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Album: photos:20021102

Villafranca - Atapuerca
02 November 2002
Day's km: ?
Overall km: >618

I tried to sleep late but just could not. Stil, I managed 9 or 10 hours of solid sleep. I hit the trail about 090:30 after paying the bill which was aroudn 18 €, I think.

It was a three hour walk through forest for once. That is something in short supply since exiting the Pyrenees. There was more uphill to cross the Montes de Oca too. "Montes" is a local dialect word that means "hilly, desolate, scrubby wasteland". At one time this was the historic border between Castilla and Navarra. To one side, water flows into the Ebro and the Mediterranean and the other side into the Duero and the Atlantic.

The Camino left the woods above San Jan de Ortega. The saint was a disciple of Santo Domingo de la Calzada. I passed through that town recently. There is a nicely restored church and a monestary with restoration in progress. I think this is the place where most of the group behind me will stay tonight and perhaps do a long push to Burgos tomorrow. Anyway, the interior and gothic ballachin with tomb underneath were nice enough to rate a picture and I am quite jaded by churches now.

Afterward, young boy with a dog walked me out of town on this way to pick mushrooms. I received some info about the Atapuerca site 6 km further. I did not realize there was a museum too. I was happy and quite pleased with my simple conversation. About the same time i said goodbye to my young friend I encountered the three Austrians from Puenta la Reina.

I walked with them to Atapuerca and learned a few new words as has become my habit with German speakers. I need to be reminded of 2 of the 4 now however. We split up at Atapuerca. They were headed into Burgos to arrive at sunset, and I was to educate myself at this important site. Unfortunately, it seems the museum is closed until next year. The cave open tomorrow but late, so I think I will skip them. There is lots to see in Burgos after all. I am disappointed though. The oldest human remains in Europe have been excavated here. Fossils from 127,000 to 1,000,000 years ago have been found including a possible ancestor for both Neanderthals and modern humans.

Also disappointing is that the only restaurant in town is closed to the public right now. On the bright side, Guillermo, Isabella, and Jose have joined me here at thiswonderfull, rustic, refugio. We got some food and drink at the bar and retired to the refugio to relax. At some point after Isabel returned with a loaf of bread for me it started raining. That was a nice surprise and much appreciated - not the rain, but the bread of course. The bakery was closed when I went by earlier. This is te same woman that gave me a keepsake earlier. It is a small stone with a yellow arrow painted on it that wshe picked up in Navarette.

I was hoping to buy such souvenirs in Compostela, but this is so much more memorable and will always remind me of the 4 of us around that table in the taberna. I will not need pictures, but I have them too. Isabel, if you are reading this, thanks again and gtood luck with the rest of the trail.

I will miss the 3 of them after Burgos. Jose is leaving to see a doctor - something about a fortuneteller's warning, and the others are section hiking.

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