Viana to Najera to…. Burgos

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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.

Santiago el Real Church Logrono


Rosa Mari and the host ..and the wine


Cathedral Santa Maria de la Redonda Logrono


Our lunch - Paella -


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.

Sevillana dances


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.

Laora, Carmen Paola


I've got the chicken!


Met some more Spaniards. Elyseo (from Cuenca ) who works with elderly people and Sylvia (sister-in-law) – a doctor from Valencia.

Santo Domingo de la Calzada


Santo Domingo de la Calzada Gothic Church


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.

Elyseo and Sylvia


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.

Military Manoeuver

« Cutting pine trees in the forest »][/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.

The Statue El Cid Burgos

« Elyseo Sylvia and I behind the Cathedral Burgos »][/caption]

San Nicolas Burgos


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.

Coming into Atapuerca - 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.

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Chemin de Compostelle

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Camino de Santiago –

Had fun at the sports shop, picking up my sleeping-bag-light weight one- incredible how light these can be. Got a hood on it as well ..which I thought was funny.

In the socks department – they have some interesting ones – with extra volume on the sensitive part – I have read the Swiss Army have developed socks to avoid blisters – anyhow I see how I go.

Got a stick – I played with it a la Charlie Chaplin, it’s a telescopic one, ooh! la! la! I still haven’t managed to insert it onto the bag.

Got my 4% discount as well. And 20% at the hairdresser after I did my Nana because of the conditions they were treating their staff Apparently hairdressers are very hard to get. Would not dare to put my name down – I did it once with dire consequences -:)

This afternoon, headed into town, with the bag (½ full)…just to get the feel of it . And arrived at the doors of the Presbitary. I had to use the door knock. I had not used one of those for years, so I made sure they heard it, It worked. The man Frederique opened the door and we proceeded upstairs in the dining room, no sooner were we upstairs that another bang on the door occurred and in came two pilgrims ready to settle in for the night, one of them was from Belgium, the other one from Portugal. Their French was better than mine. The Belgium had done the Camino once before and Frederique had also done it in bits and pieces, I have spoken with a few people as well and they do it in parts here and there, We spoke for a while-the Spanish part is very sought after – you can put it in in your CV and you might get a job with that in Spain. Gosh that will be my one and only certificate just about.
They also mentioned the snoring into the communal bedrooms – need to put cotton wool into your ears- I had read about that. The pilgrim from Belgium said that on several occasions, he spent the night sleeping outside.

Frederique then issued me with the “Creanciale of Saint-Jacques de Compostelle” – looked really nice – with the words ;”Viens et suis moi.” written at the bottom of it. I asked how much it was – 5 Euros – I was really surprised, I thought it would cost more than that.

I then left and walked back home, stopping at the bakery hoping to get the “pain aux raisins” I had the other day – it was so delicious with « fleur d’oranger » in it – I did not know they had “brioche aux raisins” as well, first time I saw them, they did not have any so I settled for the “coque” all encrusted with those little pieces of sugar, hum yam yam and I ate it during the walk.. I like doing that in France. It is really good.

At home, I went to say « hello » to the neighbours to inform them I’ll be leaving and asking them if they mind opening the windows when the men are ready to paint them and they said – Yes -. They invited me for a glass of Rose – They knew I was heading for San Rose – I drank it and enjoyed it.

Oh also, I worked something out on the computer, called Orange with the fixed phone to get some infos, waiting was reasonable and the staff were very helpful. Except that they could not help me, it was a matter for a technician in informatics… I was told to look it up onto the Yellow pages, so I did that and found one that lives just nearby. Explained my problem – he was able to understand – the last few days I was experiencing some funny writings with it , I thought I was re-inventing a new language or trying to – you see certain words were coming out as letters and the others as numbers – in a ration of ¾ in letters and the last ¼ in numbers. All I had to do was to hold on to the Fn key and then press onto the F11 NumLK. (thought I was going onto a trip on a plane for a while). So I was pretty pleased with that information. I thanked the man and put the phone down, then, I realized I forgot to tell him about the e-mail being inaccessible. Still was pretty pleased with that… which also made me think how come the Orange people were unable to tell me that . It is kind of strange – the more I thought about it – seemed pretty rudimentary stuff. Humm. Anyhow I am not complaining they were all very nice, I did my doodles whilst I was proceeding with the talking. I also did something else I did not think I could do – drawing a face – So it was a pretty good day.
Right now, I am going to bed because I am pretty tired.

