Tardajos to Castrojeriz



Ten months have passed, and I have yet to complete writing about the last three walking days of my Camino 2018. Those days were powerful, leaving me doubtful I could ever give them their due justice. I was but a bystander, blessed to be watching as God used faithful servants to reach out to those in need. Thinking back on the impact of those days has motivated me to have faith and finish these writings I started so many months ago.  

2 Corinthians 8:11-12  “now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has—not according to what one does not have.”

Silent 3am bus ride to our starting point

We enter the Meseta on this ninth walking day of our adventure. This calm yet, deceitful vast plane alters one’s perceptions of time and distance. Lacking in tall, lush trees of the last several days, the sun seems to loom bright overhead, following our every footstep. Anticipating what the day will hold for our planned nineteen-mile day, we rise at two-thirty am, determined to beat the heat. Fortified with strong coffee and croissants, we boarded our bus for the short drive to our starting point. The early morning air was crisp; the moon was full and glowing, seeming eager to lead us down our path.  Walking into the moonbeams above, we recited the rosary, drawing serenity from the tranquility of our prayers and the surroundings. 

Morning Rosary, it’s a challange to walk holding poles, rosary, and trying to take a picture without getting behind!.. lol
I spy with my little flashlight an arrow

The cool morning air and flat gravel paths aided in keeping the pace quick and steady. The moon’s light was enough that we needed no source other than the occasional flashlight to verify an arrow. Slowly the sun peeked through the horizon behind us, lifting the darkness and bringing forth beautiful hues that danced in the sky—such an amazing sight. So many steps were taken in reverse this morning, allowing us to soak in those stunning rays of purple, pink and gold.


Lamentations 3:22-23: “The favors of the LORD are not exhausted, his mercies are not spent; They are renewed each morning, so great is his faithfulness.”

The invigorating cool morning air turned stifling as the sun arose, leaving us caked in sweat and dust. The day would include the anguish of blistered feet and the beauty of friendship, love, and kindness, which glowed as bright as the sun rays above. The Pain and suffering of one can affect others profusely; I believe on this day, God was at work; in the suffering of one, the pains of many were healed. This day hearts were filled with acceptance; sadness opened to hope, strength was given where strength was needed, and new friendships bonded. Those burdened with grief supported the strong; the independent strong were able to find grace in weakness; healing and growth were abundant in the face of Pain and suffering.

As the mid-day heat stripped us of our energy, the pain of one of our pilgrims became more apparent.  Four remained in the rear, supporting our friend whose face was always showing joy even though her eyes projected pain and suffering.  Sometimes I walked with the final four, and I sometimes walked slightly ahead, always looking back. The path was endless, and inches seemed like miles; seconds felt like hours. Signs were passed saying Hontanas was only a few meters away, yet the horizon showed no sign of civilization. We had walked over twelve miles and longed for a break.  A steep hill came into view, despair was felt, and there was no way our peep would make it up that hill. Then, suddenly in the valley, a town appeared; within a few feet, there were signs of life, hope, and relief!  This was a great reminder that Our Lord is always with us; if your heart desires, He will come into your sight.


Hontanas sets in a valley, so grateful for it to come into view

Mathew 11: 28-30 “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

The day full of humility and suffering ended here for myself and my blister-infested peep. Amazingly her face was still smiling, her soul ever joyful, not one complaint, though her eyes clearly reflected her agony. The final four relished a cup of Café con Leche as we tended to our friend’s feet. With the final destination a little over six miles further down the road, the final four split. Two moved on to complete the day’s journey to Castrojeriz, the other two spending a few minutes in solitude at the local church. We headed to the edge of town, where our bus was waiting; suddenly, we started giggling like kids. This burst of silliness may have just been relief, but we felt a wild west cowboy vibe coming from this oasis in the desert and found it very entertaining. 

Between Hontanas and Castrojeriz are the ruins of the San Anton monastery, built in the 12th century. Within the ruins is a rustic albergue and a small rest stop for pilgrims to relax and quench their thirst. The bus stopped here to pick up a few other members of our group, allowing us time to walk around the premises. The monastery is a skeleton of what it once was. We walked to the back side, where its openness gave some of our peeps the feeling of being on the Lord of the Rings set. Once back on the bus, an exhausted peep who had joined us asked if I thought I would return for Camino 2019; I adamantly said NO. The Camino was now checked off my bucket list, and I was done, done, done! The funny thing is once rested, pains became forgotten memories, and the body was left craving more of those dusty paths.

Indeed it was another great day on the Camino!


Search for:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s