NAJERA – SANTO DOMINGO DE LA CALZADA
Once you’re awake in an albergue, it is difficult to go back to sleep, so we’ve 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 suppose we’ll soon find out 😏
Leaving Najera early morning
The first part of our walk was a steep up hill between pine trees and then we’ve 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’ve tried to stayed focus on the beauty surrounding us.
We are going to Santo Domingo today
On our way to Ciruena – rain clouds gathering above us
As we’ve got closer to Ciruena, the clouds got darker and then the rain came down! We were close to a golf course outside Ciruena and ran (or rather walked quickly) for some cover to the golf club house. As we’ve entered the club house, we’ve seen a whole group of pilgrims – seeking shelter from the rain. We’ve ordered a “grande” (big) cup of coffee and waited for the rain to calm down to a drizzle. I was wondering what the golf staff were thinking of all these soaking wet pilgrims in their club house 😊
The way markers for the Camino out of Ciruena was very clear
It was only another 6km to our destination, Santo Domingo, and we’ve walked on through a light drizzle. We’ve 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 …
I was over the moon to see Santo Domingo in the distance!
As we’ve got closer to Santo Domingo, the rain cleared up. There were still a lot of clouds, but at least the wind 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 does not necessarily mean you will be there shortly. No, 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 🤨
It was a Sunday and the town of Santo Domingo was quiet when we’ve got to Albergue de Peregrinos. Almost all of our pilgrim friends were in this albergue and we happily greeted each other.
We’ve slept here for the night – Albergue de Peregrinos
We had to quickly went out to do some grocery shopping, as all the shops close at 14:00 because it was Sunday. We’ve got a bottle of “vino tinto” (red wine) and some snacks for lunch. In the albergue is a massive open communal area with a door leading to the kitchen. There was a commotion in the kitchen with all the pilgrims busy preparing lunch. At that moment, I’ve realized how special these interactions with our fellow pilgrims were – though we came from different countries and backgrounds, we all had, in some way, a connection – thanks to the Camino.
After 17:00 me and Berto went out to a small shop where we’ve got some onions, tomatoes and sausages. Berto prepared a wonderful hearty stirfry which we’ve 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 sitting around and chatting to each other, reading a book, writing or even getting their guitars out and singing.
This evening will always be cemented in my memories.