Day 16: San Juan de Ortega to Burgos

The elevation profile for this section revealed a gradual climb followed by a descent to the level of Burgos, which is still over 900m ASL.

The path out of San Juan de Ortega was through a quiet forest but then changed to a roadside track and later was actually on the road but there was very little traffic.

After leaving Atapuerca the path climbed steadily up the hills and eventually there was a view in all directions, the wind turbines to the north spinning with the strong winds. It was probably about 8-9C but the wind dropped the apparent temperature downwards towards zero. As someone remarked as they passed me, who would have thought we would miss the heat of the previous two weeks. Rain probability had been suggesting more rain today but it didn’t eventuate.

Heading down the southern slopes of the ridge the wind gradually faded and the overcast also dissipated so it became a warmer day than I expected.

Advice in the Brierley book and from others on the caminodesantiago.me forum had warned me to look out for the point at which I would avoid walking around the airport and then walking through a long boring commercial area. I missed the clues and I can only agree with the negative descriptions of the northern route. Avoid it if possible. I think I was surprised that the turn to the alternative route was located as far as it was from Burgos. I should have noticed that the alternative route starts just after the only overpass over the highway.

So eventually, after several rest stops to give my feet some relief (concrete is awful to walk on) I was finally walking down Calle San Juan on the way to the centre of Burgos. I looked at a little hotel along the street and decided to stay there for the night. It was a good decision.

After a shower and a pause I took my clothes to a coin operated laundry back along the road a few hundred metres. It took about 30 mins to run the wash cycle and 21 mins in a dryer. €5 + €3.

I walked up to the cathedral which is under repair. I can only marvel at the community resources invested in such buildings when first built. The fine detail is stunning and the commitment needed to complete these structures must have been huge.

For almost the first time on the Camino I didn’t see any other walkers that I recognised. There were a lot of people in the square near the cathedral.

Then I set about the task of getting to the Decathlon store which is several km south of the cbd. The tourist information centre helpfully told me where the free bus departed from and I am confident they said it was yellow and was the only yellow bus. So after getting on the yellow bus and getting off, with help from an English speaking passenger (thanks to the young lady who was so helpful) I waited for the right bus to come along as promised at 20:30, but instead I saw it (A red bus!) going the other way along the other side of the street at 20:45. So I went in a taxi, bought a replacement for my ripped (lit.) thin poncho, and a light rain jacket that would serve as a wind protector And got back to the hotel at 21:45. Just in time for the nearby bar to have no food available. Never mind, they had cold beer. That’s all I could deal with at that time of night.

Walking through the forest after leaving San Juan de Ortega
View to the hills – visible on the computer but not on the phone…
The road stretches into the distance forever
Breakfast was a “ration de tortilla y un cafe solo Americano, por favor”)
Maestro of the coffee machine
Must be a reason I took this one
This is a hard surface to walk on. I find it very uncomfortable
Shoes and boots discarded by walkers
Didn’t smell these flowers – but a nice colour
View from the top
Bike paths in Burgos
Oh, Segovia!
Coin op instructions
Cathedral

Stage distance about 25km. Distance to Santiago 493km.

Health check: blisters on smallest toes almost under control. Bought new compeed dressings. Feet very tired after the concrete. Shorter next day?

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