I am starting to get into quite a routine now having walked 191.2 km over 9 days. My routine is pretty straight forward:
- Get up at 6, get dressed and pack up my stuff. By then it is 7 am and starting to get light so I can start walking. I find I cannot sleep past 6 as the sound of 14 or more others in the room rustling their stuff as they get ready to leave is just too much noise.
|Ventosa - breakfast stop|
Walk 5-10 km and stop for breakfast and a pit stop. I try and have something substantial, a bocadilla rather than the Spanish favourite - tostados (toast) and OJ or cafe con leche. The bocadillas are made with a large baguette type bread and are quite the full meal. Today's had ham, cheese and tomato on it. I prefer to walk before breakfast and this puts me in front of the rest of my cohort, at least until after my morning break.
- Walk 10 km or so further and if there is still a ways to go then stop and take a break and eat the food I have brought. I usually have an orange and banana along with my disminishing supply of power bars. Often there will be a cafe or a road side food truck along the way and I can stop for a coffee or a glas of freshly squeezed OJ. Such was the case today - I was able to pick up a glass of OJ (and watch the guy squeeze it) along the way and as I got to the outskirts of Najera I stopped for coffee and sat outside to watch the Pilgrims walk by.
- I am trying to average about 20 km per day. Extra long days leave less time to blog and shorter days involve a wait for the Albergue to open. Today I arrived at Najera at 12:30. Getting an Albergue is first priority when I reach y destination. I arrived earlier than usual today as it was only 16.3 km from Navarrete and the Alberge at Najera didn't open until 2 pm so I had an hour and a half to wait. I left my backpack "in line", and went shopping.
- This particular Alberge run by the municipality and staffed by Hospitaleros from Amigos Del Camino (the same group which has provided the assignment in Zamora to me.) There are 90 pilgrims in one big room of 45 bunk beds. Tonight we will have a real symphony of snoring for sure! Once checked in, the first thing to do is to shower and put on your change of clothes. Most folks only carry 1 change of clothes. Next is to wash dirty clothes and hang them to dry - good reason to plan to be at your destination not too late in the day, or you will be hanging your laundry off your pack the next day! I skip laundry sometimes if it is rainy or my clothes aren't too dirty. I am carrying one extra set of "wandering around town clothes", so as long as my pants can last another day, I don't need to do laundry.
- Most often I will make sure I have food in my pack for lunch and if I don't eat it on the road I will eat it when I get to the Albergue. Today I stopped at the supermarcado on the way and bought eggs, bananas and a hunk of bread. I boiled 4 eggs for breakfast/lunch tomorrow and 2 I will fry and put on bread for my dinner. Lunch today was a couple of empanadas I bought at the pastry shop along with a glass of wine (I have a part litre in a tetra pack I bought for 1.20 EUR which I have been carrying in my pack. I still have a hunk of cheese in my pack, so will add that onto my bocadilla for tonight. About every alternate day I try to get a Perigrino's dinner from a retaurant. This is a full 3 course meal with bread and wine usually for 10 EUR. I am averaging about 10-15 EUR a day for food and the Albergues have been mostly 7-8 EUR, except for a couple of private Albergues which charged 10 EUR. This is well within what I budgeted - 30 EUR per day.
- I try and do my blog in the afternoon before dinner. Depending on the quality of the Internet I can upload pictures or not. I am usually done my chores by 5 or so and if tired I will take a nap for an hour or two. Restaurants open no earlier than 7:30 for dinner so if not napping then I will do a tour of the town and see if there are any perigrinos hanging about to pass time with. Today I am making my own dinner in the Albergue cochina (kitchen), so I can eat around 7 if the kitchen is not too crowded.
- I try to have dinner before 9 if I can, as I like to get settled into bed by then and read my books and sort out tomorrow's walk. I pack up whatever I can before bed to make the morning pack up a it easier.
I took it easy today and only walked to Najera for sort of a half rest day. Najera is a pretty town, medium sized at about 10,000 people with lovely parkland surrounding the river in the core of town. As I have been writing this blog, in the Albergue common room, I have been listening to the Hospitaleros chat about the number of Perigrinos this year. Today they started turning away folks at 3:30 and after that they have been sending people to the school gymnasium, which the town is opening to house pilgrims on the floor as there are no more beds in town and the folks arriving now are too tired to walk the 6 km to the next town - which will be undoubtedly full as well. I heard one Hospitalera say that there are 500 a day now leaving from Saint Jean. Good reason not to walk too late in the day!
Today's walk,except the breakfast stop in Ventosa, was entirely through vineyards. A very pleasant and almost embarrassingly short walk into Najera, but no matter. Andrew, one of my Toronto Camino Walking Buddies met up with me today. He had left Sain Jean the same day as I did, except he stayed at Orrisson instead of continuing to Roncsenvalles. We both ended up at the Municipal Albergue at Najera. We had a nice chat and caught up with our Camino tales.
|Centre of Town Najera|
Now I need to go find some wifi and upload this blog and if the wifi is fast some pictures as well. Tomorrow is probably going to be 20 km to Santa Domingo De Calzada. I had hoped to go further to stay at the Albergue in Granon, which is 6.2 km further, but it may be further than I want to walk. We will see.
The map following shows this section of the Camino. I am moving through the Province of Najera (named doe the City I am in) in the Autonomous Region of Rioja from right to left. The last town before I enter the Castile-Leon Autonomous Region is Granon. Spain is made up of 17 Autonomous a Regions.