oldest European inhabitants, or something like that), I’ll check that out later or have a look on the internet. As I enter the town, which is much, much smaller than I anticipated, I photograph this sign (no, it is not a self-portrait before any of you ask).

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This is Emila and Vishan from Bulgaria.

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This is Lutz and Claudia. You’ve heard of them before from day two of my trip. They are nice to be around.
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This is the third woman I have seen smoking a pipe.
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Here are some more photos from today.
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There is no wifi which is disappointing because there are things I want to say to others that I don’t want to say in this blog. Meanwhile all I can do is type this up in a note capacity in the iPad ready for posting tomorrow.

Dinner tonight was a simple, pleasurable affair with friends that are growing to mean so much.

By for now.

Steps so far today 33492

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