A Travellerspoint blog

March 2018

Day 12, Atapuerca


View Deb's Camino de Santiago de Compostela on Deb Godley's travel map.

Louie and I left Villambistia in an on-again off-again drizzle at about 6:40 am with the plan to walk to Atapuerca. This is a UNESCO site of prehistoric caves. During the communal dinner last night everyone talked about this site, so we all made plans to walk here, about 22 km.

The walking was made difficult by the cold and the lack of services along the way. Yoko user her bike only as a pack-mule and didn't ride it. Yoko is on her 14th month of traveling.

We also passed an Oasis for Pilgrims which had picnic tables and a guitarist monument.

There were bathrooms in San Juan de Ortega, but the only food was sweet - chocolate croissants and such. While I like them, I can only eat so many and I was very hungry for real food by the time we arrived in Atapuerca at 12:30. I didn't like the look of the parochial albergue, where Louie decided to stay, bit am very pleased with the municipal one - very clean and sufficient showers (Louie tells me that his albergue has only one working toilet/shower for 16 people).

I had some beer and pizza and snacks, so hopefully that will last me til morning.

Gabby has made reservations on the bus for us to visit the archeological site/museum so we will be heading there in about 30 minutes at 4:30.) The tour was entirely in Spanish, but Suzanna interpreted the important points for me. Evidence of human habitation, tool usage, cannibalism and such were found here in cave dwellings, some dated 1.5 million years ago, which is much earlier than was originally thought for humans in Europe.

Whenever Suzanne got lost in a very long translation or technical words, she just said "a part of the cave", then "another part of the cave", until we were giggling together.

Not a lot to see, but somewhat interesting and hanging out with Suzanna, Gabby and Hug (like Hugo, but without the "o" and not pronouncing the "h") made for a fun excursion. Bonus - my ticket is also good for the museum in Burgos.

We returned to the pick up spot in Atapuerco at 7 and I had a light dinner in the bar while the others had a drink. Louie, Suzanne and Gabby went to a restaurant that didn't open til 8 - a bit too late for me.

I've arranged to meet with Louie at 6:30 am for the walk to Burgos tomorrow (20 km), after which he returns home, as will Suzanne and Gabby.

It's now 8:30 and I'm in my habitacion in PJs planning to read for an hour or so before bed.

Burgos tomorrow.

Guitarist monument

Guitarist monument

Archeological site

Archeological site

Sylvie and Alfrede in San Juan de Ortega

Sylvie and Alfrede in San Juan de Ortega

Yoko pushing her bike

Yoko pushing her bike

Suzanne, Gabby and I

Suzanne, Gabby and I

Me, Hug, Suzanna, Gabby

Me, Hug, Suzanna, Gabby

Posted by Deb Godley 15:52 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Day 11, Villambístia


View Deb's Camino de Santiago de Compostela on Deb Godley's travel map.

I left at 6:45 this morning with a plan to stop after about 2 hrs for a break, but it was still too early and nothing was open yet. So I was a bit desperate by the time I found this very nice restaurant open for a much-needed pee & food break in Belorado.

I've eaten a piece of tortilla, which is a cross between quiche and an omelette with potatoes. And a open-faced sandwich with ham, feta and onion jam. And a lemon pop to drink. Louie has joined me for the break and food.

Along the street through Belorado, there were these stones periodically, which appear to be famous Spaniards. Louie recognized one name as a cyclist, I think some were Olympians. This photo is of an archaeologist.

Louie & I originally planned to stop in Tosantos, but arriving at 11:30, it would not open for another 1.5 hrs, so we carried on to Villambístia. We knew there would be space for us because our new Spanish friends, Suzanne & Gabriel (Gabby) called ahead to be sure. Gabby's feet are very sore so he didn't want to risk going further without certainty of a bed.

No problem as we were the first to arrive in this 12-bed albergue. Very nice and clean, good facilities (hot water, once she remembered to turn it on). And a great restaurant downstairs, which bodes well for the communal dinner at 7. It's also the only place to eat in this town with only a population of 50.

