September 11, 2016: We leave the quaint little town of Ages, Spain with anticipation of reaching the large town of Burgos along with a little dread. The last stretch will be along busy roads, but we continue to simply follow the yellow arrows.
This is Randy’s last day of hiking the Camino as he will be returning to the life of a farmer in Minnesota. Harvest awaits…
September 10, 2016: Belorado to Ages ~ 28 kilometersOver-achievers today as we go a few kilometers past the elevation map above.
We find beds in the Ages Municipal Albergue and wander the streets exploring the village.While exploring Ages we stumble upon a small museum of miniatures that Marcial Palacios creates of regional sites, as well as historical methods of labor in the village and on the farm. The passion that Marcial puts into his works and animated explanation of each miniature is interesting as I try to comprehend with my limited Spanish skills along with gestures. Best salesman ever as we purchase a small, lightweight toy.Junk sculptures line stone fences and fill the yards of this unique street in Ages. I couldn’t find info about these displays so your guess is as good as mine.Shout out and buen camino to Jim and MaryAnne Leas of leascomadventures.com.
This morning finds us departing in the dark hoping to find available beds in Santo Domingo. We are meeting more Camino friends as we trudge along and cherish these conversations and chance encounters. You know who you are!!! We look forward to and enjoy the e-mails updating us on their Camino journeys and life in general.
Best welcoming committee on the Camino with wine in a jug, tapas and friendly staff at the Santo Domingo de la Calzada albergue operated by the Spanish Confraternity. Nice backyard area with outdoor laundry facilities, kitchen and spacious lounge/dining area. A bonus is that many of the pilgrims we have encountered along the way are staying here.
Apparently, English and German-speaking pilgrims need rules, so we make good use of the wonderful laundry facilities in the backyard. Randy is extremely impressed with Julio’s Scrubba Portable laundry bag (Click on link).
Our Irish hospitalera enjoys friendly conversation with Randy and leaves him with a bro hug. A tour of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada includes viewing a live rooster and hen. A gothic henhouse was built during 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. Click on this link: Hen and the Rooster Miracle for the full story behind this live display. I was told they switch out the fowl every 14 days, so I’m guessing chicken soup is on the menu every couple of weeks.After wandering down our street we pathetically gaze inside a restaurant at 6 p.m. and inquire as to evening meal service. 7:30 p.m. is the meal time and our sad, hungry faces must appeal to the gentleman’s heart-strings as he pauses and decides to make an exception. He rushes around and quickly sets a table for us. The best paella EVER!!!The Irish hospitaleras invited us to a prayer service in the basement of the albergue, so this early meal time means we return in time to attend. Hard to stay awake, but glad we participated since we need all the help we can get. Bonus is this piece of artwork on the wall of the prayer room.
September 7, 2016: Scroll down for a short video of the day.
We stock up on water and food because for the next few hours of the journey we will not have much for shops until the town of Navarrete 13 km away. This will be a thirty kilometer day, so we get an early start to beat some of the heat.Randy finds a little store in Navarette with everything under the sun crammed inside and he needs a bandana to protect his ears and neck from the scorching sun. Hanging around the counter, he takes forever to make a decision… could it be the posters below the counter that distract him? (Click on the image for a larger viewing window.) Plump grapes are plentiful and tempting as we pass through numerous vineyards and hear recordings of birds in distress and canon explosions to keep birds away from the ripened fruit. We have seen many small tractors with spray tanks behind heading out to the vineyards. No wonder there are no flies or bugs of any kind on the grapes. It’s not very healthy to be eating unwashed grapes that have been in contact with a pesticide besides the fact that it would be stealing. Enough said.Interesting “bee hive” hut along the trail would provide shelter, if necessary. It appears to be of modern construction and quite messy inside from garbage left by people. The mom in me wants to lecture… Pick up after yourselves!Randy and Joan are strategizing in the cute little Vino y Camino apartment that Joan found in Najera. We are in heaven with kitchen facilities, washer/dryer provided, our own bathroom/shower and they even provided us with a bottle of delicious red wine. (Hence, the name.) All in all a good value.
September 6, 2016: Scroll down for a short video with some Creedence Clearwater Revival plus proof that Joan can still stop traffic!
As you can see by the elevation map, we start the day with a hill work-out while the rest of the day appears to level out a little. However, the heat continues to sap our energy as we plod down the path.
We meet a friendly, interesting young man named Julio from California sitting by the side of the road switching out socks due to blisters. Conversations flow throughout the day about observations and plans while on the Camino, as well as life, taking our minds off the heat. We often wonder about the rest of his journey to Santiago as we lose track due to a different pace as we do with many people we meet. A good lesson learned: Live in the moment and make the best of it while you can.
We also meet a new friend, Julius, today and have been in touch with this talented photographer/animation artist from Poland living in Dublin. It was great to talk about photography with someone who understands me. Graffiti in the tunnels plus the shade provide a little respite from the heat.
We find beds tonight in the Apostol Hostel in Logrono with a familiar scene on the wall of our room. I don’t think this means I can cross the Statue of Liberty off of my Bucket List.
We take our time getting started since I (Joyce) added kilometers in my head incorrectly and we have a short day of only about 8 kilometers. It’s tricky finding beds these days even though it’s beyond the summer rush. It’s still unseasonably hot and challenging to beat the speedier Pilgrims for the Municipal beds in Viana while Logrono would be a long haul in this heat. We need an easy day anyway, right? Divine intervention, for sure.Oh, well… on the plus side we stayed in a small apartment last night that was very nice and we even heated up paella from the grocery store in our cute little kitchen. Not bad at all and easy on the budget.
Survival of the fittest in arid, dry conditions; snails crawl up a live plant stem to obtain moisture. Hey!! It’s the brother/sister pair from Israel! We last saw them in Estella.
What? We are here already? Cross the river right after leaving Sansol and we find our home for tonight at the San Andres Hostel.
This village is best known for its 12th century church, Iglesia de Santo sepulchre (Church of the Holy Sepulchre) linked with the Knights Templar and based on the octagonal church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The cupola with its cross-ribbed vault forming an 8 sided star, is particularly notable and emblematic of the Knights. ~ Brierley guidebook (Its locked so are unable to tour the interior.)
Time for the Pilgrim Menu and we are lucky enough to share a table with a delightful couple from Italy. Thanks to Google Translate we are able to communicate, but I think their smiles say it all… Chow!