I felt a bit lighter when I left Nájera this morning. I’d had almost 11 hours of sleep and was no longer burdened by an unrealistic itinerary. Rather, I had a one-day goal of about 10 miles and a beautiful day.
The path was gentle and there were some lovely views.
I arrived at Azofra, the first little town, in less than 2 hours. Lots of other pilgrims were stopping here for breakfast. I met Peter and Helen, an Irish couple and Clare, their grown daughter who were doing the Camino in week-long chunks.
I had almuerzo…sort of like a second breakfast. I’d already had coffee, bread and jam at the hostel and needed something more substantial. Bacon, eggs, juice and bread were consumed in short order. I continued on…coming across this interesting (and obviously old) structure.
The woman at my alburgue informed me that it was a horca – a gallows! And used for executions to “make an example of people.” Some cursory research says that there is a history of these structures along the Way.
The weather continued to be glorious and I passed bright yellow fields of rapeseed and other crops.
The road began to climb steadily. Not steep, but taxing. I stopped frequently to catch my breath and see how far I’d come.
After several bends in the road where I was SURE I was coming to the top, I rounded one last corner and saw this very welcome sight.
A rest stop with concrete “recliners.” And a man selling fruits and juice was just packing up, so I snagged a banana and OJ. “How much?” He shrugged. “Take what you want; it’s all donation!”
Now it was flat and the town of Cirueña was coming into view. Unfortunately, somebody had the brilliant idea to build a giant golf club right outside the old village and install “modern” blocks of housing. It was pretty hideous.
It didn’t even feel like I was on the Camino anymore. But I was encouraged by a sign pointing me toward my albergue.
I was happy to arrive and be shown into a beautiful living/dining room. The proprietor took my order for dinner and breakfast (yes, there was a choice!) and showed me a room with bunks, but also two single beds! And I got one!
I recognized one of the women already there – Katrina from Denmark, whom I had met while walking into Navarette. We shared stories and had a beer. The place has a beer vending machine!
Tomorrow I may walk as far as Redecilla del Camino (about 10 miles) or maybe go just a little bit further to Castiledelgado (a little over 11 miles.). Depends how I feel and if there’s room at the albergue. Right now, I’m looking forward to a spaghetti dinner with bread and fresh salad. And wine!