I've showered, washed my clothes, and eaten a good lunch omelette with fresh orange juice and a small piece of dark chocolate. Now it's 3 pm and I am sitting on a shady, but uncomfortable bench (no back support) writing this.

I have until 7 for dinner, and most everyone is napping. I have already walked all over the small town, so I think I might find somewhere comfortable to continue reading my book - X, by Sue Grafton.

Everyone seems to have water bottles on their lawn. I'm not sure the purpose of this.

Stone in Belorado

Stone in Belorado

Sign at the border

Sign at the border

Sunflowers and my shadow

Sunflowers and my shadow

Church at Villamajor del Rio

Church at Villamajor del Rio

Beautiful view

Beautiful view

Selfies are improving

Selfies are improving

Water bottles on lawn

Water bottles on lawn

Posted by Deb Godley 15:47 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Day 10, Grañón


View Deb's Camino de Santiago de Compostela on Deb Godley's travel map.

I started at 6:30 this morning. It's quite cool so far, but starting to warm up now, two hours later.

I'm sitting in a restaurant at the local golf course in Ciruena. Another beautiful sunning day - perfect for golf! I've discretely taken off my shoes, thinking that was not usual behavior for the golf set.

I realized this morning that I must have left my soap in the shower yesterday and it was gone this morning. I'll have to buy something in Santo Domingo de Calzada, if I see a store. I am disappointed because I had special camp soap that was good for clothes washing as well as showering. I will probably have to find two different products now.

On the way to Granon today, I stopped Santo Domingo de la Calzada and spent about an hour on the cathedral/museum and also climbed the bell tower.

Also in Santo Domingo I want to visit the church to see the chickens related to the miracle attributed here. I presume they are not the same medieval fowl, but the church likes to keep the story alive. The story is about a miracle purportedly performed by the Saint.

A young lad was unjustly hanged, unbeknownst to his parents on the way to Santiago. On their return trip, the parents saw their son still hanging several days later, but still alive. They rushed to the Sheriff's home, where he was sitting down to a chicken dinner and announced that their sob was still alive. The sheriff said that he was no more alive than the chicken on his plate, upon which, the chicken flew up from the table. The sheriff saw this as a miracle and ran to cut down the boy, who was alive, and gave him a full pardon. As a result of this miracle, the church has two live chickens in a cage within the church, during visiting hours, presumably not the same ones from medieval times.

In the picture, the yellow smudge is the chickens. I could see them moving around, but
they are well above eye level, presumably for their protection.

I seem to be traveling at about the same daily pace as Louie from the Netherlands and Sylvie/Alfredo from France, but we only see each other in the evenings as our walking paces, breaks and starting times differ.

I arrived in Granon to find few choices for bed. One hostel has only mats on the floor, a second was full, and the third has 12 or so beds, but only one bathroom. There was a long line for the shower/toilet. I didn't think much of it, so I went looking for alternatives. I've ended up splurging on a private room with a bathroom in a hotel with a kitchen and washer, which I appear to have all to myself. At 50€ it is probably not surprising.

I am happy to have showered (a nice long shower where I didn't have to worry about my clothes getting wet or my wallet and stuff while in the shower, or about who was waiting in line). I've washed my clothes and hung them to dry - I can't believe how long it took to wash; I must have pressed the wrong buttons, but anyway it is done now.

Even with the splurge hotel today, I am still within the budget I set, so that's OK. Albergues are usually 10€ or less and food/drink is only about 20-25€ per day.

I'll have to find some soap tomorrow as the stores are pretty much all closed today, being Sunday. I was able to find some fruit, yogurt and bread and sardines, which will do for dinner. My only other choice is to crash the 8pm dinner at the albergue, but it's too late for me.

It's very hot out, but my hotel room is very cool. There's also a small patio, obviously for smokers and for hanging laundry. The bars are closed so everyone seems to be in their own places now. It's unusually quiet.

I'm going to walk over to the church and see what time mass is. If I have sufficiently dry, appropriate-for-church clothes to wear, I'll attend. There's not much town to walk around in, but I'll see what I can see.

