I come out of the hotel, follow the signs, crossing the Rioja vineyards and not too many villages.I am heading towards Logrono.
Whilst I am walking, I am watching the people in front of me and notice their equipment and their clothing.
Most of them are wearing Lycra outfits that are easily washed and dry quickly.
A lot of them do not carry a heavy bag.
They have it transported on a daily basis by a Taxi at a cost of 7 Euros -price varies as you get closer from Santiago – and only carry a small bag which makes somehow the journey more comfortable.
The Spaniards are always greeting you with their « Hola, Buen Camino » Kudos to them!
Just prior to entering Logrono, I met with Rosa Mari from Mexico and we continue our walk together into the town, crossing the XI century bridge on the Ebre river continuing onto the street leading to the Santiago el Real’s Church with its baroque representation of Santiago the Matamoros (the killer of Maures) above.
In that street, a man came out of a house holding a plate with some food. I commented on it and asked him who was the person on the plaque on his wall? a scientist who lived in his house . The man invited both of us in for a glass of wine – he opened a new bottle just for us and we drank some of it. He gave us the bottle when we left, I carried it on the side of my « mochila » How nice of him! After visiting the church we arrived onto a square they were making a huge paella raising funds for Oxfam, so we sat and had lunch. We then went to the visit the Cathedral. It was closed.
We headed for Navarette. Half way through we stopped at a lovely park area. They had a fiesta in honour of San Rosio. People were dancing Sevillanas, all dressed up. It was so beautiful, young and old really enjoying the day, a big Family Day Outing. We watched them for quite a while, it was hard to leave.
On the road again – climbing up – Rosa Mari was walking very slowly and stopped often. I decided to keep walking. My whole body was sore. I arrived very late. Already in the Albergue, I found Laora and Simona, two Japanese I had met in Villa Tuerta. Rosa Mari arrived much later. The bedrooms are in the second floor. I came in, there was a man (a Brazilian) already in bed. I thought I might have got the wrong room, so I came out. Laora confirmed that she was in the same room and that was the one.Arrived more people – two Russians, a German, 3 Spaniards, then Carmen a friend of Laora. There are only two toilets in the room and everybody is sharing. I hurried onto the shower, Laora is already in it. Rosa Mari was not pleased that the men did not even asked the women to use the shower first.All lights are off at ten and we have to leave before 8.30. The young Spaniards speak very loudly with a very deep voices. The beds are very small.
I left the next day at 6.30am. Walked until 9 am and stopped at a bar. Met Laora with Carmen and I had 2 eggs and some madeleines and a hot chocolate. Left, asked the man with the truck for the Camino’ signs. I go up and down the village to come back to the same place I was originally. The locals are having some fun at times :O.
Took the right way this time, so kept walking and enjoying the scenery, so beautiful. Getting closer to the town and suddenly I noticed that my water bottle is no longer at its place and immediately… felt very thirsty. Not far away, were some men working in a vineyard. A car was on the side of the road as well. A man was inside, so I stopped and asked him if he had some water. He said « Yes » and produced a 5 litres bottle. I drank some of it, he said I could keep it if I wanted. I thank him and he gave me a banana. ..said the village was not too far away and there was a fountain there. Met with an American from Massachussets waiting for his girlfriend. The fountain was not working. I kept walking. Went to the toilet in a cafe further down – no paper again – good to have some tissues with you – Admiring the beautiful scenery of the outlines of the mountains all the way to the town. On arrival, I found a fruit shop and bought some cherries. Met with Rosa Mari again and went out for lunch with her.
The Albergue in Najera did not open until 1.30 pm.
Left at 6am. A couple of young Czeks were in front of me as a Guide. Good to be going out early in the morning with someone in front of you. Saw a rabbit along chasing something in the vineyard. The view once again was spectacular.
Had breakfast at Azofra. As soon as I arrived, the place filled up with men . All watching a repeat of the World Cup on the TV.
I walked along the roadway for a long time , it was windy and cold although the sun was out. I came along a small road and in the middle of nowhere was an Eski looking-like type filled with drinks . A help yourself kind and leave the money in a tin. I did that and drank. I was getting really tired of the Camino, my feet were aching so much, I undid my shoelaces and saw how pitiful my toenails were, all wrinkled – like a newborn baby – it wasn’t any fun at all 😀 .
