Day 17 – To Villafranca Montes de Oca

Belorado to Villafranca Montes de Oca – 14 Kms 18,427 steps

This post is coming to you a day late because the awful WordPress app I use deleted the post just as I was about to publish it, and I was too disgusted to re-do it yesterday.

The Belorado town administrators have gone to great lengths to make their town a pilgrim-friendly place. Which makes it sad that there are so few open restaurants and bars to feed the pilgrims.

Many Belorado houses have family crests on display
Whole buildings have become works of art

I left town right at dawn, with a group of pilgrims, and headed for my next stop.

Another beautiful Spanish dawn

The ever-popular thistle and wild blackberries

A new crop: plums

As mentioned in earlier posts, I’m passing huge numbers of sunflowers. Another pilgrim told me that the reason there are so many is the war in Ukraine. Spanish farmers usually “rest” some of their sunflower fields every tenth year, but due to the war and the subsequent crop damage in Ukraine, all Spanish fields have been planted, to meet demand.

Filling a Ukrainian shortage

The day passed with beautiful vistas and some difficult ascents and descents. On one particularly long and steep descent, I thought, “boy, I wouldn’t want to be coming up this path”. Later at my albergue, I met two women who were doing the Camino backwards and asked me about the path I’d walked today (which they would walk, in reverse, tomorrow). I sugar-coated it a little for them but, man, they were in for a hard day.

Rolling hills under beautiful skies

I’ve been lucky to walk and hang out with two nice women, Wendy and Grace, from Wollongong, Australia for the last week or so. Our stopping points and even lodgings have been the same; a Camino coincidence.

Grace models her leather Camino hat

Tomorrow I have a longer walk to Atapuerca, a place where ancient cave paintings indicate human activity as long ago as 1.5 million years. Sadly, the caves are not near the town and so I won’t be visiting them.

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