I had a look at my itinerary. I have to go through Barcelona, with a stopover in Tarragona for 4 hours and I arrive in Pamplona at 19.30 pm. I leave at 7.30am – a 12 hours journey – 8 hours on the train and the other 4 in Tarragon. It is almost like flying from Australia to Dubai. Looking forward to that anyway. The Hotel I am staying is near the Arena – thinking about Ernest – I hope they won’t have the bulls out on that night… what with me and the bag on my back I’ll have to face the music like El Cordobes then.

I saw some really nice pictures of the Camino on another site. Also found a quote from Antonio Gaudi that I liked about Gothic.

“Gothic Art is imperfect, it means to solve, it is the style of the compass, the formula of industrial repetition. Its stability is based on the permanent propping of abutments, it is a defective body that holds with support…gothic works produce maximum emotion when they are mutilated, covered with ivy and illuminated by the moon.” Antoni Gaudi

And another one from him about the Laws of Nature.

“Those who look for the laws of Nature as a support for their works collaborate with the creator” Antoni Gaudi.

I think you cannot go wrong if you follow that advice.

Makes so much sense.

Before I left for my “Camino” , I decided to go for a complete check-up. So I had my eyes, teeth ,etc and went to see a podiatrist. I passed the tests with flying colours!

I left on the 15th of June. Got up at 4 am – got the wrong time – boarded the tram, no hassle – no strike –
It was on time. I was an hour earlier waiting at the Station, bought my sandwich and a drink from Paul’s Bakery. Train departed on schedule… Had to find my wagon first..

Control of tickets and customs were done in Narbonne, Cerbere and Port Bou.

-”J’ai passe la frontiere!”

Two Americans were talking in a very loud voice and had got the wrong seats, had to move into another wagon.

Saw Kevin Spacey with a little boy on TV(mute sound) called “Pay forward” Do something for people 2 pay forward 1,2,3.

I immediately started thinking about 3 things:

1. Meninos de Luz
2. Mental Illness
3. Breast Cancer Association Etincelle.

We are now approaching Barcelona. The train is going at a very slow pace.

The TV screen is now off. A little while ago, we could watch some seals, penguins, white, yellow, black, salmons going upstream.

Earlier on, going through Beziers, I took a picture. I went to boarding school there.

Beziers


The town has a lot of History.

The Canal du Midi – built by Pierre-Paul Riquet (born in Beziers) who used his own money to finance the Canal du Midi. The original work started in Saint Ferreol Reservoir ( the largest artificial reservoir in the world) Riquet’s idea was to connect the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean through Toulouse’s river, the Garonne who was already flowing onto the Atlantic – for commerce purposes. This is now part of the World Heritage and you can travel along its 240 kms for pleasure. More than 10,000 people help building the Canal and it took 14 years to complete it. Only 1 mile was left when Pierre-Paul Riquet died.

On the 22/07/1209 – The Crusader Army lead by Arnaud Amaury reached Beziers in Languedoc- where Cathars thrived.
Badly prepared, the town was taken. People took refuge in the church dedicated to Mary Magdelene. The church was set alight – all the 7,000 people died , not one survived –
The Occitan language is the language of Romance dating back to the X century. It was banned for centuries in France and is derived from Vulgar Latin. It was the Troubadours language and is related with the Catalan language, Romanian,Sanskrist and others.

Passing through Narbonne-I thought about you Dad and all those years you spent at boarding school – I still recall you telling me how your grandmother used to send you a food parcel every week and you were supposed to share it with your brother- however things did not turn out that way- the first one that got it ate the lot ! – What greedy pigs you were! This brought a smile to my face.:)
I also thought of Charles Trenet – his birth place – and his beautiful song “La Mer” “Beyond the Sea”.

