It is now, after leaving Burgos, that one get immerse into the real austerity of the Camino de Santiago, it’s the “meseta”, the high plains. The landscape is composed of two single straight lines, one horizontal which separates brown and golden earth and blue sky and the other one starts in one’s feet and it’s the path that pilgrims are walking: The Way.
Every now and then there is a solitary and mysterious tree in the middle of a field defying the drought and sun. The villages are tiny and poor, old houses made of earth and straw and old people living in them. They are the few stubborn or brave ones (depending on one’s point of view) who didn’t want to leave their villages to work in the big cities, choosing a poor and basic life without traffic, noises and rush. Centuries ago this was a prosperous area, the core of Castile, the old Spain, providing grain and sheep wool for the entire kingdom, but things have changed…
Many of the villages’ names end “del Camino” (of The Way) or “de la Calzada” (of The Causeway) and that shows the big importance of Camino de Santiago in them ever since the Middle Ages to nowadays. Certainly many of them only survive now thanks to the pilgrims of the Camino de Santiago. The village of Hornillos del Camino is a good example and so was Rabé de las Calzadas just after Burgos. In my opinion they keep a hidden charm, beauty and strength which can be perceived if one looks carefully at its old inhabitants’ sun dried faces and deep dark eyes or even at the poverty of the adobe houses’ walls defying the elements.
Hornillos del Camino has a basic public pilgrim’s hostel and some small shops and restaurants.