Casa Rural Papasol (84€, inc. dinner)
We are out of the old monastery at 8:00 AM. For me, this is the most beautiful Spanish hiking yet. Up a steep hill for a couple of kilometers… to an old fuenta, a spring. The two kittens we enjoyed last night join us here. Amazing! Cute and lively, they follow us, finally giving up at least three kilometers from home. Up we go through conifers and oak… beautiful… to a ridge-top… and then steeply down. There are lots of pilgrims, hiking and biking. Then a very long open stretch, about 12 kilometers. We finally come to a town, St. Juan de Ortega. In the shadow of an old monastery being restored, we stop for C&CC and a rest. It is noon and quite hot. Then, on our way to another town with more C& CC and ice-cream (Keeps us going!) and then finally on to Atapuerca, 2.5 long kilometers further. I am hungry and testy, with Nick unsympathetic. We find our Casa Rural, a charming old building next to the church (room 8). We leave our stuff and head into town for lunch… pasta, salad and welcome wine. Back to our room for B+N. Dinner is served at 7:00 PM: delicious garlic soup followed by terrible beef for me, but good chicken with mushrooms for Nick. The vino joven is OK and the desserts dumb. I am getting very discouraged as to Spanish food. The server, though, is very sweet.