Railways Station

My arrival in Tarragona was very “divertido” I thought I checked to see if everything was in order with my ongoing travel to Pamplona. What a surprise! I was told I had to go to another Railways Station situated at 11 kms from Tarragona. No one ever advised me of this. How do I get there then? “Go to the Bus Station”.
“Where is it?” Arriving at the Bus Station, I was told I have missed the bus and I had to wait until 15,30pm to take my train who was scheduled to leave at 16.12. I decided this did not leave me enough time – I hate being late – wrote a letter asking why there is no shuttle service linking those two railways and took a taxi instead…and hope that I will be re-imbursed for the inconvenience.:)

The Railways Station in Tarragona is State of the Arts – I am impressed – I went and vented my displeasure and was entitled to the Lounge, so I treated myself with a chocolate drink and a muffin.

The Railways Employee – who was French incidently – took me to the entrance where luggages have to be screened and showed me the way to go onto the quay.

Arriving in Pamplona, “mochilla” all secured onto my back, I got onto a bus and asked the bus driver to let me know when I had to get off. There were a few Pilgrims on it as well. So I got off and watched where the other “Peregrinos” where heading to. I knew it was not too far from the Hotel I was staying as I had checked the map prior to get onto the bus.

After checking-in, I went out, the receptionist lending me an umbrella as it was raining. Reached the Pamplona’s Plaza de Toros and saw the arena. Had a look around saw Ernst Hemingway’s statue in front of it and a pub on the other side of the street with his name on it. Took a walk around the area so as to get an idea of where the cathedral was situated for the next day.

Pamplona

Once this was finalized, I decided to go for a meal – a “tortilla con patatas con jamon y queso y tapas” sounded like a nice proposition to me – little did I know that this was going to be part of my daily staple during most of the Camino.

I woke up early the next day, not really knowing what I was going to do. I thought about staying in Pamplona and see how things would develop. I headed straight towards the Cathedral, I knew the “Ayutamiento de la M.N.M.L. y M..H. Ciudad de Pamplona” was around there. I met three young Spaniards from Valencia – Miguel-Angel, Carmen y Jimmy. Accompanying them was Fernando, a friend of a friend from the Police. When I heard the name Fernando , Abba came to my mind.
Miguel Angel, Fernando & Jimmy going to have their Credanciale stamped
Fernando walked with us until we were out of Pamplona at the start of the Camino, showing us the sights as we were going along. Thank you Fernando for all your help. My first miracle of the day.

Pamplona


Pamplona was founded by Pompaelo. The town was part of the Compostella’s pilgrims.
The Cathedral Metropolitana was drestroyed in 1390 by a fire and rebuilt in a Gothic Style.The Kings of Navarre were crowned there.

The aim being to reach Puente la Reyna at 3 oclock in the afternoon. Until 12 o’clock.I walked with Miguel-Angel, Carmen and Jimmy. Miguel-Angel was very attentive and waited for me when I started falling behind which was most of the time. He was also giving me tips on the way – for example, not walking in a straight line but like a snake – I did recall reading that in a magazine way back – They were walking very fast and I could not follow them. We ate and then they went their own way, they had taken a week holiday to do their walk.
Alto de Santa Maria de Erreniega
Alto de Santa Maria de Erreniega – Sierra del Perdon the highest peak (780 m) The sculpture « La via Lactea was done in 1996) representing a group of pilgrims.
A beautiful view of the Pyrenees and Pamplona can be seen from this point.

The landscape was beautiful, all green and dotted with flowers all along the way – poppies and margaritas – etc.

It started raining and the weather was very cold. I arrived in what I thought was Puente la Reina but in fact was Obanos. I was absolutely drenched as well as all the content of my “mochila” – credenciale included – my shoes weighing a “ton” with what appeared to be 3 inches mud all over.
My First night of the Camino in Obanos -

I was so tired, my shoulders were aching and I was soaking wet. What an experience! In the Albergue, I was given a set of clothes someone had left – a pair of trousers and a jumper – that I kept during the whole trip. It was such a big help and so kind of the man at the Albergue to help me. I went to have a shower, to wash my clothes and to clean my shoes with 3 inches mud on them outside in the garden, in the rain. In the meantime, the man took my clothes and tried to dry them. I had to leave them there – the weight would have been too much of a hindrance – He gave me a good tip about wet shoes . To put newspaper in them to dry them. I did and the next morning my shoes were dry and also gave me a plastic cover from my “Credenciale” and a military type looking poncho – I looked a sight in that –

I wanted to go to the shop to buy something to eat, I forgot that the shops did not open until 17.30.

