Our typical days are getting up at 6-6:30am, breakfast at 7 and heading out in darkness 7-8. We like to walk 4-6 miles before stopping for another breakfast as the breakfast fare at our lodgings is fairly meager with minimal fruit, cereals, maybe yogurt with lots of bread, ham and cheese. Jim likes a Spanish staple of toast with crushed tomatoes and olive oil. We then walk another 6 miles before stopping again for a bocadillo which is a top and bottom of a baguette with ham, cheese, tomatoes or tuna. We will also have a beer sin alcohol which is always ice cold and so refreshing. We try and finish our walking from 1-3, check in to our lodgings and then either have an early dinner or shower first and have a later meal. Bedtime is often before 9pm.
We have to remember to start our Apple watches in hiking mode as it keeps track of the miles, altitude gain and heart rate.
This street was covered with trash, the detritus of an all night party which is very common on weekends in Spain.. It is Sunday morning.
Rock formations arising from the edge of Najera.
The streets at this end of town were immaculately clean.
Heading out before sunrise.
A familiar site, all the pilgrims heading out early.
581 Kilometers to go.
Sandy wrote the “never” but we will see.
Pretty long and boring at times.
The Meseta is a high central plateau in Spain. It begins just after Burgos and ends in Astorga. The Camino Frances travels through the Northern point of the Meseta for about 220 km. It is renowned for it’s long stages, empty landscape, and big skies. It can be mesmerizing and mystical.
All the fields of grain have been harvested.
We hate it when pilgrims walk abreast and block the path for others to pass.
The first glimpse of the town of our night’s destination is so rewarding however the last few miles always seem endless.
This sculpture represents the figure of Santo Dominic inside the pillar of a bridge as in the 11th century he built a bridge over the river Oja so that the pilgrims could cross it more easily.
Cathedral of Santa Domingo de la Calzada
This is our rustic abode for the night El Molino de Floren which is a former water mill which has been restored and turned into an inn.
14 miles for the day, about our average. We like to arrive before 3pm.
Cathedral Tower at dusk.
Dinner in a Michelin rated restaurant.
Cathedral Tower at dawn as we were leaving.
Chris Armstrong, a lawyer from Maryland who we have seen a couple times at breakfast. We walked out together this morning and he and Sandy walked together for quite a while.
Sandy enjoyed a fast pace with Chris for about 7 miles
Jim takes all the pictures once Sandy gets to talking with other pilgrims. She just loves meeting other pilgrims and exchanging stories.
Jim finally caught up with Sandy when she stopped at this cafe about 5 miles down the road.
David and Roseanna from Atlanta. We have walked with them and shared a few meals.
Monastery of San Juan in Granon
Granon is located in the extreme northwest of La Rioja, on the border of Burgos
This gentleman was not a pilgrim but maybe should be.
We met and befriended Baxter Wynn at breakfast in Najera. He was speaking with a Southern drawl and Jim asked where he was from. He said Greenville, South Carolina and we discovered we had two couples who were mutual friends. We walked several miles over a few days with him and had a few meals and beers, until he went ahead of us. We have kept in contact and he has given us great advice as to what to expect on our walks behind him and advice as to how to tackle it.
Arriving in Viloria de Rioja
The last few miles always seem to drag on forever, especially when they look like this with a busy road to the right.
Finally we have arrived in Belorado.
Our Hotel Rural in Belorado.
Stats for another day. The elapsed time includes all of our stops which are usually 20-30 minutes.
A typical rustic room.
There are so many places on this pilgrimage to leave things behind. We have decided to cut up Jim’s UnderArmour that he has worn on three Caminos. We can tie the strips to crosses and shrines along the way.
The Parrish church in Belorado.
Lots of street art in this town of 2,100 people.
This is an Albergue that Jim returned to at 7pm for dinner.
The albergues typically have everybody remove their shoes before entering. Albergues are low priced or donation group housing for pilgrims. Shared sleeping quarters and bathrooms. Jim stayed in albergues when he walked with our daughter Emily in 2015.
Church with a lighted yellow arrow when Jim returned from dinner. We had a reservation for two at dinner but since Sandy didn’t go a couple without reservations was able to join Jim. They were originally from South Africa but had moved to Perth many years ago. Over the course of the Camino we ran into them many times and became friends with them. Their names were Ronnie (Veronica) and Brad.