Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ages (Sep 13)

By the time we got to Villafranca, we were starting to look forward to Burgos one of the four large cities on our route, but we had another ridge to cross that according to the maps, was made up of a series of three forested hills. Leaving the the very comfortable Villafranca hotel, the Camino was literary on its back door and from there it was straight up the hill. It was a steep climb but the weather has mercifully turned cool and the sky heavily overcast.

It was interesting that we had entered for the first time a totally natural environment, a forest of oak trees and later pine plantation.  For someone who had never seen more than two oak trees side by side, a whole forest of it was a treat.

Oak forest after Villafranca.

It took an hour to reach the top of the first hil where there was a memorial to a massacre that happened there during the 1936 Civil War in Spain. It was a sad reminder to Spain´s traumatic past.

The second hill was less pronounced, the third practically non existent. We walked into the small hamlet village of St Juan in light rain, grateful to find shelter in the one and only pub even though the less than enterprising owner only served coffee, beer and biscuits. We wondered why he was not more entreprising, notwithstanding there was nothing in the 12 km from Villafranca and every single pilgrim had to pass through it!

To save our legs we had arranged for part of our luggage to be transport to St Juan, but since we felt rather energetic, we picked up the load and walked on to the next town.  Beyond St Juan, the forests made way to open fields again all the way to the village of Ages.

There were a number of places for pilgrims at Ages, we randomly chose one and shared in a 8-bed room. It was rather crowded but the facilities were satisfactory and we enjoyed the hot shower. 

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