The last thing I remember is lying onto the bed inside my sleeping-bag and falling asleep – I do recall someone putting a blanket over me – my guardian angel – and then … the next morning appeared.

This was my first 20kms or so of the Camino.

After my encounter with the rain, I made a promise – all my clothes, books, etc, were to go “under cover” – Plastic bags were the rules –

I have accumulated a few quotes on the Camino. They have been a part of my childhood. I used to write them in all kind of places and they were kind of a collectors’ items for me because I knew they were good for my soul.

I walked again in the rain. It was bitterly cold. The poncho was a good thing, however it made me perspired a lot. So I was soaked in perspiration and I did not like that.


I arrived at Villatuerta around 2 o’clock I had enough walking for the day so I decided to go into an Albergue that had advertised for massages.I was badly in need of one, believe me! So, I followed the sign and it led me there.

First thing I did was to book the massage. I only ever had a few in my life and I felt this one was fully deserved . I was sore all over again. I met Eifie from Ireland and Paola from Roma. Had my shower then did some washing. Washing during the Camino was one of my priorities as I hate carrying dirty clothes – even if they are packed in a plastic bag – seems to me that the “odor” emanating from it contaminates the whole “mochila”… just one of those “chilly” idea of mine I guess.
The owner and his wife gave me a good recipe for sore feet. Soak them in hot or cold water with some salt and vinegar. I did that, it relieved the pain a bit, but not enough.

Paola, Eifie and I then went to lie on a hamac.

The massage, I was told would be done by a man, I expected it would have been a woman, don’t ask me why. Anyhow, I am here, lying in my underwear, showing off my pretty toenails. The procedure is starting. After the oiling bits, I am waiting for the miracle to unveil. The masseur is telling me that my feet are very tender and I have to take it easy – I should only do 5 to 10 kms to-morrow – He also mentioned my tibia who was really sore saying that it means I have to forgive myself.Hum! Some truth there.

Then onto the back, I turned over in a hurry, find myself caught in between the hole in the massage table and facing the ground when my eyes are open. Suddenly, I hear a moan and a rave and some ranting – goodness gracious what is this all about? My eyes are rolling over as the sound amplifies, I am then squinting,. What ever is this? Could I have that effect on a man? WOW! I don’t really know what to think – should I cry or start laughing – This continue for a while, each stroke being accompanied by a rather loud seductive sound, that gets louder and louder. Heavens above! Is this real? I have been out of the routine for too long I think POW! WOW! WOW ! Yes, … sure it must be Me, I know now, I am convinced that I have that effect on people. Any minute a catastrophe is looming… and I’ll have to call the Emergency 🙂 Anyhow, it came to an end… I don’t know why? Chilly me! He then gave me kiss on the third eye. Oh! La !La! I knew Eiffie was next on the line… I could not wait for her impressions on that.

So, after she came out I asked her ”How did you go?” We looked at each other and started laughing our heads off. The same thing happened to her…I was then re-assured – it was part of the show!-:)

On that night, Paola did some cooking for us – spaghetti with tomatoes, olive oil and herbs – So succulent! She put some olive oil, garlic and pieces of tomatoes onto the bread as well. Effie from Dublin – an English teacher – had bought a bottle of wine. I had a glass and thoroughly enjoyed my meal. Considering I had not eaten the night before… this was most welcome. Went to bed around 9.30pm.

