30 kms … 18 miles, Sunny, hot with a little rain.
Since today was going to be long day, we decided to leave early. So, we headed out right at sunrise. It was beautiful, another favorite of mine, starting at sunrise or just before. I love watching the Earth wake up!
Since we stopped early yesterday, when we started this morning, it was quiet. Not many pilgrims because we were out of the normal pattern. Most pilgrims follow the guide book and they had walked to Najera. So, we were a little behind the morning crowd.
We were able to watch the sunrise, enjoy the early morning breeze and enjoy each other’s company. We had planned on walking to Najera before we stopped for a mid-morning breakfast. This was 12 kms (8 miles) out.
Just to give you an idea, we left the hostel around 6:30. After our light breakfast, we started the day. Hoping to make it to Najera around 9:30.
We arrived in Najera at the perfect time, the sun was starting to warm up and our bodies were needing fuel. Time for something good! Guess what it was? … Tortilla and Café con leche! It’s good every time.
After our restroom break and refilling water bottles, I grabbed an Aquarius and a Snickers for the road. Our next break would be in Azofra. We always looked at the map while we rested to see how far to the next break. It helps to break the day up instead of looking at the complete day. So only 6 kms (4 miles) to our next break! Let’s do this.
As we left Najera you could feel the sun was getting hotter. It was now 10:00. The next section was pretty flat with vineyards and you guessed it wheat fields have returned. We strolled along the dirt paths, walking together in pairs or walking alone.
I was walking with Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. She shared her story with me. And it was a lot like mine. She had been betrayed and hurt. So much pain in this world. As we walked, we both shared the pain and we both listened to each other. It was nice to be someone who understood, yet at the same time, I was praying to God just asking for healing to come down on this world.
So much pain! Yet this pain is caused by us. Humans. Why do we hurt others? Why can’t we all just get along? Please Lord, heal this land. Heal people, allow love to shine.
I know there is a lot of good people in this world. But there is also a lot of hurt people in this world. People trying to make it in this thing we call life. Lord, please be with these people. Heal the pain in people’s hearts. I started to feel the pain of others and it made me start to cry. I felt the pain. Not my pain, but I felt Jesus’ heart aching. Aching for us to love each other. At this time, I realized that I had walked away from Marcia and was alone in front of the group. I took a moment and then returned and Marcia and I kept going.
We arrived in Azofra. Quick restroom and sitting break but we still had a lot of path ahead of us. Our next stop would be Ciruena, 8 kms away. These kms would be going uphill, it was a good incline. We didn’t want to waste too much time, we needed to get on the road.
I just remember being hot, it was dry and hot. We had filled up our water and got our snacks. Marcia and I kept walking together for a while and then we changed walking partners. It’s funny how that would happen. You might be walking with someone and then all of a sudden you would be walking with someone else. Again, we were a good team. You never cared who was walking with who or even if you were alone. We just respected each other and each other’s time.
After hours of walking, we arrived into Ciruena. I was so happy to see the café. Another joke on the Camino, the little red chairs outside of the café’s make you smile because you know you have arrived.
A few days back, we were taking a break at 9:30 and my German couple friend hands me a Cerveza and says try this. I figured this is normal at 9:30am! Haha. I took a sip of his cerveza (before COVID times were so different) and he said, “what do you think?” It was delicious. I am now hooked on Cerveza con Lemon! It has become my late afternoon drink when I know we have only a little bit left for the day. It’s so refreshing on a hot day!
So, you guessed it, this was one of those moments. It was 2:00 the sun was hot and we were tired, we had 6 kms left after this stop.
Cerveza con Lemon, please!
We sat out in front of this golf course café and relaxed in the shade. I removed my shoes and the lush green grass felt so good on my feet. It was cool and refreshing. I think some of us actually sat and laid in the grass. The little things that bring you joy!
As we left the café, we made our way through Ciruena. It was a small town, if you blinked you might have missed it. Just houses and some apartments. It was a little hilly, but once we made it through town it was all downhill into Santo Domingo de la Calzada.
