We are at a lovely Albergue in Pieros and now have less than 200km to go. We are in a quiet, rural Spanish village away from the hustle and bustle of marching pilgrims and the cyclists. The weather is hot getting to about 40 degrees and so we only managed just under 20 km today. In the next day or so we will cross the final mountain range and begin our descent to Santiago. It’s going to get busy as many want to be in Santiago for the festival of St James on the 25th.
Day 14 – I just can’t quite remember….
Day 15 started with a 17km stretch of nothing. So glad I downloaded a trashy summer reading audio novel to pass the time. We stopped in a lovely Albergue and even managed to get our own room at 10€ each – although the bathrooms were communal and mixed! We had a lovely afternoon and evening exchanging stories of pilgrims we had met on the way. We seem to be walking with the same set of people for the past few days. Our favourites are Michel (22) and his mother who are from Vienna. Everyone has a story and a reason to do the Camino – retirement, death in family, dumped by boyfriend, chucked in the job…we probably have the least profound reason…just going for a walk?!
Day 16 was not the most inspiring of walks today but we are in a pretty good hostel – the hierarchy is hotel, hostel, pension, albergue. Now having a cool beer, some green olives while waiting for dinner at 8
I don’t know what happened to day 11! Last night we stayed in a guest house in a very pretty place called Castrojeriz (35€) and the night before we stayed in a private albergue in Rabe de las Calzadas (8€ each) Tonight we are in the municipal albergue in Fromista (7€ each). The level of accommodation varies with the price but as long as we get a shower and bed with clean sheets and towels to ourselves every three or so days I think I’ll survive! Here are some photos from the last few days:
We started out quite late from Santo Domingo De Le Calzada but still managed to walk over 30km to Villambista. We stayed in a tiny Albergue in a dormitory with 8 sets of bunk beds – very cosy after our previous night where we probably could have packed in at least 10 bunks. This morning we left at about 6:30 and walked until about 3 in the afternoon – so about 7.5 hours with the odd break. The scenery is changing and we are out of the vineyards and into the wheat & barley fields. Here are some pictures from The last couple of days:
After two really long days of walking we are now in Sto. Domingo de la Calzada. I think it’s between 560 and 550 km to Santiago de Compostela. We have checked into a hotel – a really nice (and expensive) one to have a break from the dormitory experience and communal washing facilities. What a luxury to have clean starched sheets and fluffy towels! We’ve walked through some stunning scenery and although the weather has been drizzly, it was much better than full sun with very little shade. We are just about to venture out for dinner and will probably bump into a number of fellow walkers who will be wondering why we are not in the auberge. I expect we’ll opt for the Pilgrims meal again unless we want to wait until after nine for an a la carte menu – however by that time we may have passed out from exhaustion helped with a few beers.
Here are some unedited images from the past couple of days:
We’ve arrived in Viana, Navarra – OK, I have no idea where that is but we are almost in the Rioja region which means more great wine.
We are in a bar sipping ice cold San Miguel’s and catching up with the world on our smartphones – one of us being a little more productive…and having to provide tech support every two minutes
(Harry, why oh why did we buy him
A bloody Samsung for his birthday?).
It was spectacular scenery today – what I could see through the rain drops on my glasses. I have a very impressive rainproof black poncho – it scores an impressive 10/10 for comfort and practicality and a minus 10/10 for style and fashion. Do I care? Tonight it will double as my sleeping bag as we are in an auberge (6 Euro) that doesn’t supply blankets (and even if it did, I’m not sure I would want to share it with the bed bugs). So after dinner I will be putting on ALL of my clothes including a pair of Spanish Old Ladies thick black tights that I have just purchased so that I may get some sleep. We’ve only brought silk inner sleeping bags and didn’t bother with proper ones. Weight vs Comfort.
Here are some highlights from today:
We’ve done about 27km today and it has been a stunning walk with beautiful views and lovely old villages. The routine seems to be established. We get up at about 6, repack the backpacks, set off and have breakfast about an hour later – today hot pain au chocolate straight from the oven. We had a picnic lunch – fresh bread, cheese and the local cured paper thin ham. We pull into a hostel at about four hoping that there are enough beds followed by the big rush to shower, get clothes washed and dried. Today it was a treat as they did it for us at 3 Euros a wash and another 3 for the drying – so no queuing at the washing machine – a bit like putting your coins on the pool table to claim the next game. We happen to be with a few others again this evening who walk at our pace and distance. Some go slower with less km and others push on for a few more km. Some are going the whole way and others try to do as much as they can in the time they have. Some chat, some walk alone, some power ahead – generally the young ones with endless energy on limited Euros. There are all ages and a surprising number of people doing it by themselves. You can be as social as you wish. We all just follow the yellow arrows.
We’ve now completed our fourth day and finally finding our feet (pun intended). Last night we stayed at a ‘refuges’ in Cizur Menor having completed just under 21km – so a short walk for us. Dinner was a pilgrims meal (again….) with some of the same faces now appearing – apparently you travel with a core of about 100-200 people – if we had started the next day it would be another cohort of 100-200 people. Day four was 24ish km
Day one: St. Jean-Pied-de-Port to Roncevaux 27.1 km with a climb from just over 200m to just over 1400m. It doesn’t matter how much you think you are prepared, to say it was a challenge was an understatement! We left just after 8 in the morning and I literally crawled into the auberge just after 4.
Day two: Roncevaux to Larrasoana 25 km with a descent from just under 1000m to 600m. Easy! We are now in a lovely bar sipping beer waiting for our pilgrims’ meal which will be three courses and some wine. Tomorrow…bull running at Pamlona.