Distance to go: 561.2 Kms
After a so so nights sleep due to the accompaniment of the Russian world champion snorer we set of around 06:20. The weather remains cool and clear which is perfect for walking.
Small villages dot the way that owe their very existence to the pilgrims passing through. Most of the buildings look in a poor state of repair and the people tend the soil growing their fruit and vegetables. It does not seem that life has changed much in these villages in a long time. They are devoid of young people. There is nothing for them to do. We passed Viloria de la Rioja and Vilamayor del Rio before entering the larger town of Belorado.
Here was a chance to get some money from a bank and have a cup of tea and a sticky bun for breakfast. We sat in a cafe in the Plaza Mayor. We only saw other pilgrims passing through. Where is everybody?
On the way in we passed the Church of Santa Maria from the 16th century which is built up against a limestone cliff. The storks did not mind for they had festooned the bell tower with their messy nests. The bells dont seem to bother them at all.
The way continued west over the rio Tirón and started to climb. The terrain changed almost instantly. Gone were the fields of grain crops. Back were woodland paths and hedgerows. I much prefer them. They are much more interesting and give you something to look at as you walk along. It was fairly easy going today. More birds and wild flowers and the trees themselves. One tree seemed to be shedding cotton. It was like somebody had sprayed artificial snow everywhere.
We passed the villages of Tosantos, Villambista and Espinosa del Camino. All the same and all centred around their churches.
Finally we came to Villafranca Montes De Oca. Now this place has an albergue with a difference. Here there is a fine old hotel and the owner himself has walked the Camino. In the spirit of giving something back he decided to build an albergue for pilgrims at the back of his hotel. Its lovely and clean and splendid and here we are staying.
We met up again with Antoinette and Jimmy from Dublin and Damien who we last saw striding off into the distance at Roncesvalles on day 5.
My dog of the day looks very sad. He wagged his tail when I stopped and I wanted to take him with me.
Distance walked today: 25.7Kms