Not a very eventful day, but I had a few chats with fellow pilgrims along the way and here in Granon. I really liked being able to climb the bell tower today.

I missed seeing Jaime in Santo Domingo by about an hour. He twisted his ankle, so he's pretty miserable and doesn't know if he can walk tomorrow. He sent me a picture of himself feeling miserable.

I'll walk to Tosantos tomorrow - only about 20 km. Only 555 km to Santiago.

View-from-the-bell-tower

View-from-the-bell-tower

Chicken's Home

Chicken's Home

Cool pilgrim sculpture

Cool pilgrim sculpture

Climbing the bell tower

Climbing the bell tower

A typical fuente fountain

A typical fuente fountain

Streets of Granon

Streets of Granon

Posted by Deb Godley 15:41 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Day 9, Azofra


View Deb's Camino de Santiago de Compostela on Deb Godley's travel map.

The albergues seem to have either a plug next to every bed or a large central extension cord. I am keeping the headlight and the phone charged all the time. Almost never below 50%. I'm having to use the phone this morning because they must shut off their internet at night.

I'm off a bit later this morning as I decided to sleep in a bit. Since I was alone in the room, I saw it as a unique opportunity to not have an alarm going off at 4:20, as someone's did yesterday morning. I woke up at and then dozed a bit more and finally started packing up my stuff at 6:00.

Its now 6:40 and I've eaten the toast and yogurt. I have some meat, cheese and bread & fruit for later. No services for 17 km. This may be the first time I have to pee outside.

I did not set my alarm last night and enjoyed the quiet of a room completely to myself. The other couple, who had their own room, had left by the time I was up at 6am, so I had the luxury of not worrying about making noise or turning on lights.

After a quick breakfast snack, I headed out, not seeing anyone for the first hour. Then I met Jaime (J pronounced as an H) and we walked together to Najera, stopping for a picnic in a hay field where we shared the food we had.

We enjoyed each other's company and hope to join up again at some point. He stayed in Najera and I continued on, each of us on our own schedules, but promising to keep in touch. Jaime treated me to a cerveza in Najera before finding his albergue for the night.

As I was walking alone this morning I was thinking that it was an interesting feeling to have no real commitments or requirements, but just walking from one way marker to the next.

As you walk along, the yellow arrows are very comforting, such that there is a feeling of unease after any distance without an arrow, even if there is no other way to have gone since the last, it is still a small relief to me each time when I see one. It is like encouragement or a validation - I am on the right path; I am not really alone; many others came by here and many more will pass.

There is also regular encouragement in the form of "Buen Camino" from every one you pass or who passes you. All in all, a very satisfying experience.

I am sitting at a table of the Bar Sevilla in Azorfa having a bocadillo (bacon, cheese and tomato sandwich) and lemonade. I keep changing seats to try and mostly stay out of the sun.

I am still doing very well with no feet or other problems. The change to the new insoles after my practice walks was very wise. I brought the other ones with me in case these didn't turn out well, but I think I will leave them behind.

I am also very happy with my new shirt & "skirt" for the after-walking wear.

In 5 nights I will already be in Burgos and, I think, will be ready for the rest day and chance to explore the city, especially the cathedral.

There is a botanical garden here in Azofra that I may go and explore this afternoon. I see ads for it everywhere, but I don't know how close it is. Of course it is closed from 2 to 5pm, like almost everything.

It's 2:30, so with not much open, I will do a bit of hand laundry and then go out later. There's also a small foot pool for soaking the feet at the albergue, but it was too much in the hot sun earlier. I will see if there's any shade as the day wears on.

I am very careful with my feet, especially seeing other people's foot issues. Jaime only stopped in Navarrete last night because his blisters were so bad. He had his whole heel taped up to walk today. He said he only bought his shoes a day or so ahead. He was wearing sandals today.

For me it is working well to stick with the shoes and thicker socks during the day and then switch to the sandals after arriving and leaving my pack at the albergue. I take the shoes off at least once during the day - usually when having a snack and a beer along the way. It's working so far so I won't change it. I have to remember to clip my nails tonight, though.

