Day 12 – Villafranca de Montes de Oca to Cardenuela Riopico

25.6kms today and down a very big hill. My quads are killing me.  I could hardly walk up the stairs to my albergue.  After 2 weeks of walking my body, legs and feet are telling me to take a rest.   We are almost into the 400kms.  

Have been having such a wonderful time walking with Donna and meeting up each evening with Rose and Debbie and Paul and Christine.  

Have walked into  Cardenuela Riopico this afternoon. We are staying at the Santa Fe albergue and am now sitting here with Donna and Rose having a very large cerveza that has ice in it it is so cold.  Yummo.  Believe me we deserve it everyday.  This is the remnants


Here are a few shots of the walk today.  It started out a bit different to what we had been walking through up until now.  It was like logging roads through the pine trees 


Then suddenly you come out the other side and back into ploughed paddocks and rolling hills 



We were walking through different country today and instead of grapes and olives it was fields of sunflowers.  My favourite flower and there were fields upon fields of them 



Of course there were the gorgeous towns we walked through. One of the towns was called Ages.  Of course that became a joke all day about how it took ages to get to Ages!!!





This is the sign at the town of Atapuerca.  Sandra can you please translate. I think it says something about human remains were found by paleontoligists and Unesco made it an historic site.  Is this correct?   

This is where we are now 518kms from Santiago 

Walked up a massive mountain today and then had to come down the other side and believe me I am aching



Translation again please Sandra. 

So I am now sitting in the sunshine having a well deserved beer and finishing my blog.  

The wifi is so good here I may try and update a few previous days with photos.  Will see how I go.

Tomorrow I get to the very large town of Burgos and am taking a day off to relax and wander around the town. 

Hasta luego me amigos 

💃💃

Day 11 – Redecilla del Camino to Villafranca de Montes de Oca

Today was an interesting day lots more brown ploughed paddocks on the side of rolling hills but a lot of the walk today was beside a major highway and as we get closer to Burgos the trucks get heavier.  6-7 trucks all in a row flying down the highway and there were spots where we had to cross the highway so I number 1 had to remember to look the other way first. The spaniards drive on the other side.  

The countryside was still very picturesque and we did get away from the highway at different places. 

We got to Belorado today which is another big town with a really old church but they are all different in their own way.  What I found quite funny was down these tiny little cobblestone streets in Belorado was an entire row of clubs and bars with John Lennon on the windows and this was obviously the hip part of town.  

It was another hot day today so the shorts and shirts were on by 10am. That is the best thing about layers and trousers that zip off.  

Found a very cute Cantina at the top of a hill in a tiny town called Espinosa del Camino which was sun drenched and we had a rest and an ice cream.  

It was then downhill into Villa Montes de Oca which has this amazing albergue which is attached to a very ritzy hotel. So I am sitting in the beautiful courtyard and gardens drinking my mandatory sangria before we all meet for our pilgrims dinner at 7.   

Unfortunately I have a little sore throats which I think may be a little head cold but with all the vitamin C in a sangria I should be fine. 

Another night of terrible wifi so no pictures 

Adios muchachos.  

Day 10  – Azofra to Redecilla del Camino

Cant believe I have now been walking continuously for 10 days.  Have well and truly passed the 200kms mark.  Feeling great and so happy with my boots and orthotics.  Am quite amazed by the people who didn’t trai, didn’t walk their shoes in or have bad knees and are virtually being crippled everyday when I see them hobbling up the way.   

Have seen the most beautiful scene over the last couple of days.   There is a woman walking on her own with her Labrador dog who is carrying his own little pack on his back and walking the Camino.   There are fountains all the way along the way for you to drink from and fill your water bottles and the gorgeous dog drinks from the bottom of the fountain.  Very heartening sight.  I have a photo but can’t download so will update when I can. 

Set off this morning with Donna about 7.15 and a beautiful morning but very cold.  I had to buy gloves today as the mornings are freezing and you need lots of layers as by lunchtime it is about 26-30.  Great way to get sick!  

Quite different country today long rolling hills with ploughed fields.  A lot of the way went through big paddocks and the ‘country smells’ were amazing.  Lots of wheat and maize and sheep in this country and we left the region of La Riojas and are now in the region of Castilla y Leon which is the largest region in Spain but with the lowest population.  Apparently we will spend more than 50% of our time travelling through this area.  



We arrived at a town called Ciruena and I am not kidding it was like something out of the stepford wives.  It was a very new development that had been built with a big golf course and club in the middle.  There were lots of Mercedes and land rovers and Porsches parked by the golf club but other than that it was like a ghost town.  Every town has the old and the new.  Lucky for us the way takes always through the old part of town with the church.  

