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V Frances; V Podensis; V Francigena; V Portugues; V Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg. Jaffa - Jerusalem
After leaving Burgos and having walked 29km across the flat Meseta, I was keen to get to Hontanas and relax. But where was Hontanas? Even though I must have been getting close, there was not a sign - just the flat Meseta as far as the eye could see.

Then, suddenly, the tip of a church appeared and there was Hontanas, tucked away in a sheltered valley that meandered across the Meseta.

I stayed in the El Nuevo municipal hostel. The hostel was fine – in fact it had won an architectural award for preserving its medieval foundations – but I loved the little village, down in its valley, out of the winter winds that must howl across the Meseta, with its church and tranquil atmosphere.

At dinner I met a pilgrim who felt guilty about his weight and was walking for a week to shed some kilograms and to do penance for his overindulgence during the year. I got the impression that this was his annual practice.


Bob M
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Wait until you walk from Carrion de los Condes... There's something like a 17km walk to the next town which seems to take forever. The scenery is the same, all along a straight path.... Then you see this farm on the right, with a church and you think "yeah... Nearly there for the first coffee stop of the morning!" until you realise it seems totally detached from any town! I was horrified! then the rest of the town came into view and life seemed better once more!
That's why it has been said that the second third of the Camino Frances (on the meseta) tests one's mind, after having tested the body in the first third. One can go crazy walking along that deserted plain. Seeing a lone tree becomes a major incident.

Hontanas just creeps up on you. The sign upon entering the town says 0.5 km but you don't see any trace of civilization in front of you, then suddenly there it is.
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To be honest I can't remember that bit before Hontanas very well, but don't remember being particularly surprised when I got there!
I remember walking from Burgos with jetlag and 41°C temperatures with Liv. I "crashed" on the cross on top of the "mulekiller" hill. Hontanas, although you can see it is still quite a way. It is one of my most memorable stage. I got there in time to get a space in the gym because the refuge was full. To this day I am thankful to Liv, my Norwegian friend, who helped me getting through this tough and hot part of the CF.

Afterwards it was easy, even the climb to OCebreiro. The rest of the way is another story.... :wink:
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Meseta in a thunderstorm? No thx!

I would not like to be striding across the Meseta in a thunderstorm (a) being the tallest object around, and (b) clutching my metal walking pole in a sweaty hand! :)


Bob M
Ulysse? The climb to O Cebriero was easier? Oh my days!!!

I had food poisoning going up O Cebriero... I was a sweating, ill, horribly exhausted mess, the last time... :?
Hontanas albergue, yes, that's memorable. Arriving in that picturesque little village, entering that pretty albergue. But it was mid winter and the two charming ladies running it, who were so much fun as they cooked out dinner, took the heater away with them when they left for the night, leaving the four of us utterly freezing and dismayed and, I have to admit, quite annoyed, when we got to the bunkroom and realised that we were in for a well-below freezing night without being mentally prepared for it. Just for a little while, not very grateful pilgrims.
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Down Up Down Up

I didn't mind the climb up to O'Cebreiro, but if one were sick as Minkey was, it would have been almost impossible.

On the long, constant slogs I was able to get into a sort of rhythm and plug along.

The climbs that I found tough were a couple of days of constant fairly steep, short descents into river valleys, followed by steep hauls up out of the valleys. Repeat till exhausted. :)

These days looked quite benign on the route cross-section charts in my guidebook, but reality was a horse of a different colour!

Someone said the Le Puy to SJPDP route was a bit like that: down, up, down . . .


Bob M
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I don't remember it being that bad. I sprained my ankle as soon as I got off the paved road and onto the trail going up toward La Faba. I thought I was going to have to crawl up. I too, thank God for La Faba! (and that it was closer than my guide book said, and that I did not encounter any cattle on my way up.) The road from La Faba to Cebriero didn't seem that bad, had fantastic views when the fog lifted.

The toughest for me was walking from San Juan de Ortega to Burgos, both mentally and physically. I wasn't prepared for the albergue to be on the outskirts of town or all the pavement. (Actually, ditto Molinaseca, walking along the cliffs was brutal, and my water got super hot.)

The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.

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