Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Camino bore, day 12: The porridge albergue takes shape.

Tuesday May 11th 2010: Burgos to Hontanas. It's funny what makes a camino day memorable. Today was memorable because we had a tortilla for breakfast (the Spanish omlette kind) and after this we sped off at great speed, making other pilgrims ask 'What are you ON?' So we learned this lesson, and every day tried to have Breakfast (1) coffee & croissant; Breakfast (2) Tortilla. Another memorable thing was the pool at the albergue at Arroyo de San Bol where I dipped my feet; it was supposed to clear up pilgrim foot problems for the rest of the camino, and I tried hard to believe that it would. It was so cold, it acted like anaesthetic - for a while! The charming little albergue there slept 10, but we didn't stay there as it wasn't far enough out of Burgos to constitute a day's walking. But it gave us an idea - you know, 'I have a dream... one day we'll run an albergue all of our own, and it will serve porridge for breakfast'.

The place we planned to stay and did stay was Hontanas. I read, 'With God's help we crossed this deserted waste land and reached the village of Hontanas. It lies hidden in the valley of a little river, so that you can scarcely see it until you have reached it..... These creatures are so famished they even eat one another.' Wolves that is, not pilgrims, in Laffi's 17th C. It's great when you think you've miles to go, and all of a sudden the place appears! Other villages are so situated that you think you ARE nearly there, but it never seems to get any closer. This landscape plays psychological games.

The village was in (an estate agent would says 'nestled in') a sort of dusty bowl in the middle of the plain, and very welcome it was too. The albergue was a hive of building activity, very well-meaning, but somehow the loo door was of clear glass, no locks on any doors, and other oddities that didn't bother us too much. Full marks for trying, we thought. But wow, what beds (illustr.)!

The Confraternity guide speaks of one albergue in this town (not the one we went to): '...a persuasive owner, Victorino, provides copious food cheaply. Women, especially those travelling alone, may be more comfortable elsewhere.' The German comedian Hape Kerkeling writes a couple of pages about this place, including: 'A sweaty innkeeper...pours a liter of red wine over his hair, inhales it through his nose, and blows it into his mouth while warbling a tune. Formidable, but revolting!'

I enjoyed the night in this place; I felt that this little dust-bowl was a real place of refuge: somehow the shape of the landscape gave me a 'tucked-in' feeling and I loved it. There were no 'deep thoughts' to trouble us.
Idea for the Porridge Albergue is born.

Ooh mi foot!

Yes, we ARE nearly there!

Wow! What beds!

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