Day 8 was about to start in the lovely village of Hornillos del Camino, but it wasn't without efforts that we reached it the day before...
What we can now call the Official World Puncture Day (note: some intrinsic exaggeration may be present in the statement), ended with a trilogy of punctures on Maitane's bike and one of the most epic ones ever. Having only a few more kms to reach Hornillos del Camino, Maitane suffered her third strike of the day with a Pin... keep with me, it wasn't just any kind of pin. It actually was a Pin of the Camino de Santiago and on the Camino! Among all the possible roads and all the possible pins that exist, it precisely hit the same bike that suffered two previous punctures...there's probably only one in a million chances of this to happen... After taking the picture above, I told Maitane:
"Hey, you really got to buy some lottery today!"
So it was that we ended the day on this "lucky" strike and while fixing it, Marta and Carla went on to book our next Albergue. This is how we reached Hornillos at sunset and relax could be the word that better describes this evening. Relax and... Estrella Galicia, yes yes, I can't do without my favourite beer! Chance made it that the only bar in town had this beer and we had a few rounds during our journal keeping. Some extra ones had finally to be added when suddenly Giulia and Nicola appeared (check day 3 if you missed my first bikers' encounter with them).
Once we finished our (Amazing Beer!) rounds and dinner, I had the chance to continue with another of my photo interviews with our "hospitalera" (= albergue host) Inma. She, as other "hospitaleros", after finishing the Camino ended up here to help and assist fellow pilgrims. A curious thing was that, Alex, the bearded Italian I hinted on day 4, was there too having his dinner. However, this time again, I didn't get to know him and I wasn't going to until way way later.
During the night we might have had some puncture nightmares, probably also caused by the intense snoring we suffered.
Ninth recommendation for the Camino: unless your passionate for the delicate sound of noses, get yourself some earplugs!
Fortunately, we woke up to a very beautiful sunrise and to a precious moment. Do you remember my Sixth Camino recommendation of day 5? Well, what seems to be just another pair of pilgrims (see the picture right), turned out to be a precious scene of utmost brotherhood. One of the pilgrims is actually blind and the companion leaded the way with a simple string that turns out being the most symbolic element of their union, mission and Camino. Again, open up your eyes and you'll see beauty everywhere!
Getting a bit behind the "Ondiñas" team, probably dazzled by this unique scene, I went out to ride a rather solitary morning. I guess that after sharing my route with others, I probably needed to have my own moments, pace and the first thoughts about the experience of the Camino for myself. Although the girls and I found each other quite often, whenever I reached them, they were already leaving: this day, I was the turtle of the team.
Concentrating a bit more on taking pictures and visit the little beauties of this journey, I came across beautiful riverside paths, museums in churches, steep hills, towns and the amazing canals in Frómista where I joined the girls again. Once we arrived to the, surprisingly, empty Carrion de los Condes, a town which I remembered buzzing with people on a visit some years ago, had now just two open bars and fellow pilgrim bikers that actually had stayed in the same albergue we did the previous night.
Carrion de los Condes is better known for its Santiago Church which is a significant example of the Romanesque style (click here for more info about the town). Besides of this, I was happy to cross the Palencia region which I specially remember for being the hometown of one of my best friends, Alfonso and whom I surprised in Greece a few months ago, to visit another best friend of both, Konstantinos: more than six years had passed since our last three musketeers encounter
But back on the Camino and being already a bit past lunch time, I needed to grab some more delicious "Morcilla", the typical blood sausages from the region. With the belly full and seeing some grey and angry clouds approaching (maybe they were the same ones from day 5...), we decided, in spite of this, to go on to the next town. Although we started to have some rising doubts provoked by the treacherous lightnings and thunders... we, the "Ondiñas" team, people from the North, didn't let ourselves be intimidated by a "little" storm... So we went and while I was setting up my bike, as usual for this day, I got behind again.
En route for another 10 km, these were to become some of the longest of our Camino. Ignorant we were to what was about to happen...
Yes, since humans are bound to habits, I'll keep you in suspense again ;)
Tune in next week for a new day of my Camino!