The next morning Paola put some of her bread for me to take on the “trip” and I had the leftovers from the night before for breakfast as well.!How thoughtful of her! I certainly appreciated it. The miracle for the day started early. I spoke with Rosa Mary from Mexico for a while and we exchanged e-mails – mine is still not working since I left –
Pilgrim's bridge Estella on the Ega River
Pilgrim’s bridge Estella on the Ega River. »Estella » means star. Lizarra in Basque. Sometimes named « Chemin des Etoiles »

It was 9 o’clock. I was told to take it easy and not walk too much. Arrived at Estella, felt OK, so decided to head a bit further. Had a stopover at a fuel-station. Why? I don’t know. I guess it was on the way, asked for a coke – my first one – and a sandwich and started reading the People’s Magazines for a wee while and for a change of “ambiance”. It took me straight out of the Camino’s frame.
I was surprised to see that people were still smoking in the lunch area.

Walked across the street, following the signs. Met with Massimo from Burgos and continued part of the Camino with him until the Monastery at Irache. I tasted the wine at the fountain, then he proceeded to go ahead on his own, I met him again later at one of the Albergue.

Monastary - Fuente del Vino in Irache


Irache


Massimo at « Fuente del Vino » in Irache
The Roman church is from the XII century.

The view along the Camino was fabulous, going up and down the hills, with lots of wild flowers along the way. It was an opportunity to reflect. I took it all in, camera handy.

Before reaching Villamayor de Monjardin, Keegan passed me, a young Australian of 29 years old who had traveled for the last 15 months and lived in South America. We picked up some cherries hanging on the side of the road and ate them on the way. I had an interesting conversation with him about his views on the world. He continued on further. Passing the first Albergue – there were two – I saw Massimo. The one I am staying is owned by Deutsch people. We can have dinner and breakfast there – Suits me fine, I won’t have to walk any further – Met with Simona (a lawyer from Italy) and Laura from Valencia, an English and German teacher). They are only walking for a couple of weeks due to work commitment and short holidays.

Keagan


Have done some hand-washing – no washing machine – they have a funny spinner machine though and put my clothes on the line as everything is soaking wet every time I reached destination.

There is a Deutsch girl (a psychologist) who is helping in the Albergue in Villamayor de Monjardin, a small village.In front of the Albergue is a playground and I am watching the children playing and taking turns going up and down the slide. There is a statue next to the playground of a man who used to own the castle perched high above the village – now in ruins –

Laura was telling me that she was reading the commentaries in Spanish and the Spaniards were not pleased about the way they had been treated . They had been asked to go to the other Albergue who was owned by Spaniards. She had a drink at the local café and heard the locals complaining that none of them spoke Spanish and were not very friendly. They were fine by me.

Dinner consisted of a dish with tuna, asparagus, tomatoes and lots of lettuce, then chicken with rice , peaches, capsicum and herbs and a yoghurt.

Got up at six for breakfast with Simona and Laora and headed down for Los Arcos. Arrived early , so decided to keep going until Sansol. Stopped for lunch. Sunshine was out for the first time since arrival whilst I was walking . The weather seems to take a turn for the better or worse at no specific time I had noticed.

It was very early, so once again I went towards Torre del Rio, direction Viana – the longest 10 kms ever – felt more like 100 kms, there was nothing at all – no water – Met some people from Tenerife in Sansol and met them again – they gave me some water – I was dying of thirst – Alongside the road was mixed with olive trees and vineyards.

In Viana, I headed straight to the first place I saw – The Pujadas Albergue – also known as the “Palacio de Pujadas” Hotel. In front of me was a woman who was apologizing for her bad Spanish. Reminded me of me a few years ago. This time no good Spanish or not, I just said what I had to say and headed straight for the lift. I realized it was also the first time I booked myself in to a Hotel on my own without feeling guilty. Hee! Ha! I had to celebrate, so I did open a can of Coke and a Schweppes from the bar and pretended I was Nicole doing her add for Schweppes…I then noticed how smelly I was. Definitively ..time to have a bath… what a luxury!
I had to call the receptionist to ask how to put the Light on.though…”With the card” she replied. » Hum! »
I soon fell asleep. Woke up a few times. It was too late to have my clothes washed. I called my neighbours in France to see how they were going as I had not been able to contact them because a) I don’t know how to operate that silly thing called a “mobile” and b) most of the time there was no “reseau” – a good excuse –
I woke up the next day at 7am, sore but feeling refreshed. Put the TV on, it was upside down. I had to take a picture of that. I had never seen anything of the sort. It was working OK the night before???

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