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Follow here my journey and stories around the World. 


Filtering by Tag: Puncture

Day 8: Hornillos del Camino - Calzadilla de la Cueza

Ivan Blanco

Español aquí

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...

Epic Camino de Santiago Pin puncture!

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!"

Carla and her unique "diamonds" phone

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!

Mostelares plain next to Castrojeriz

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

Fromista channels

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!

Day 7: Belorado - Hornillos del Camino

Ivan Blanco

Español aquí

Starting the day in a place where its name seems to combine a legendary gold seekers' destination (El Dorado), and the starting letters of Italian beauty or puppies' name, another great Camino day deemed to be happening again!

As it usually happens for bike pilgrims, having the room just for us, we woke up quite late. So we had a quick but plenty breakfast and wished a heartfelt goodbye to our brief but dear companion Jürgen (check day 6 for more info). Jürgen followed his path that would bring him up to the Northern route, crossing the magnificent "Picos de Europa" (see here some of his posts), visit Santiago obviously, then down all the way to southern Portugal and ending his trip in Granada (check here his parkour). That's how he completed what was his Jürgen's Weg (the Jürgen's Way), an impressive 4 weeks ride, bravo my friend

"Danke für deine Zeit Jürgen und ich hoffe unsere Radwege kreuzen sich irgendmal wieder! LG!"

Once back to the initial "Ondiñas" team, the happiness and joy of the Camino brought by the people you meet, the experiences you live, the beautiful landscapes, food and much more, made what had to occur at some point or another, our vocal cords' vibrations, or better known by most as: singing. So it was that with high doses of endorphins we starte to sing along the Camino! Going from some general drinking songs, to some Catalan, some Basque and a few Galician ones. We finally ended up with a particular one that somhow became our favourit: Ondiñas! (click here to hear the full song)

It is a song that basically sings to little waves that come and go and to Rianxeira (more info here in Spanish only). It is one of the most popular Galician folk songs, which awakens many positive emotions to both local as well as immigrant Galicians all over the World. This hymn of Galician culture and sort of symbol of our final destination became, this way, our Camino song and team name.  

Bike backpackers!

Although this initially more Galician moment, Catalan soon took over the scene when we crossed fellow bikers from Girona. Their peculiarity was not only their strong strong Catalan accent but the size and placement of their luggage, they were literally carrying backpackers backpacks... yes, the huge ones! Although they were dancing from one side to the other on their backs, they were happy with it and it was one great conversation starter.

After this, our path took us again to natural and beautiful landscapes, in this case, of the Burgos region. Between some happy jumping sessions and amazing trees, we unfortunately stumbled across bikers' least desired outcomes: flat tyres! 

Two paths one way

Actually, we already had a flat tyre the day before, Maitane's wheel punctured, but as a team we quickly managed. So, who was it going to be this time? Well, it struck Maitane's bike again. Although the initial bummer of another flat tyre, it allowed me to take one unique tree picture and have a ride back to assist Maitane without carrying my luggage. However, changing the tyre this time was quite more tricky, the valve was of a very thin type and blowing it was very difficult, but thanks to a patrol from the Civil Protection passing by, they helped us and managed to pump it up so we could roll again.

Eight recommendation for the Camino: always carry spare parts and the right tools, you'll never know when you need them. And, don't fear asking for help, people are more willing to than you might imagine.

Cathedral of Burgos

Following these setbacks, we reached the historic city of Burgos, but be advised, there are two possible paths: the beautiful river side one or the rather ugly and industrialized one which crosses the city's industrial site. Where if not enough, you may be literally overrun by a car... yes, a car! I was hit when it was exiting a car park, the driver was simply looking the other way. But remembering the message of my first Camino recommendation, that everything has a solution, the initial shock wasn't a big deal. I didn't even fall and only my luggage took the hit. So on we went with our Camino after what is now just another anecdote.

After overcoming the initial ugliness, we soon came to reach the full beauty of Burgos and, obviously, it's famous blood sausages "Morcilla de Burgos". They differentiate themselves from common blood sausages because they are mixed with rice to make up one delicious combination (more info here; Spanish only).

Burgos blood sausages, delicious!

Concluding yet another gourmet moment, when we were heading out of the city, rain came to join the show but very mildly. When we were almost reaching the end of the journey, our least desired friend visited us again: Mr. Puncture! And guess what, as in a movie like sequel, it hit Maitane's bike a third time again .

Like many trilogies, it did it in a really epic way, it punctured with...

Yes, I like giving surprises and I like to keep the suspense. But don't worry, you just need to stay tuned for day 8 to discover who's the most epic Mr. Puncture ever!