The Albergue here in Azorfa has 60 beds but only 2 beds per room, so I don't know if I will be sharing or not, but for the moment I have my own room again.

Now that my phone is charged, I'm going to put my feet in the pool for a few minutes.

A big group of cyclists just arrived. Holy crap there are a lot of them. A minute ago there were no bikes, then, lots of noise and dozens of cyclists arrive in a big group. Then, just as quickly they leave "pour arranger les velos". I expect they will be back to check in properly.

A family arrived earlier 2 adults, 4 young kids and a mule. The hospitalero said the burro must stay outside. I was glad to hear it! Not sure where it's staying. So, the burro carries a child in turns plus most of their stuff. A beast of burden for sure.

The group of cyclists and the family w/mule are French, so I am having more opportunities for practicing than I expected. C'est fabuleux!

By the way, I am happy that I have still not needed to pee outside, even though this morning was longish.

Jaime and our cervezas

Jaime and our cervezas

Relaxing in the pool

Relaxing in the pool

Tons of cyclists arrive

Tons of cyclists arrive

The family burro

The family burro

My albergue and another incredibly blue sky

My albergue and another incredibly blue sky

Accommodations are spartan

Accommodations are spartan

First view of Azofra

First view of Azofra

A way marker showing 581 km to Santiago

A way marker showing 581 km to Santiago

Posted by Deb Godley 15:34 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Day 8, Navarrete


View Deb's Camino de Santiago de Compostela on Deb Godley's travel map.

I left early and saw very few others today. I arrived in Navarrete at about 12:30, having walked 22 km.

I got lost this morning, I walked over to take a picture of a statue and then started going the wrong direction. Luckily I came across someone who could point me the right way. Only lost about 15 minutes, but it's a bit difficult in the cities.

The whole way out of Logrono was very nice - for about 9 of the 12 km to Navarrete, I walked through parks and by a lake. I saw many cycling pilgrims, but almost no one walking my direction. The were a lot of locals in the parks, though.

Here there is a large section of path next to a chain-link fence by the highway. Pilgrims have attached hundreds of crosses to the fence using whatever sticks are in the area.

I am the first to arrive (and so far the only person staying here). I paid 7 Euros to have all my clothes washed and dried. Compare this to 50� for washing in Los Arcos. However I am happy to have clean and dry clothes in 2 hours.

I bought a small tank top in Viana to have another clothing option for the evenings. To compensate, I left the pillow I'd used on the plane, but not since.

I'd like to buy a scarf that I can wrap for a skirt if I see something lightweight and suitable. Otherwise, I am always wearing my walking clothes or my sleeping shirt/shorts in the evenings.

I also paid for the communal dinner at 7, which the Hospitalero pointed out will not be very communal if no one else arrives. He said it is not very busy these days, which was also my experience walking today.

I took a look around town before dinner, after getting my clothes back. I bought a scarf to go with the shirt. I can just wrap it around twice and tie it if I suck in a bit, so it works as a skirt. I'm going to wear it to dinner tonight. I also bought food for tomorrow because it looks like there is nothing for the first 17 kms.

There are two French women here also, but on a different room. So I still have this room to myself and will have others at dinner, and can practice my French a little. I enjoyed the conversation (in French) at dinner, but the food was sub-par. It tasted fine, but the was no protein except a small yogurt for dessert. And, oddly, no bread.

We were commenting that we would have liked a bit of chicken in the pasta or egg in the salad.

Lake at Parque de la Grajera

Lake at Parque de la Grajera

Different style of shell marker

Different style of shell marker

Gorgeous sunrise this morning

Gorgeous sunrise this morning

Peregrino statue where I got lost

Peregrino statue where I got lost

Leaving Logrono

Leaving Logrono

Rosa del Camino de Santiago

Rosa del Camino de Santiago

Crosses in the fence

Crosses in the fence

My new tank top

My new tank top

Posted by Deb Godley 15:23 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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