April 6, 2017. Day 19

Burgos to Santo Domingo de la Calzada  – 68km

We left Burgos via the Arco de Santa Maria and along the cycle path east along the river to the N120. This road follows the Camino de Santiago. We had hoped for perhaps not an easy, but at least a contemplative ride on, or alongside, the pilgrimage route. But, it was not meant to be. A continuing strong, gusty northwest wind, together with a constant, heavy stream of truck traffic were an assault on all our senses. We chose not to cycle on the unpaved surface of the Camino, but even if we had, much of it was beside the highway, so it would not have removed us from the insistent drone of the traffic.

There were a few hikers on the trail and some cyclists, like us, taking the highway. The traffic and the hills didn’t allow for much communication, apart from brief greetings and waves. We were curious to know what it was like hiking this part of the Camino so close to a busy road.

As we climbed, we were surrounded by mixed forest. We hit our highest point so far, at Puerto de La Pedraja (1150 m). Descending to Villafranca Montes de Oca, we stopped for lunch of soup and grilled hake. Later, we passed over the Rio Oja. We are now in Rioja wine country.

In the afternoon, we were surprised to see caves and a church on a sandstone cliff above Tosantos. According to Wikipedia, 800 years ago a woman, known as La Ermita, lived in a cave in the cliffs above Tosantos and ministered to the passing Pilgrims.

By the time we cycled into the attractive old town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, the wind had finally dropped somewhat. We hope this bodes well for tomorrow.

We are staying in a hotel that is an adaptation of a thousand-year old Pilgrims’ Hospital.

Arco de Santa Maria
Trucks, Paul and the Camino
Santo Domingo de la Calzada

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