I resumed my walk and started thinking how nice it would be if a car appeared and took me, I will go willingly. Soon after that thought occurred, a tractor came and the man stopped and asked me if I wanted a lift? – YES, HE DID ! – I looked at him, and in a split decision said ; »YES- PLEAZE! » He was telling me he was going one kilometre from here onto his vineyard. He was a burly kind of a man in his 40’s with a big beaming smile and huge legs. I got onto the tractor. It was enclosed. I was standing up. My neck was tilted at an angle. He asked me where I started the Camino and where I was going? Where was I from? Told me my Spanish was good, then he must have seen how uncomfortable I was and said if I wanted I could sit on his leg. I could see he was a genuine kind of a man. I said « No thank you » I got off the tractor at destination and gave him a kiss. He was really happy and waved good bye to me. There was a big climb looming in front of me. I was not looking forward to that at all, suddenly, emotions overtook me and I burst out into tears, overwhelmed by that experience and me having trusted that man from the start. Phew!
The landscape was magnificent – like in a painting – full of vibrant colours –
At the summit, I was passing along a Golf Club. There was a town at the top full of what appeared empty new Holidays’ Houses. I heard someone saying later that they belonged to the Russian Mafia – how they know that, I have no idea –
Arrived at Santo Domingo de la Calzada at 12, was going to continue on but decided to stay. The Albergue looked quite inviting, not like the last ones – with 90 of us – looked more like being into a Concentration Camp and the « Lamentation Walls » were in place during the night with a symphony of snorers each trying to outdo each other and taking it in turns at the right movement. How well synchronised they all were. It was truly amazing!
Did some washing had a drink with Laora and Simona. It was Laora last day of walking she was going back to Valencia.
Met some more Spaniards. Elyseo (from Cuenca ) who works with elderly people and Sylvia (sister-in-law) – a doctor from Valencia.
The name of Santo Domingo is taken after the benedictine Saint Dominique de la Chaussee who built bridges, churches and Hostals for the pilgrims
In the Plazza del Santo is the Parador Nacional de Turismo where you can see some paintings of the Hospital de peregrinos.It was re built in towards the end of the 1500s for the San Francisco Convent. I went to mass at the Gothic cathedral Salvador. The priest wished a « Buen Camino a los 25 peregrinos » present. It was very moving.
The Cathedral de Santo Domingo de la Calzada has a « Gallinero » a (hen house) inside. Legend said that a family was passing by and one of the young girl made advances to the young man without any success. As an act of vengeance, she put some money into the young man’s pouch and accused him of stealing. He then was condemned and hanged, parents heard voice that said that their son was still alive, so they went to the judge who at that time was eating some poultry and did not believe a word they said. and in a joke manner told them that the story he was telling them of their son being alive was as true as the rooster in that plate singing. as soon as these words were said, the poultry got up from the plate and started singing. So,this proof was sufficient for the son to be free.
Santo Domingo de la Calzada – Beldorado
Left at 6 am. Walked non-stop until the last stop as nothing was open for breakfast. Went into a restaurant. Was asked to leave my pack outside. The man did not seem to be too happy. So I asked him how he was?
and if he was crossed with me? He said no that the tone of his voice sounds like if he is crossed with me but he was not. Bless him! He then brought me a piece of « Chalcizone » to eat. Gratis. Another miracle for the day.
I then got lost with two Spaniards. Walk was fairly easy and mainly flat. Temperature was very hot – like walking with feet on glowing ambers just about…
Met with Elyseo and Sylvia again.Belorado Albergue is owned by a Brazilian and a Spaniard.I went out and bought some fruit (cherries, peaches, nectarines) I made sure I carry some with me everytime I could – providing there was a shop.Had a shower.
Sylvia had a sore leg and I accompanied them to the Hospital, I wanted to see what it was like – just curious – I was impressed with the services given to her by the medical staff. Commenting on it, Elyseo replied that she was well looked after because they knew she was a Doctor. Things were not as easy as what it looked. I see, they were experiencing problems over there as well…
I did not want to go to sleep. It was so enjoyable outside, there was a swimming pool and I was happy just sipping my drink and writing some of my notes.
Well,… I hardly slept at all. Everything worked out the way I said. An Irish man was sleeping above me and was snoring his head off most of the night, the person across was doing the same and the most funny of all was when the Irishman woke up in the middle of the night and went up to wake-up the other one, telling him he was snoring. That was a cracker!:)
Belorado has an interesting history.Around the early 1110 the place thrived with the Francs and the Jews and the Maurs. There were two hospitals built and a number of churches. The Church Santa Maria can be seen at the entry of the village. San Pedro church is in the middle of the village.[/caption]
Left at 6 am with Sylvia and Elyseo. Going out, we crossed the bridge of the Rio Tiron.
Hard walk, up and down ~~(10% angle). Some military were there doing some kind of exercises in the forest…They went pass. Further down, I met them again – they had stopped for a pause – and started walking again as I was coming towards them.
