CAMINO FRANCES – DAY 6

NAJERA – SANTO DOMINGO DE LA CALZADA

2 APRIL

21.0km

Once you’re awake in an albergue, it is difficult to go back to sleep, so we got up early and left at around 7:00. There were some clouds in the sky and we were wondering if rain were looming in the distance … I guess we’ll find out soon 😏.

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Leaving Najera early morning

The first part of our walk was a steep up hill between pine trees and then we enjoyed a delightful wide farm track for a couple of kilometers. I could feel the strain in my leg and painful blisters, but knowing that today’s stage is only 21km, I rather focused on the beauty around us.

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We are going to Santo Domingo today

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On our way to Ciruena – yes, those are rain clouds

As we got nearer to Ciruena, the clouds got darker and then the rain came down! We were close to a golf course outside Ciruena and ran for cover to the golf club house. As we entered the club house, we saw a group of pilgrims – also seeking shelter from the rain. We ordered a “grande” (big) cup of coffee and waited for the rain to calm down to just a drizzle. I was wondering what the golf staff were thinking of all these soaking wet pilgrims in their club house 😊.

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The way markers of the Camino out of Ciruena was very clear

It was only another 6km to our destination, Santo Domingo, and we walked on with just a light drizzle. We met up with Conchi and Pili from Spain and walked together for a while.

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Berto, Conchi and Pili walk through the green farm fields on our way to Santo Domingo

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The road just goes on and on and on …

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Happy to see Santo Domingo in the distance!

On approaching Santo Domingo, the rain cleared up. There were still a lot of clouds, but no rain (and the cold wind at least dried our clothes). I was very happy to see Santo Domingo, because of all my aches and pains … but seeing a town in the distance on the Camino does not necessarily mean you will be there shortly. It took us another 40 minutes to get to Santo Domingo!

Lesson learnedThere is a huge difference between walking 2km and driving the same distance in a car 🤨

As it was a Sunday, the town of Santo Domingo was quiet. We found our way to Albergue de Peregrinos, where almost all of our pilgrim friends were and we happily greeted everybody.

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We slept here for the night – Albergue de Peregrinos

We had to quickly went out to do some grocery shopping, as all the shops closed at 14:00 because it was Sunday. We bought a bottle of “vino tinto” (red wine) and some snacks for lunch. In the albergue is a big open communal area with a door leading to the kitchen. There was a commotion in the kitchen while all the pilgrims were busy preparing lunch. At that moment, I realised just how special these interactions with our fellow pilgrims were – though we come from different countries and backgrounds, we all had a connection – to walk the Camino.

After 17:00 Berto and I went out to a small shop where we bought a few onions, tomatoes and sausages. Berto prepared a wonderful hearty stir-fry which we shared with Conchi, Pili and Deulet. Even the albergue host came to see what smelled so nice ☺️.

During the rest of the evening, the communal area was filled with pilgrims. Some were just sitting around and chatting to each other, while others were reading a book, writing or even getting their guitars out and singing.

This evening will always be cemented in my memories as one of the best evenings on our Camino.

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