We stopped here for breakfast and the lovely lady gave us apples for our trip.  

The next town was Santa Domingo and the church here was built in the 10th century.  



Fabulous plaza where the church is situated and a very ritzy hotel on the corner of the plaza.  

Out of the locked garage of this ritzy hotel came 2 absolutely immaculate vintage jaguars that 2 English couples were driving across Spain in



I had to buy gloves here in anticipation of the early mornings and there was just the shop as we wandered through town.  

Out past everything and on the road again. This time heading to the next town Granon and what a gorgeous town.  Again very old and very small but you walk up this path and there it is 


This is looking back down the road from Granon. 



The towns are not only old, steeped in history but so incredibly quaint.  

It was turning into a very hot day so time to sit for a drink and soak up the atmosphere. 



Of course everything revolves around the church the plaza and the bar on the plaza

After a few refreshments and chatting to other pilgrims we headed off to our destination for the night. Redicilla del Camino.   Tiny town over the hill and through the paddocks.  


So here we are for the night. Still walking with Donna and this is the map of where we are


So on that note I will say hasta luego and hasta mañana 

Adios

Day 9- Naverette to Azofra

What a glorious day.  Fabulous sunrise and we were off.  Have been walking with Donna for a few days now which has been lovely.  

Left early today as hardly slept a wink last night as had 2 horrendous snorers in the room and they were terrible.  Everyone wasn’t very happy this morning so we decided to leave ASAP.  

Headed out of Naverette just as the sun was coming up

It is a spectacular day today.  Not a cloud in the sky a gentle cool breeze and we are walking through wine country all day today.   It is beautiful with rolling hills with perfectly aligned rows of grapes and the harvest is just starting so people up early and the grape harvesters were working and tractors passing us with big red containers of grapes off to the vineyard for crushing.   


We are walking through the ventosa area which obviously is a large grape growing area of Spain.  Some pretty big wineries but none open for tasting that we could see!  


I pulled out my trusty penknife, lent to me by the lovely Jane, and cut off a couple of bunches of grapes which we ate as we continued on our way. Very sweet.  

The way today was all through vineyards.  It was lovely and then we came to a bridge which we took not looking where we were going as we were chatting so much and next thing we arrive in this town with not a Camino sign it yellow arrow or shell anywhere to be seen!  OMG we had taken a wrong turn and ended up in the town of Huercanos which was not on our map!   


Luckily at the beginning of the trip in St Jean Pied de Port a fellow Australian had shown me an app for my phone called Trekright.   Don’t need wifi but has all the maps and were to go. I pulled it out and yes we were off the track.

But thanks to my trusty App we were on the road and after 10-15 minutes we were in Najera and back following the yellow arrows and shells.  

By this time it was about 10.30am and we had worked up an appetite as we hadn’t eaten or drunk anything other than water all morning.   


What I love about the way is that even though you have to walk through a big town the way is always through the old part of town which is wonderful and the way out of town are beautiful parklands. 

Walked across the old bridge and there was a bar in the sun by the river.  That is were we laid our packs and had coffee and baguette with egg and tuna.  Wasn’t quite sure what was in it but it looked good and it was.  Coffee wasn’t too bad either.  I think I am becoming acclimatised.   

Rested our bodies did our ablutions and off we went.  

As we headed out of town we noticed that the signage for the way had changed.  Now it was new tall wooden signs to Santiago with the kms left to walk.  We are now 581 kms from our destination.  


We had a lovely walk from Najera to Azofra again through vineyards and we were the only people around.  



Got to Azofra and decided to rest so have checked into the municipal albergue which is like a resort. 2 beds to a room and a outdoor area with a fountain, sun drenched, tables and chairs and as more people are arriving becoming very social.   

We arrived and shortly afterwards quite a few other pilgrims I have met on the way.  Paul and Christine from Brisbane, Debbie and Rose from the US.   It was such a social afternoon sitting around in the sun.  

Donna and I decided to go up the road and have a beer and a sandwich.  Great bar with tables and chairs out on the other side of the road in front of the plaza.  

Tiny streets and the big tractor comes down the road parks in front of the bar goes inside to get something and then comes out and on his way

We sat there for quite a while and went back to our ‘resort’. More socialising then we all went back to the bar for our pilgrims meal.  

Wasn’t out of bed very late as so physically tired of a night.  

