Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday, May 4 Azofra to Redicilla del Camino

Once again we were out into the dark morning at 6:30am and walked the first half hour along a rocky, dirt road with daylight creeping up over our shoulders. The terrain has certainly changed drastically over the last few days. The stony vineyards of Navarre changed first to the much richer clay soil of the La Rioja area and today we walked along and through the ´lush, verdant (always wanted to use that word) gently rolling farmlands. By 8:25am we had covered 9 1/2 kms to reach Cirueña walking past a golf course and a very new residential development with lots of vacation condos for sale. Still at 8:30am we saw only one person out and about. Spaniards do not appear to be ´morning people´.

In Cirueña, John went off the Camino track a couple of hundred metres to scout out a bar for the morning café con leche. As much as I appreciate a hot cup of té and the caffeine fix, my inclination is to not add one single extra step; just follow the path, no detours or sidebars. I mean 200m off the path means another 200m to get back onto it - now we´re talking half a mile! And we´re always running on empty. No breakfast and rarely any lunch. Except for some bananas and maybe nuts, we often don´t eat until dinner.

Leaving Cirueña, we met up again with a long-legged Basque gentleman called Txomin or Domingo in Spanish. The kilometres to Santo Domingo de Calzada just flew by as I tried to keep up with him and we conversed with my very elementary Spanish. I manage to cover all the Camino niceties; "Where are you from? Where are you going? Where did you start? How long do you think it will take you?" I can share information about family, friends and jobs and that´s about it. I can also buy groceries and find out directions to the bars and restaurants. What more can you ask of 18 months of Spanish classes? I did manage to use my Spanish to commandeer Domingo into helping John finally acquire that elusive phone card for the Spanish phone someone had given him in Canada. We´ll find out when he call Linda tonight if it works. By the way, this was another 200m. detour worth it.

We left Txomin in Santo Domingo and started towards Grañon 7km ahead stopping only to put on backpack covers and raincoats as it started to rain. Walked half the way to Grañon with a German economics major from the University of Bonn. He was walking in running shoes as he had blisters. Still, he was walking faster than me. Total today was 26 kms and my feet really know it.

The Alberque in Redicilla del Camino is by donation so we registered and paid 5Euros each. The rooms are above a very sparse basic bar, 6 bunk beds end to end in each room but separate showers so there´s that small blessing again. It´s gotten quite cold but another blessing is that they have a fire going in the bar. I may be hungry but I´ll be warm.

I can also manage to read a lot of the graffiti and much of it is related to the Camino. One I saw yesterday was ´La vida es un camino´. Life is a camino. I would edit it and remind myself and others that ´Su vida es su camino´, that your life is your camino. It´s all you have so enjoy. Now if my tired feet and legs would only buy into this.

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