NAJERA – SANTO DOMINGO DE LA CALZADA
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 😏.
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.
We are going to Santo Domingo today
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 😊.
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.
Berto, Conchi and Pili walk through the green farm fields on our way to Santo Domingo
The road just goes on and on and on …
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 learned: There 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.
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.