I had a day alone in Burgos before meeting my second group and had plans to go exploring but… Gerry hasn’t spent a lot of time in the city and so we agreed I should wait until he can come with me. Instead I relaxed, ensured all was in order for the group and I met up with a camino buddy Carol from Camino Confidence.
My group arrived at different times. Some arrived on the night bus from Bordeaux and the others had driven down but we were all safely checked in to the hotel in time for dinner! We met, we ate, we explored the main cathedral square at night and we made plans to eat for breakfast the next morning… and the start of our 500 kilometre walk to Santiago.
The last time I walked this section was with my walking buddy Jaqui, indeed we walked at the same time of year so things looked very familiar. I thought about her a lot over the coming days. I miss her a great deal; she died aged 51 and she is constant reminder to me that life should be lived. We had so many laughs on that camino and it was nice to remember the laughs that we shared. And my new group certainly liked to laugh!
We walked out of Burgos in bright sunshine. We stopped for tapas and cold drinks and took many many photos of the nesting storks, who would become quite a feature of our walk to Santiago. Again we stayed in a mix of alburgues (in our own rooms) and private twin and triple rooms. We managed to share a coffee with Rebekah in Moratinos and lunch with Carol again from Camino Confidence.
When I first walked the Camino Frances I hated to walk from Rabanal to Molinaseco. On subesquent walks I enjoyed it more but last time with Jaqui she fell and it dropped down my list of favourite sections. However, this time, I LOVED it! We had glorious weather and it was just the most perfect of two days. We stayed overnight in the large pilgrim hotel outside of El Acebo and watched the most spectacular of sunsets.
The other thing I did differently this time was the walk to O Cebriero. I took the horse! Oh my it was fabulous! Half of my group walked… they were determined to walk every step. Three of us took the horse and gosh I loved it. And just like the last two mountain stages, we had perfect weather! Glorious! Also, for the first time, I celebrated my birthday whilst walking a camino; I was definitely walking with the right group as they can sniff our a good bar or a good restaurant no matter where we were… and for the another first on any camino was that I drank coffee liquor for breakfast!
Indeed we had been so lucky with sunny days, right up until the last. It rained and it rained and it rained on the last day into Santiago. But the weather couldn’t dampen our spirits, we made it! My fabulous little second group had stuck together through sunburn, blisters, sore tendons, sore throats and sore feet. I think the last day was perhaps one of the wettest days I’ve walked but just as with everything else, the group took it in their stride!
The new system at the Pilgrim’s office worked a treat, everyone collected their Compostela, we celebrated our achievements, enjoyed a great meal and spent a day exploring the city. We even hired a car and managed one more sunset at Fisterra before saying goodbye and heading back to France.
What a glorious 700km I had – I am so lucky to walk with such amazing people!