Wifi died so this is all the photos you get today

Buenos noches 

Day 8 – Viana to Navarrete 

I have been walking for a week now and with my calculations have done just over 145kms.  
Feet are handling it all really well. No blisters but interestingly have a terrible rash around my ankles which seems to be a reaction to the wool socks. May have to buy some acrylic ones. Not sore or itching but big red welts. Very attractive and I am sure you are all really interested to know that bit of information.   
On with my journey.  
I have now realised (it always takes me a few days!) that the reason the sun isn’t up until so late and it is still light at 8.30 at night is because it is still daylight saving in Spain. It finishes over here when we start ours in October. 

We had to be out of our albergue by 7.30 so had to start walking in the dark. It was ok but with a lot of people we were fine.  
Viana is a little town just before Logrono which is a very big town. This meant we did a lot of walking on pavements today.  
What I love about this walk is that even if you have to walk through a big town the walk is through the old part of town so you avoid the busy streets.  
Thought we would stop in La Rioja for breakfast before Logrono but it turns out this was an industrial part of Logrono and nowhere to stop. So on we went to Logrono 
What a gorgeous town. Very big with 155,000 people so lots of new buildings but we walked right past those and through the old part of town. Again the cobbled stone roads and old buildings and of course the very old church 
Found the plaza and stopped for breakfast of cafe con leche and juevos (eggs). 
Of course most of the pilgrims that we were with last night were there also.  
Had to walk through a bit of the big town but on the otherside there was the most lovely path with trees and grass and just a lovely way out of town.  
Saw squirrels today. Very cute.  
Next minute we were at a lovely lake and on the other side of town. Just like at home there were locals running, walking, cycling around the lake and along the track.  
Before we knew it we were up in the middle of vineyards and looking back over the lake towards Logrono.  
It was then a wander through vineyards for the rest of the days walk but a lot of up hills and down on pavements so the legs and knees were tired.  
By this time I had caught up with Rose and Debbie from Canada and I was again walking with Donna.  
Pinch a few bunches of grapes off the vine and they were so sweet. Think the harvest is just about to happen as saw a big grape harvester working in the vineyard. No one picks them anymore.
Over the hill and we were at Naverette which is another historic town that has been well maintained with family crests carved into the sandstone of the house above the doors and armorial shields. 
Of course the church which dominates the square was huge and dates back to the 16th century. It was amazing inside. Gold leaf everywhere. I am always reluctant to take pictures in a church so old. Don’t know why. 
So Donna and I decided to call it a day and said goodbye to Rose and Debbie and went and found an albergue and here we are.   
I was a bit desperate to do some washing as I couldn’t stand the smell of my socks anymore. Wondering if the rash and reaction on my feet has been enhanced due to dirty socks !!!!
I am sitting in the main living room of the albergue in my sarong and a jacket while everything I bought with me is being washed and dried.  
Perfect time to blog. No pilgrim dinner here tonight so will venture out and find a bar. Big night out !!! Wow.

So my Canadian friend Donna and I have headed into town.  Me in totally clean clothes. Feeling special and after a walk around town and into the 16 century church found the local tapas bar and have been sipping on Rose and beer waiting for the other bar to open so we can have our pilgrims dinner for €9. Cheap tonight. 

Again very bad wifi so no photos but will update as soon as I can

Until tomorrow. 

Hasta luego me amigos. X

Day 7 – Villamayor de Monjardin to Viana

Absolutely gorgeous day today. Blue sky’s and jet stream.  

After the wild fiesta and firecrackers of last night it was a disrupted sleep. 

A long hot, hard day today.  

It was very cold this morning and people were talking it slow.  I thought to myself. Please no I don’t have the clothes.  Is that a typical girl reaction worrying about clothes!!! 

Well I needn’t have worried. 

I set off from the top of the mountain at Villamayor de Monjardin just on daybreak.  No such thing as a sleep in in the albergue.   The sky was becoming light and I could see my way out of town.  Looking back at it was very pretty first thing in the morning 


Sunday today so no cow, sheep or horse bells it was all church bells and they chimed all over Spain on the half hour and on the hour.  Never had to wonder what time it was!

The countryside today was long rolling hills and ploughed paddocks with lots of grapevines and olive groves. All growing on the side of the many many hills I had to walk up and down today.  


Set off and thought I would walk to the next town Los Arcos for Breakfast.   Well it was Sunday wasn’t it!  There was one little lady who had her paneria open with everything handmade so had a piece of pizza and a nectarine for breakfast and then went around the corner for my cafe con leche.  

