August 21, 2018
I made a proposal to Dixie last night and she graciously accepted! I suggested that we each go our own way and pace then meet four days from now in Burgos. I really wasn’t sure she’d be up for it, but she actually seemed excited! In all honesty, I feel that I am a hindrance to her in my attitude towards adapting to her pace and needs. I believe I have done a pretty good job being patient and I have learned to enjoy a slower walk, however, I do generally go at a brisker clip, have less need to stop and prefer to go longer distances. Being honest with myself I find that deep inside I am fighting my desire to pick it up a bit. Well, quite a lot. And I know that she is feeling that and feeling pressure on herself as a result.
So, today we both got up at the same time, and then I was out the door by 6:20, right behind the First Peregrina. It was very difficult to pick up way markers without daylight. I have a headlamp, but I separated the batteries and they are somewhere in my pack and I keep forgetting to look for them! So I used the flashlight on my phone. When I caught up to the first pilgrim, she was as concerned as I was about not seeing an arrow for a while and having passed a split off. So we waited for the next group of three peregrinos and the leader of their pack was sure we were on the right track so we took him at his confidence!. We walked for another 10 minutes and finally found an arrow – hooray!
I enjoyed walking with Mary from Tennessee for a little while, yet as in her own words, she likes to start slow and then taper after she warms up -slow and steady as it goes. I realized that I needed to go ahead to find my own pace on this day of freedom!
The first two hours were through wheat fields, and no arrows were to be seen! I was so sure that I was on the wrong route. I did see a beautiful sunrise though and every once in awhile there was a little piece of toilet paper, so I took that as an indicator I was heading the right direction (sad). Eventually I did see an arrow and felt very, very relieved!
That is, until I realized that there were groups of hunters all around. I would hear an occasional shot and usually see three people with dogs off a ways. As I was literally all by myself in the middle of nowhere in my tight tank top and short shorts, I was quite nervous and honesty, I prayed a lot during that time – for others – but for my own safety and protection especially!!!, And I know the Good Lord is looking out for me.
I passed through the cute little resort town of Cirueña, which had a golf course and later on down the road, a pool. Then it was on to more wheat fields and highway as I walked another 6 km, past a potato factory with semi’s lined up to get loaded, and into Santo Domingo de la Calzada.
This is a very old city, with huge ancient wooden doors, remnants of old rock walls, and a beautiful church. There was a a charge of three euros to tour the Cathedral, and since I am cheap and I was on a good clip, I decided to just keep going through the town. I did sit on a bench a bit to peel my two hard-boiled eggs which I then ate along the way.
Getting out before daybreak not only gets the day started early, it allows for many miles to be undertaken before the sun gets hot. It has been in the high 80’s the last couple of days, so it’s nice to have a headstart before the sun is directly overhead.
More walking through wheat fields along the highway, completely solo, and seeing only Camino cyclists passing me along the way. I ambled down into Grañón at 11:30, my projected stopping point, passing a vast field of sunflowers as far as my eye could see with a distant church of the city in their background!
Since I was so early and even though I was looking forward to staying at San Juan Bautista, recommended to me by my savvy sister-in-law, Di, I trudged on.
Through more wheat fields, on crushed gravel that I am long since tired of for days on end, and through the cute towns of Redecilua, Castidelgado and into Viloria del Rioja for a total of thirty kilometers in seven hours- just over 18 1/2 miles!!! Man my feet hurt!!!
Refugio Acacio y Orietta is inviting, a cool temperature AND vibe inside, muy tranquio music playing, incense burning and a theme of author Paulo Cohelo throughout. And the aromas of what promises to be a delicious community dinner!!!
We had potato soup, piping hot lentils on rice, bread, vino and chocolate pudding!! Heaven in my belly!! It was a little awkward as only the two proprietors and two others of sixteen spoke minimal English but the Camino has a way of making things jive!