Day 10, Tosantos to Burgos
There are two lines in my journals for this day…
Yes, this was the day I walked 50km, it was not something that I decided I was doing right away. Rather it became a goal to reach Burgos over the days walk and near the end a series of unfortunate events conspired to make it so that the entry in my diary became what it was. The day started beautifully with, as the hospitaleras promised, a cool day and that made the climb up a breeze, through lush forests, wide spaces and all the things that made the camino a picturesque experience.
I wrote an entry about this while I was on the camino, The day of the blister it is worth a read.
However I will write a bit about it and perhaps add somethings to the story
I walked with Nick, Sam and a few others .. but mostly I walked with Nick as he was a fellow hiking person and we talked gear and experiences for a good while…. before long we had arrived in Agés.
This was Sam and Nicks stop for the day, I was keen on walking longer especially since it was a cool day and I felt very good. So I took a lunch break with them and wishing them a Buen Camino, knowing that I probably would not see them again on the camino … I also asked them to say hello to Nicole for me and wish her well.
So far in the day I had not yet decided to walk all the way to Burgos, I continued walking running into some familiar faces along the way .. including the Hungarians from my walk to Villatuerta and someone they were walking with… we exchanged hellos and talked about nothing in particular for a few moments before I made excuses and walked on, with them shouting “hey crazy.. don’t break the speedlimit, ye!” I was listening to music, probably for the first time on the camino.. at least the first extended listen … to P!nk among others, but she was def. the most listened to artist that day… I walked and walked… and it was cloudy and cool.. I was happy and for every town and village I passed I closed in on Burgos.
I had looked at my guide and before long I had made my mind up that I would reach Burgos today. It should be about 40-45km from Tosantos to Burgos, but I had taken it relatively easy earlier in the day and I felt great, feet were good … why not.
As I approached 35km, I think, the map on my guide started to deviate from the markings… the first obstacle was a construction site, a big one… however the markings guided me.. but I was sure that this was adding to the distance I had to walk to get to Burgos. By now however I was committed since there was no town or village between where I was and Burgos and heading back was not something I even contemplated.
I walked around the site…. headed on.. and the guide was off again, I had to detour around an small airport / landing-strip. halfway around I started to notice some discomfort on my right foot, right behind my toes. I took off my shoes and to my horror discovered that on my last break when I had switched socks I had inadvertently put on cotton socks (which I only had for indoor / around town use) which are prime blister generators. I checked the spot, there was not a blister there yet, but definitely a small hot-spot. I put on a compeed as a preventative measure and new dry woolen socks … and continued walking.
To my despair, the discomfort grew into pain.. and what promised to be a blister of some note. I felt I closed in on Burgos, I saw traffic signs and warehouses and I really felt myself perk up thinking about getting to sit down and have a meal.
I was fooled, it was an industial area with warehouses and big outlet sales that gave the appearance of being the town proper. It was NOT, and now I was in pain, there was now a blister there was no doubt, it was painful, very much so to add to my discomfort I was now walking on the torturous sidewalks that gave my newly minted blister a massage with every step. Burgos seemed to be one of those cities in fairy tales, always just out of reach.
But this was reality … and after more pain, a few breaks were I sat down on benches just to take the load off my feet for a few minutes… I arrived.. I found the first albergue it was now close to 18:00 I had been walking for a solid 11 hours… I was relived to find they still had available beds.. on the 6th floor… but there was elevators.. I was very happy. Once I found the floor and my bed it was clear that it was one of the last ones…. I collapsed .. as much as you can collapse on the top bunk in a bunk bed. and just laid there for a good hour so I could gain the energy I needed to shower and go outside to find a place to eat.
I did not venture far in my search for food, I found a classy slightly posh pub… the barkeep just pulled a beer for me without asking and nodded to a table. I sat down and took a sip of what that day seemed like a glass of water drawn for the fountain of youth itself.
I got a menu and it was a full page with just burgers… my mouth was watering at the very thought of a chips and seared meat. I ordered the deluxe version… it did not take long before it arrived. Not having learned my lessons in France I had also ordered this burger medium and while not as raw as the one I got in Paris, it was more on the rare side than I usually expect when ordering medium… but it was heavenly … I savored every bite… and with a ravenous hunger like I had that was quite a test of my will power. I ordered an extra portion of chips and another beer… and just sat there enjoying the view of people passing by. After a good while I payed and left a good tip because it seemed that I had gotten the first beer out of pity / concern.
I returned to the albergue through the restorative miracle of beer I had the energy to do my laundry, hang it to dry and take a second shower. I went to bed and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow… happy that I had made it and uncertain of what the next day had in store for me.