Stage 5, Grañón – Hontanas
A path that runs near the road leads us to Belorado and from here the route becomes a pathway along Tirón river. The Camino gets away from the road to the left and leads us towards Tosantos. The Way goes through the rear of the town and leaves it behind along the tracks between cereal fields.
From here, through tracks between growing areas, we cross several small towns not far between in which the only remarkable things are some occasional churches. We pass Villambistia, Espinosa del Camino and finally get to Villafranca Montes de Oca, where the ascent to the pass of Pedraja and our foray into the Montes de Oca begin.
Just out of the village and the path takes a steep slope along a fence of concrete and becomes narrow until it wides a little later, but keeping the slope that after soften a bit takes us into a beautiful oak forest populated with ferns.
Then we cross a flat area and head to a sharp slide in the road where we can see an interesting perspective of the pilgrims who preceded us facing the tough ascent as we go down at full speed, at the beginning of hill.
After our particular roller coaster, we crossed a wire fence and we passed a monument to those who were shot in the Spanish Civil War. From there we go down suddenly to a small stream with a bridge where we need to go up a tough ramp of about 100 m which leaves us in a cleared area with very wide courts, where large pines accompany us on both sides of the path.
From there we rush a fun descent to San Juan de Ortega.
We leave San Juan de Ortega by the road that goes to Santovenia de Oca, but then we turn right onto a dirt road next to a wooden cross, and after going through an old railroad trench, another large wooden cross leads to Agés.
We cross Agés and we take a local road that after a long straight line puts us in front of Atapuerca, which we leave behind taking a path to the left that after a gentle slope leads us to a harsh and rocky ramps area that is really difficult to climb on the bike. It is the hardest area of the stage and it is a bit stodgy. In the high we access a clear wasteland where there is a large wooden cross. The area is full of fences that delimit a military zone.
From here and by a somehow rocky decline at first and on a better road later running between crops, we cross several small towns without much interest in our way to Burgos. We pass through Villalval, Cardeñuela Riopico, Orbaneja Riopico, Villafría and Gamonal, which is the prelude to a long and tiresome side street through the city of Burgos, first by an industrial area and then by endless sidewalks and traffic lights that after a few miles get us in front of the cathedral.
Burgos Cathedral and the whole area around it surprises us with its beauty and majesty. In the basement of the cathedral we can seal the credential and in the square we can rest and admire the facade of one of the most beautiful Gothic monuments of the peninsula.
The municipal hostel is just off the town of Burgos in the park of Parral and we passed next to it to leave the city and head, with our bikes, to the open spaces and large cereal fields. After passing under the railway we take a bike path that after taking a small road leaves us in a land area spanning a wide poplar that leads to Villalbilla de Burgos. We pass under a large viaduct and head to Tardajos, and from here to Rabé de las Calzadas. We are in an area of moorland that, between large areas of cereal, leads us through a landscape that though may seem monotonous, if observed with sufficient calm fills us with tranquility and overwhelms us with its beauty.
On a mountain pass we can see a nice view of Hornillos del Camino and we can enjoy the fun descent that leads us to the village.
Moving away from Hornillos along the Camino leads to an ascent to a new plateau with the grain fields around us everywhere both in plateaus and valleys. After crossing the plateau and getting to a further decline we get to San Bol, enigmatic refuge, which is separated from the route path about 150 meters.
Following the path is to continue in a straight line, ascending, again, to another wilderness with a side street and a further decline to reach Hontanas, town with a special charm that is in a hollow. There is a good hostel and when it is full pilgrims and bike-pilgrims are diverted to the old hostel (in schools) which is also very good. There is a room in an adjacent garage to store bicycles. For lunch you will be wonderfully served at Hostal Fuentestrella, (another oasis on the Camino).