After a delicious dinner (pasta with homemade sauce! Ice cream for dessert!) and a breakfast of egg omelette and juice, I started out for Castiledelgado. It was 11 miles but not too hilly and for some stupid reason, I thought I could just carry my pack. Even though another pilgrim going to the same albergue was having hers transported and it would have been a simple matter to add mine.
The morning was brisk and a bit cloudy, but I felt pretty good as I started out.
The walking was pretty smooth on a dirt road and in a couple of hours, I could see Santo Domingo de la Calzada up ahead.
I passed this sculpture on the way into the town. The sign said that it “Represents the figure of Santo Dominic inside the pillar of a bridge. In the 11th century St. Dominic built a bridge over the river Oja so pilgrims could cross it more easily.”
I passed through a plaza with a pilgrim-themed sculpture/water spigot and a cathedral.
I came across a little cafe and went into to get a second breakfast. There were Katrina and Amy from last night’s albergue! We chatted a bit and discussed plans for finding accommodation for the coming week. Holy Week is a Very Big Deal here and many places were filling up fast.
After food and a brief phone charge, I carried on. The road was not too steep but the surface had changed from dirt to rough gravel and my feet were feeling it. After one particularly gnarly stretch, I was glad to find a resting place.
I took off my socks to see how my toes were doing. They were not happy. I was glad to see the next town, Grañon, in the distance.
Like a mirage in the desert, the towns always appear closer than they actually were. And the path stayed stony. But I finally made my way into the town.
I found an open pharmacy and finally got a pair of proper, heavy-duty toenail clippers. I did some maintenance (no, still no toenail pictures) and switched into my sandals. But my feet were killing me. If I’d only had my light day pack, I would’ve been up for continuing the last 3 miles. But alas…my toes and feet were taking umbrage at the extra weight. I decided to call it a day and call a taxi.
This meant I had time to explore the old church in the square.
I spoke to a woman I had seen on the Way who was actually staying at the church – they have an albergue “donativo” which consists of mattresses on the floor, a hot meal, and is paid by donations. (She was from Australia and had RUN 20Ks of the Camino before picking up her pack and hiking another 10K. I was just…🤪)
I finally got to my beautiful albergue in Castiledelgado. Owned by an older couple, it’s in a beautifully restored antique house.
Hot shower, cup of cafè con leche and the promise of a delicious home-cooked meal (with wine) tonight. All is right with the Camino.