Starting in the dark at 7am, using the head torch. Cool about 8-9C. Lots of keen fast walkers.
After 7km reached a small town with a great cafe serving food and great coffee. Maybe all coffee tastes good after a walk. I had a bocadillo con Jamon y queso, a bread roll with ham and cheese with my coffee.
After earlier admiring a Sony camera being used by another walker, I fell into a discussion with him and ended up having breakfast with him and his wife. They are a Camino romance story as they met while they were both on the Camino a few years ago. They are South Americans and I really enjoyed our conversation. Perhaps we will catch up in Burgos.
The fine weather I had enjoyed until now came to an end. It rained lightly for about half of this day’s walking. I “deployed” my El cheapo poncho and soon found out why people pay good money for better designs.
When it split half way down the front while being put back on after a rest stop at the 10km mark, I wondered what I had in my kit that could repair it. Sadly the answer was nothing. Later I was panting while walking up the hill and an African woman ahead of me asked “are you okay” and I said yes, no problem. But soon after that, the rain returned and I noticed it was split even further down the front making it somewhat useless. The woman who had asked if I was ok offered a safety pin. During the rest of the day the pin was placed in new positions and it is clear I need a new poncho now.
At Villafranca I stopped for an early lunch and warmed up a bit as the outside air temperature was still low after the rainfall. After leaving Villafranca the way requires a continuous climb over a few km. During that the rain came and went.
Finally we were on the downhill slope and the village of San Juan de Ortega came into view. It was very welcome.
I checked in to the albergue at the old monastery and found it almost full. But a bed is a bed. And they had turned on some heating, which the group of cold and damp pilgrims appreciated.