La Via Tolosana (France) & Camino Aragones (Spain): "The Arles Route" GR653

La Via Tolosana (France) & Camino Aragones (Spain): "The Arles Route" GR653
La Via Tolosana (France) & Camino Aragones (Spain): "The Arles Route" GR653


PLEASE READ: Our Camino For Alzheimer's Awareness will begin on World Azheimer's Day, September 21, 2018 in Lodève, France about 130 kms west of Arles (underlined on the map above and circled on the route profile at the bottom of the page). We plan to walk together just over 800 kms to Puente la Reina, Spain where Annemarie will determine her next steps. It is, however, Geoff's intention to continue onwards a further 700 kms towards Santiago de Compostela. To put this into perspective, the total distance is about the same as from Victoria to Santa Barbara, California. As usual, we will accept the journey as it unfolds and we are appreciative of any and all support. If you feel moved to contribute to the Alzheimer Society please click on either of the really obvious RED BUTTONS to the right or at the bottom of this page and you will be transferred to the Society's fund raising site. We are paying our own expenses and all money raised will go directly to the Alzheimer Society.

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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Étape 37: San Juan de Ortega - Burgos, 27 kms, Cloud, Wind & Sun, 0-4 Cold!

What the Hell? 

So, clearly I’m committed to this Camino For Alzheimer’s Awareness, but you know, the weather was supposed to be typical fall with an average daily temperature in this part of Spain at this time of year a nice 17. Well, the high today in Burgos was 7 and that didn’t happen until some 3 hours after I arrived at 12:40. When I walked in the pharmacy temperature indicators on their signs was 4. This means that with the high it was a ridiculous 10 below seasonal averages. What the hell? 

The good news today was day light savings ended in Spain meaning an extra hour in bed and lighter morning skies with the sunrise at 7:40. I set off in broad daylight. Looking back to the village.

It was cold with a skiff of snow making the trees look quite different.

And the grass lands as well.

There was no where to get a meal in Ortega so like everyone else I planned to stop in the beautiful village of Ages where it was hoped a bar would be open on a Sunday morning. 

However on arriving in Ages there seemed to be quite a few folks with the same plan,

so I decided to continue on to Atapuerca where I recall there being a bar too. However, while there was a bar, it turned out to be closed this cold Sunday morning. I wasn’t overly hungry after a big lunch and dinner yesterday and decided the road snacks I carried would be enough to get me to Burgos. So I headed up the climb out of Atapuerca. Gee it was cold with the wind blowing on the way up to Matagrande. I just missed this flock of sheep coming out to change pastures.

The top has become a bit of a special place on the Camino. 

And many have left stones here for very personal reasons.

The circle of life was still here, though the snow made it a bit hard to pick out.

And someone took the time to message those who followed on this cold day.

Knowing that the climb up here would make me sweat a bit, I stopped at the top for a moment to put on my warm vest. The wind was really cutting and it hurt to remove my jacket, but I was instantly warmer, almost toasty:)

Burgos lay before me, still some housers away. And beyond it the start of the Meseta, a 7-8 day crossing.

A different sort of selfie. I had music going again today. The ear buds helped to keep the cold wind out! Annemarie left me her purple buff that I’m wearing around my neck. It’s been a life saver! I’m wearing mine as a tuque. 

Annemarie, you know just what I’m thinking! 

It’s a long way in, but obviously I made it in good time. I had planned to come through the city gate this time from the river, but I stupidly followed the yellow arrows that brought name in to the cathedral in the same way as last time. Argh! But all that was soon forgotten as I again viewed this most magnificent structure. One of the crown jewels in Spain.

After arriving I finally had something to eat and managed to complete a few chores before checking in to my small hotel. I then went out to see the town and the church. Burgos is a really nice city. Lots going for it. 

The peregrinos like to hang out here as well. Some seemed to be warm enough with less clothing...

It’s later than usual because I decided to enjoy a bit of Spanish life. Watching a football El Classico in a bar! 

It was a good game until Barca carried it away towards the end of the game, but I managed to have an early light dinner at the same time. I was going to go in search of the tapas bars, but it’s pretty cold out. So I’m sitting in my room writing and planning the next stage or two. I plan to take a taxi out of town tomorrow, I’ve walked it before and believe me it’s nothing special. I’m planning a longer stage with a plan to finish at Castrojeriz, where it took us two stages in 2013. I figure the cold will keep me moving! There are places to stop for food if I need it, but unless I’m hungry I tend to through walk.

I’ll miss Bernie and Cronan. They’ve been very inclusive at meal times. They head home from here. I may also leave John, Pierre and others behind as I pick up pace again. Though you never know on the Camino. People have a way of popping up again. I’m at the 1000 km mark tonight with just 500 to go before I can rest...though I might take a day in Leon. A very nice place to take a day. Will see how I’m feeling. The next week is fairly level terrain. 

I’ll add an Alzheimer’s piece tomorrow. It’s late and I’ve things to do before I sleep.

Buen Camino!


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  2. Hi again,

    I missed the turn to walk by the river last time. It’s a dull walk into the city following the arrows, but I remember I was hungry and welcomed the chance to get a bocadillo in a bar.

    I’m a little surprised by the snow. It’s like walking in Saskatchewan! You seem to be keeping warm, though. Walking into the west wind is a killer when it’s cold.

    One of the essays my students have been writing about tells the story of the death of the Quebec film director Claude Jutras, who jumped off a bridge into the St. Lawrence rather than follow his Alzheimer’s to the end. It’s such a terrible disease. I don’t think my students get that, even though they’re supposed to be training to be nurses.

    Anyway, back to work. Thanks for carrying all of us along on your journey, and for doing this walk for such a good purpose.

    Sleep well and enjoy tomorrow’s walk—I hope you don’t get stuck in Hornillos del Camino the way I did!