The Hostel: Albergue Santo Domingo de la Calzada, 217 beds, 9 euros
Tonight, was our night to cook. We arrived into town around 4. So, you know what happened next, shower, wash clothes and head out to the grocery store to get supplies for dinner and breakfast. Cale and I decided on the Creole Cabbage dish.
When we arrived to town, I was telling everyone about the really cool miracle story that happened in this town. At the cathedral they have a live rooster and hen in a cage. Below is a picture of some roosters and hens in a cage behind our hostel next to the cathedral. This isn’t the original cage, but roosters and hens are everywhere in town. Souvenirs, pictures and even cookie shaped roosters. This legend is pretty neat.
Legend has it that a German family was traveling to Santiago on the pilgrimage route. They stopped in this town and rested at an Inn. Their son was with them and the innkeeper’s daughter fell in love with him. He did not feel the same way and she was heartbroken. So, she placed a silver cup in his pocket and when they were leaving, she accused him of stealing. He was hung.
The parents were so upset, they prayed to Santo Domingo. They then carried on with their pilgrimage. After making their way to Santiago, they were on their way back home and came back through Santo Domingo. (Imagine that! they walked to Santiago and then had to walk home)
When they returned, their son was still hanging in the square. They approached him and he spoke to them. They were amazed and went to tell the Mayor who was eating a feast at his house. When they said this to him, the Mayor replied, “That boy is as alive as these two roast chickens we are about to eat,” and suddenly, the chickens came to life, sprouted feathers and beaks and began to crow, and so, to this day there is a saying about the town which goes: “Santo Domingo of the Way, where the roosters crow after being roasted”.
The Henhouse, which was built in the middle of the XVTH century to keep alive a hen and a rooster in memory of the most famous of Santo Domingo’s miracles.
We really enjoyed this hostel. Of course, we saw all of our Camino friends and the hostel had a huge dining room so everyone just hung out and talked. We played card games, of course, and really enjoyed ourselves. There was a group from Japan and they were making Sashimi. I learned this quickly as I approached them and said “oh, you are making sushi!” They all looked up and so “No! Sashimi!”
It was now time to eat! Our Creole Cabbage dish was ready. When you are cooking in a hostel, you have to share the kitchen with everyone. So you are working around everyone else. But everyone is so good about sharing things and not using things too long.
Our Creole Cabbage is: boiled cabbage with bacon, onions, and red pepper (they didn’t sell Cajun seasoning in Spain) served over rice. We had to adapt the recipe for what we could find. Of course, at home we add a few other things. Anyway, when we placed the dish in front of Minh, he was so happy. He said very loudly because he was excited, “Oh, rice! This makes me happy!” then he proceeded to get teary eyed. It was so sweet. This was the beginning of many dinners served with rice.
We have now walked 9 days and I have a full page of stamps!
Monday, May 21st … 30 kms … 18 miles … Sunny, hot with a light rain.
“If one completes the journey to one’s own heart, one will find oneself in the heart of everyone else.” ~ Father Thomas Keating
(normally I read my quotes and journal in the morning, but today we left early and I didn’t read this quote until I started to write. I love how what is happening in the day, goes perfectly with the reflections and quotes in my journal. So glad I have this with me.)
Today was a long day, my feet were sore. My toe is still going numb at night, but in the morning all is well. Other than that, no problems, no blisters, no injuries. Thank you, Jesus!
It was sunny for most of the day, one little drizzle, enough to cover the bag, but nice because it cooled us off. Clouds came in the late afternoon which helped cool it off a little.
I walked most the day with Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. She shared her story with me and believe it or not it was similar to mine. So many people have been betrayed and hurt. Each of us have our own pain. So important to show compassion to others. Be a Jesus to others.
As I walked I had a very intimate moment with God. Feeling the pain of others, feeling the ache in Jesus’ heart.
This part of the Camino is tough. It was a very physical day. It’s weird because I have walked 15 days along the Camino from Leon to Santiago and it wasn’t this hard. These first 9 days have been tough. But I love it and I can’t wait to do it again. I know I will!
As I was talking today, I said this, “you find yourself when you surround yourself with others. You don’t necessarily need alone time but just time.”