It was a 12.6-mile (20.2 kilometer) hike to get here this morning. I arrived about noon. The first 10 kilometers went by quickly, and my swollen leg caused few problems. I felt that I could walk forever. However, a few kilometers farther, and my leg started complaining, and my pace slowed.
Before I reached Castrojeriz, I passed through San Antón. As I approached, I was hoping it was a real village with a place where I could get a caffeine fix to revive me, but it turned out to be no village at all but only the ruins of an ancient convent with an isolated pilgrim's hostel off to the side. There wasn't even a bench to sit on. I had to rest and sat on the ground until a dog behind a gate started barking at me and finally became annoying enough that I left.
Here are two shots that I took of San Antón as I approached.
Earlier, after the first 11 kilometers of walking, I had passed trough the medieval village pf Hontanas, which did have a place to sit down and buy a cup of coffee. After I left the cafe, I took this picture of the village's main drag.
When I did finally arrive here at Castrojeriz, I collapsed at the first cafe. Who should be sitting there but a Dutchman carrying a ukelele who had been the life of the party a few days earlier in the hostel at Villafranca where he had led a wine-inspired group in a singalong im the kitchen. He left with the intention of making the next town, when Susan and Heather from the USA arrived, whom I had been seeing daily along the Camino. Here's a picture of Susan that I took yesterday evening at the hostel in Hornillos del Camino. I apologize for the fact that it is a bit blurry.
Together, Susan, Heather, and I found this hostel. It took forever to register. The guy running it or hospitalero took about ten minutes to register each person. First, he would talk to the person. Then he would go into an adjacent room to fetch his stamp in order to stamp the new arrival's pilgrim's passport. Then he would take the stamp back into the adjacent room before returning to collect money. That, of course, required another trip to the other room to leave the money. On his return, he would carry the pilgrim's backpack to the dorm while explaining to the pilgrim all of the hostel's facilities. Finally he would return to the reception desk to begin the process anew with the next person in line.