Met a Japanese from Tokyo. We spoke in English. They were eight of them (retirees) impeccably dressed… long white gloves, hat, backpacks and matching shoes. Accompanying them was a Spanish guide who told me he works for a Tourist Organisation (French, Spanish and Japanese) The tourists walk for 12 kms a day and in 9 days will be in Santiago. They are very well looked after. The Guide ensuring they stopped each time there was a shady place to have a drink. He gave me some water as well as Patrick, a young German I meet at regular intervals and who always greets me with a big smile. There are long stretches without any water available at all. This was one of these walks. I believe it is pretty dangerous, especially if you are walking on your own.
Meantime…coming towards us was a soldier running, followed by an officer. I asked the Guide what was happening? As he went past, he asked the soldier where he was going. He replied … »I left the riffle » at the spot they had a pause. …and he kept running ..- for his life – with the officer running …behind him .ah! ah !ah !that was so funny! It was like watching one of these movies about army training. I also felt sorry for him.
I was walking very very slowly. It was so hot, my legs were hurting.
I went pass some men cutting trees along the forest with big trucks.
At an intersection, a bit further down, there was another officer waiting. I could tell he was not amused – I turned back and saw the soldier still running ..holding the riffle in between his hands. He got a serve from the officer waiting as well and… I don’t think he’ll do that again.:)
One of the aspect of the « Camino » I really like is to hear so many different languages spoken.
It was interesting whilst I wrote my diary, depending who I was travelling with, some parts are written in different languages. It is a mixture of English, Spanish and French. Mainly English and Spanish
My sleeping bag looks like a sarcophagus! I am starting to see that I have made a big mistake purchasing it.
I simply cannot move inside. It resembles a torture chamber:) At the least movement, my knees start playing castanets together – yeah I know I am in Spain – however! Every night I am learning to manoeuver in such a way as my body is getting a rest instead of decomposing. It was the lightest. I thought I was doing the right thing. Less weight to carry. Finally, I found a posture that was kind of more fitting…. it’s an out of body experience – half of me is outside the sarcophagus – At last… I am getting somewhere. Why did it take me that long? I dunno…
Met Eiffie again. Went to buy some fruit and asked her if she wanted some. They are the special ones – from « The Alchemista’s shop ». The trouble was that I could not find her back… Desperately seeking…
I ended up eating one of them and when I caught up with her the next day at the top of a mountain overlooking Burgos, it was most welcomed.
To-morrow, en route for Burgos! It is not going to be an easy walk – UP AND DOWN UP AND DOWN , Yep! I am familiar with the drill now.
It is very hot again, I walked on and off for a few days with ELyseo and Sylvia. I really like them, Elyseo has a great sense of humour – he likes to play with words, has a very good knowledge of history as well – and Sylvia has a very quiet personality – although she says what she thinks – They get on well together. A section of the walk consisted in us praying. – Elyseo started the rosary and we finished it with Sylvia praying in Spanish and I in French, I really liked that. It made me feel good inside.
By the way, Elyseo is not his real name. It is a joke between us – it is in reference with the Elysees Palace in Paris –
I enjoyed the early morning life, when everything comes to life, rooster, cows, dogs, birds, etc the moon disappears and the sun comes up.
We reached Ages and then go through Atapuerca there is an archeological site there where human remains were found. It is said that the Atapuerca’s man is the oldest « homo sapiens » in Europe.
The entry into Burgos was never ending and took ages.
We crossed the Avenida del Cid Campeador.and continued until we arrived at the Park following the Arlanzon’s river.
Burgos was established around the IX century as a strategic post.A lot of commerce started developing .
The Albergue looks brand new and is situated behind the Cathedral. I have a sore sheen, looks like I have been bitten by something. So I applied some ice on it. remembering from my First Aid Course I did ages ago.
Went on a Tour Guide at 6.15 pm until 7.15, free for the Peregrinos -How about that?- It was excellent,
The guide takes us in front of the Cathedral Santa Maria built in 1220 similar to Notre Dame de Paris.
for me anyway.It is part of the Unesco Inheritance. Opposite it, is the San Nicolas ‘s gothic church. We walked though the beautiful gardens along the Arlanzon’s river.
After the Tour, I went to mass with Sylvia and Elyseo to the Cathedral. It was packed.
After mass, we went for a drink and watched a bit of the match Spain-Chili (2-1) on tv and came back to the Albergue.
I asked if I could stayed for another day. Yes, I can. Elyseo and Sylvia are going further to-morrow and coming back . It is their last day of walking. I will meet them again to-morrow.
I am sore, feeling sorry for myself and don’t want to continue. I am seriously thinking of giving it all up. I have enough. I am disenchanted I guess and I am not feeling up to the challenge any more. The next day arrived. I am changing my mind and I decided to go. I tell the Korean engineer I have met several times and who was sleeping above me to tell Sylvia and Elyseo that I am continuing my walk.