Compostela Shell

Camino de Santiago, Day 5: Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Hornillos del Camino

View of Santo Domingo´s Cathedral
View of Santo Domingo´s Cathedral

Hi again and welcome to the 5th day post, the 5th day of my Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage by bike which happened on the 29th of May 2015. We´ve done this stage of 97.26 Km (60.5 miles) from Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Hornillos Del Camino in 7h and 36m, of which 5h 38m were of moving time.

This post is likely going to be shorter than previous ones, not because there is less to say, but because I´ve been struggling in getting these done and also because we rode a lot more this day, so stopped less for pictures and so on. Please message me with any questions in case there is something you´d like to know which is not here.

I left the hostel around 8am as usual, but Fernando opted for an early start and left about 1h before I did, so we rode the first 70 Km to Burgos separately and met in Burgos for lunch later.

Post Card I posted from Villafranca Montes de Oca to my "2nd Mum".
Post Card I posted from Villafranca Montes de Oca to my “2nd Mum”.

The “Camino” is about a time to reflect as much as it is about anything else and reflection and meditation is best done alone. On the subject of inner thoughts, one of the things I noticed during the Pilgrimage was that even for people walking in pairs, they tend to be very immersed in their own thoughts and often walked in complete silence. Of course there is laughter and sharing, but for many the pilgrimage has a spiritual meaning and provides them with the time they need to reflect about their lives so far. I honestly believe this is something every one of us should schedule in our calendars from time to time.

Time to reflect about one’s life, but not seated in the living room couch feeling sorry for oneself. Walking or riding a bicycle has a strange, but wonderful effect on thinking. Something about the fact you are not only mentally, but also physically active makes the reflection a truly enjoyable and positive experience, even if there are tears involved (or for the manly men, those bugs that hit their eyes). It somehow allows people to see themselves from a different perspective as the mind is thinking, but not overly caught in an inward attention since the body is also busy avoiding the obstacles of the track/road and taking care of those things we take for granted, such as breathing, heart rate, muscle fatigue, etc. Have a walk around the block today and think about this. Take the initiative! It doesn´t need to be an 800 Km pilgrimage, but perhaps a weekend trekking a mountain or something like that. It is very therapeutic.

Now, back to day 5… and I believe this is not going to be as short as I thought 🙂

Red delight. Wild Poppies on the right.
Red delight. Wild Poppies on the right.

I left Santo Domingo on the familiar N-120 road and with the exception of 4.5 Km on a dirt road used by the walking pilgrims (which follows parallel to the N-120 though) I stayed on it all the way to Burgos. About 3.5 Km after Santo Domingo, one of the lanes of the N-120 takes a strange and rather confusing turn to the right and if you continue straight on it, like I did, you end up getting on the wrong side of the road or you take the parallel dirt road, used by the walkers, like I did. If you are not keen on doing the walkers´ path, I´d advise you to stick to the road and save about 1 Km of your journey. Even if you do take the dirt road you will be able to re-join the N-120 at a little village called Grañon, 4.5 Km later, so no big deal.

Water Fountain at the entrance to Burgos
Water Fountain at the entrance to Burgos

As for the rest of the way to Burgos, I´ll ask you to watch the video and let the pictures “talk”.

I really enjoyed this ride. The road is nice and smooth, surrounded by green fields of wheat and other plantations. It was a cool, but not cold, day… so perfect conditions. The road is mainly flat, but when you get to the locality of Villafranca Montes de Oca you have a long, but manageable (6% ascent), climb of almost 4 Km in front of you. It is the highest point in the ride at 1,155m and I managed to climb it without having to push the bike. There was a bit of fog on the top that day. After the climb, the road is pretty much flat again all the way to Burgos.

Pedestrian zone in Burgos
Pedestrian zone in Burgos

Burgos is the next big city in the Camino, the capital of the Province of Burgos and once the capital of the Crown of Castile. I arrived in Burgos shortly before 1pm and Fernando was already waiting for me there. We went to the tourist information centre to stamp our Pilgrim´s credentials and had lunch at one of the various restaurants on the footsteps of the cathedral. I wish I could have spent more time in Burgos as it looked like a really interesting city. I did not enter the cathedral, but from the outside it looks majestic.

Burgos impressive Cathedral
Burgos impressive Cathedral

Apart from the Cathedral, Burgos has also a very interesting gothic architecture such as the gateway arch of Santa Maria, the old entrance gate to the town.

Gateway arch of Santa María
Gateway arch of Santa María

After Burgos we rode another 27 Km to Hornillos del Camino were we stopped for the night. We decided to stay on the N-120, but if you want to save about 10 Km of your journey, after you pass the town of Tardajos, turn left into the minor road that leads to the village of Rabé de las Calzadas and then take the walker´s path to Hornillos del Camino. I can´t talk about the conditions of this route for cyclists, as I have not done it, but looking at Google maps it doesn´t appear too bad (looks like it is a dirt road). I think it would save you lots of time. We got there about 1/4 to 5 in the afternoon.

Hornillos Meeting Point Hostel
Hornillos Meeting Point Hostel

In Hornillos we stayed at a newly refurbished Hostel called Meeting Point. When we arrived there were already lots of people in the garden enjoying the late afternoon´s sun, playing guitar and singing. The hostel was 8€ a night and we also used the washing machine to wash some of our clothes (4€ incl. Soap) which dried quickly as there was sun light for quite a few hours after 5. The hostel was great, however, the problem we faced in Hornillos was the number of pilgrims staying there was greater than what the village appeared to be able to handle. We could find only 1 restaurant in the village and the waiting queues were huge. We end up buying a sandwich at what appeared to be the only other commercial place open that night, and eating in the hostel´s kitchen, which gave us the opportunity to share some wine and hear some more fascinating stories from some of the other pilgrims staying there (Aussies, Korean´s, Dutch, Germans, just to name a few). It was great!

Well, that´s it… so much for a short post, right? 🙂

People that know me, know I can rarely keep it short… So much to tell. I hope it was worth reading, though. I shall soon have the “day 6” post ready, likely as short as this one… 🙂

<< Previous day                                                                                        Next day >>

Please rate this post by clicking on the desired star (1 = Awful, 5 = Excellent)
[Total: 6 Average: 5]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.