Perhaps the shortest day of walking yet (Villafranca to Ages)


This morning I left Villafranca quite late (at around 10am) after having some quality Skype time with my children and finally after having said my goodbyes to Alfonso at the albergue.

Before I left I walked back down to the start of the village and from the Panaderia (bakery) I bought what turned out to be an almost useless baguette if wanting (like I did) to prepare a Bocadillo/Sandwich; its consistency resembled more that of dry breadcrumbs which had been moulded into the shape of a baguette.

I walked back up the hill, passed a pilgrim still sleeping on the grass verge, and continued upwards and into the hills which would take me eventually to Burgos. I had planned to walk the full distance to Burgos today; only about 40km from Villafranca.

The walk out of Villafranca was beautiful in the late morning sun:

Walk-out-of-Villafranca-1

Walk-out-of-Villafranca-2

Walk-out-of-Villafranca-3

Walk-out-of-Villafranca-4

The first village which you reach is San Juan de Ortega and I decided to rest up for 30 minutes or so as I had felt tired and my body needed the rest. There is a beautiful church here which is currently under reconstruction, and an affordable cafe with a very friendly owner:

San-Juan-de-Ortega

San-Juan-de-Ortega-cafe

As a lay down, resting my body and mind, I watched the pilgrims pass on their way. Some I recognised and shouted out a “Hi!” to. Others were new faces. Perhaps friends whom I have yet to meet. After my third Bocadillo and a glass of coke and ice, I mustered the energy to continue on and with the resolve that I would reach Burgos by the evening.

The path from San Juan de Ortega continued to impress and stimulate the senses:

Path-from-San-Juan-de-Ortega

About 5 or 6 kilometres later I arrived in the small village of Ages and after taking my customary short siesta on the ground, I decided that I would stay in the village for the night and put off walking the rest of the way until tomorrow. I felt uneasily exhausted, and besides, Ages is a beautiful pueblo and the perfect stopping place to escape the afternoon sun.

Two long-legged French women let me know that there was an albergue here for 5 Euro and I soon found myself taking off and storing my boots, admiring the bathroom and building architecture, being shown to my room and bed, and speaking in my progressively more comprehensible Spanish to the extremely friendly albergue owner. The name of the albergue is Casa Roja (Red House) and for 5 Euro it seems to be well worth the investment:

Albergue-Casa-Roja

Casa-Roja-bathroom

Casa-Roja-sleeping

If wanting to stay here then you will need to walk around the corner to the yellow albergue building of the Albergue el Pajar, where the reception is, because there is no reception at the Red House:

Casa-Roja-reception

At the yellow albergue there is also wifi, but not at the red house.
You can also choose to stay at the yellow albergue, but it is more expensive at 10 Euro per night.

I also found out that there is a donativo albergue option somewhere in the village.

There are also plenty of food options here, and also quite an interesting church at the back of the village which has a wonderful chandelier attached to the ceiling:

Ages-church-ceiling

In the village there is a lovely little cafe and I stopped in for an Empanada:

Empanada

It was at the cafe that I also met up with pilgrims Sydney, Lucy (in the sky with diamonds) and Steve:

Steve

When they left to eat their evening meal a couple of very young girls approached me, wanting to sell me a toothed necklace. I didn’t want it and politely refused. What followed was a brief but highly effective masterclass in manipulation – giving me the wide, sad, starry eyes which I know only too well from my eldest daughter – and I paid the 1 Euro for the “tiger’s tooth” necklace, which now hangs around my neck and beneath my sun-faded blue t-shirt.

As I write this it is almost 8:00pm on Sunday evening, and I plan to spend the rest of the evening relaxing in bed and continuing on with my reading of Coelho’s The Pilgrimage. I will wake up in the morning, take some coffee, and then continue onwards to Burgos; reaching Burgos by tomorrow (Monday) evening latest.

Categories: Walking into Spring and Summer [My 3,109km walk from Prague to Finisterre | 2014]Tags: , , ,

4 comments

  1. That was a nice handy day you had today Nev. This post brings back great memories of last year, especially walking through the forest before San Juan de Ortega. I have never walked through as much muck before 🙂 I didn’t stay in Ages, but I hope to in the future. It looks like a nice town!

    • Hi David! Yes, a very relaxed day. A much needed very relaxed day. I forgot, which time of the year did you walk the Camino last year David? I imagine those paths would become extremely mucky and slippery after rain. Well, another albergue night’s stay and yet another snorer. I was up just before 4, to the nocturnal rumblings of a guy from Finland, and very shortly I’m going to head towards Burgos and grab a coffee at the earliest opportunity. Hope you had a better sleep than I did David. Nev 🙂

      • Good morning Nev! I hope you enjoyed the trip to Burgos as much as you can, it is quite ugly isn’t it? I walked at the end of May. The area had been hit with a lot of rain the week prior to that so I was walking through km after km of red silt. Ugh..snorers, one of the few downsides to albergues. I hope you get a better sleep in the 5* hotel that is Casa del Cubos in Burgos 🙂

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