Left Burgos yesterday morning around 8:00. The city (at least where we stayed) very attractive. Interesting architecture…
About an hour outside the city we entered what is known as the Meseta, a large area about 2500 feet above sea level that has little natural water and can be quite univiting weather wise. So far, the weather has been beautiful (mid 50s early morning rising to just around 70, with a nice breeze and just enough sunshine – great walking weather). But the landscape does seem vast.
Mid-afternoon we found ourselves at the top of a little rise. When you looked back, you could see how far we had come (in the first of the pictures that follow, try to enlarge so you can see the faint outlines of the hills we had left days before). When you looked forward, you could see the Meseta expanse in front of us, with the town of Hornillos (where we were scheduled to stay last night) at the bottom of the hill.
For us Hornillos will be remembered as a place of coincidences.
When we were in Santo Domingo we realized I had made a mistake with our Hornillos reservation, which resulted in the reservation being one night too early. When we called we learned they were full, and this was the only hotel in town! The owner finally got on the phone and suggested we stay at a house remote from Hornillos. We would have to come to the hotel, call a telephone number, and someone who spoke no English would come pick us up, take us to his house and provide dinner and a room. Realizing there was no alternative, we agreed.
The second coincidence occurred just as we entered Hornillos. A car drove up, the driver asked who we were, and when we identified ourselves, he said he was the owner of the hotel, had to go see his wife, and would drive us to the remote house on the way.
Twelve miles later, we descended into a valley with a beautiful set of trees and the loveliest looking set of buildings you can imagine. The owner turned out to be our driver’s mother, a spunky gal who for the next 14 hours did everything she could to see we had a wonderful stay (including doing our laundry). The buildings must have been part of a small resort of some kind that had obviously gone out of business, but there was still a great sense of serenity surrounding the establishment, including a river that ran under the deck connecting the main building and our sleeping quarters.
We then discovered our friend Fr. Paul was also staying there, two acquaintances of his (Frank and Mary…also pilgrims, in their mid-70s, and great fun) arrived shortly after we got there, and, if all that was not enough, we discovered the cast from the movie THE WAY had stayed there and shot part of the movie there. Enough coincidences? And, who knows, I may have slept in the room Martin Sheen slept in!
The name of the place was El Molino. Our experience there was just one more incredibly special moment on a very special trip. A couple of pictures follow, one with the mother (gentleman on the right our friend Fr. Paul) .