Day 16 (to Hornillos de Camino): … I faced it all …

The standard morning alarm ….

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… backpack/bags rustling worked like charm this morning. As I clear the sleep from my eyes … I spot Nan Jan at the door already ready to go. Some background … a panicky rumors started spreading yesterday after the main municipal albergue at Burgos (with 150 beds) was full by 16:30 … how crowds of Spaniards are going to descend on the Camino for extended Easter weekend … so there’ll be no room at the albergues.
So Nan Jan decided to start off early to make sure she catches a place to sleep. I made a intentional decision not to worry where I’ll sleep … we’ll see how that approach will turn out.

I got my gear and started off … only to return after a few minutes … I forgot my sunglasses. Not to self: pack all my stuff at the backpack the night before … individual items outside the pack tend to be misplaced.

According to my guidebook, finding the exit from Burgos can be a bit complicated, but with a bit of help from my GPS smartphone with pre-loaded offline Camino map, I found the yellow arrows quickly. Its 7:30 and the town looks sleepy… a guy is walking his dog and a couple of delivery vans pass by. Quite a few statues along the route .. an older couple on a bench, a milkmaid and Santo Domingo. The path leaves the paved road at the residential suburb and continues on typical Camino road.

I join up with Keith from Montana (one of two people who made me transcribe my notes into this blog). Keith is also a forum member and retired military. He lives in the mountains and seems in good enough shape to handle Camino pretty well so far. Along the route we come across a guy in car handing out leaflets for next restaurant … direct marketing in action.  I managed to keep pace with Keith for a while … chatting on a bit of everything … US politics to Crimea crisis … before I needed to stop to catch my breath.

A plain … then a bridge … then a town in a distance … and a bench.
It’d be a shame no to try it out since someone made all that effort to build it.

Little further there is a cafe.  This is where Nan Jon bids goodbye to a Belgian lady (that I met in  Belorado) who is returning home today.
Instead of sandwich I decide to try a tortilla with ham and cheese … not bad … than again, practically everything tastes good on the Camino … its that secret ingredient … calories lost.
Keith is joined by his Swedish pals and again I hear “good morning” in Croatian from foreign folks. Stefan worked in Bosnia after the war on the home reconstruction program financed by the Swedish government. Sten-Ake is a retired professor who’s been to Dalmatia for several holidays.

I continue onwards … in the wrong direction. Fortunately a passerby quickly points me in the right direction.
As I exit the town I come across two guys from Bulgaria, Alex and Pavao. One is in catering and other in import-export business. They are pushing 30 km per day on average because of limited vacation time … why don’t you take a bus for a few stages …. “no, that would be cheating” … to each their own Camino, hope they make it to the end. They admire Croatia because we manage to put our former prime-minister behind bars … they only managed to imprison small fry politicians so far.
I let them move on … I might have mentioned my pace is not the fastest.

I chat a bit with two Australian ladies that started off from Burgos … typical Camino talk … feet problems and how to avoid them. At the approaches to the next village I ran into Bepi, a Dutch singer from few days ago. Her knowledge of Croatian is limited to “one small beer please” that she picked up from her friends.

I arrived at Hornillos de Camino oko 13h. First albergue in town has plenty of free beds … just one group of Spanish pilgrims. Well furnished and very hospitable and welcoming hospitalero family. I am joined soon by Keith and the Swedes, French couple … and by 17h the albergue is full.

After I showered and washed my clothes I managed to get an ice pack. As I treat my ankle a hospitalero drops by and nods sagely … hmmm … yes that the way to treat it … with ice … However I find that option to be rather unsatisfactory because it only provides temporary relief and doesn’t remove the cause of the problem. So I finally decide to do what I should have done a week ago … consult the greatest oracle of knowledge of them all … Google.
And sure enough Google provided the answer … raise your feet …. sure I heard that before … but in a way that your feet are above the level of your heart … aha so that’s the trick. More plainly put, lie down on your back and elevate your feet in order to reduce the swelling.
That has indeed done the trick and minimised my ankle problems in the future.

The village has a small store where I got my lunch supplies. The have “original from Finistere” shells, and the wall is plastered with framed banknotes from all over the world … they even have Croatian currency.

I go back to the albergue to lie down a bit and I spot someone with a same idea … he started snoring as soon as his head hit the pillow. I’m guessing this is is going to be a night for earplugs.

A chicken paella is served for dinner … pretty good one at that.

That was day no. 16.