The sun was up and the church bells were ringing so off I went.   


It was a really pretty walk today but very hard on the knees as I had to walk up and down hills all day.  Some very long gruelling hills to climb and then just as steep to get down the other side. After about 3 or 4 of these today my body was crying out for relief.   


Got to Sansol at about 11.30 and there was a bar on the top of the hill at the entrance into town in full sun and good wifi so took off the pack ordered a cerveza and started blogging.  An hour later and another beer I was published and it was time to go.  


Am walking and meeting up with quite a few friends I have made on the way and we all seem to walk to the same town and meet up at the albergue for our pilgrims meal in the evening.

My lovely Dutch friends Peter and Johannes  (John) have been following me and overtaking me all day. Got to my albergue tonight and there they were.  A bit of a joke now that we are stalking each other.  Ran into my friend Donna from Canada as well today.  A day of friendships.  


Got into Viana about 3.30 and I was stuffed. Walked approximately 30kms today and as I said before it was hard.  I am finding parts of my body I didn’t realise I had. Once you sit down it is very hard to get back up again and walking up stairs with a backpack is really hard.  Thank goodness for walking poles. 



Just had my pilgrims dinner and am now in bed and it is only 8pm.  

Have no bags under my eyes right now as I am sleeping such long hours.  Of course all the red wine at dinner helps.  

Buenos noches x

Day 6 – Maneru to Villamayor de Monjardin

Big walk today. Lots of hills up and down and as I had my stride I just kept going.  Feeling tired but really good.  

Only 6 people in my albergue last night.  2 from holland (brothers in law walking together. 2 young girls from Croatia (architecture students) and a lovely Frenchman who arrived later.  

We had the mandatory Pilgrim dinner for €10. 3 courses with unlimited red wine.  Language was difficult but with hands and speaking slowly we got by.  

I cannot believe how well I have been sleeping and because I am so physically tired I am usually in bed and sound asleep by 9.30 and actually slept in this morning until 7.20.  

Packed and ready to start walking at 7.50 and the sky was pink as I headed out.

  


More open country today.  Lots of ploughed fields and walked through grapevines and olive tree plantations. 
I am loving the vegetable gardens everywhere. I passed a little man today who had set up his garden in a little patch on the side of the ploughed field and there was a little stream running by so he had rigged up an irrigation system that ran through his garden. He was there religiously tending his plot.  Peas, potatoes tomatoes lettuce cabbage and another plant I couldn’t identify but very popular in most gardens. I will take a photo and post it so maybe someone can identify it for me.   Of course there is also rows and rows of red peppers.  When you get into towns or even on the outskirts or anywhere for that matter there are bunches and bunches of big red peppers hanging off people’s houses drying in the sun. 


It was a lovely day today.  Sun shining and blue sky with puffy clouds.  Cool wind but still able to get away with shorts and tshirt.  Does get cold in the afternoon and first thing in the morning 
Walked along a real roman road today.  This is how old this place is.  Quite a contrast from the highways that now cross the country.

 I am pleased to say that we don’t walk too close to highways or main roads very often. 

Walked into Estella today which is a big town.  

Walked in through the old part and it was old.  Of course churches everywhere and they were old.

  Climbed up a lot of stairs to church of San Pedro de la Rua. Stunning inside and built in the 12th century.  

Of course St James had passed through here so there was another statue of him inside.   I was then shown out the back to the cloisters and they were beautiful.  I just wanted to sit down and take it all in.  It was so old in a lot of the alcoves in the cloisters they had relics from a very long time ago.  I would say 12th century.  
Luckily when I came out there was a modern day lift that could take me down the 3 stories I had walked up to get there.   Hard sometimes with a backpack on.   


Wandered through the old part of town and then turned a corner and it was big city time.  Traffic lights fast cars lots of people and noise.   I had to get out!!!

But first, priorities, I needed a cafe con leche.  Found a lovely little bar as cafe’s are called here where you can get breakfast, coffee, alcohol anything you like.  So civilised!!!

I then walked out of town and headed to the next little town of  Ayegui. Only about half a km out of town but a highlight.  

You won’t believe this but the Bodegas.   Yes the wine people have a winery here and they have a wine fountain for pilgrims.  Yes there is a lovely stainless steel fountain with a tap and one has red wine and one has water.  It was fantastic. Of course I had to stop and have a swig.  

Apparently the wine people fill it everyday with 100ltrs of red wine for the pilgrims. Now that is civilised!
Got to the top of the hill past the fountain and here is a real foundry with a man beside his fire making all sorts of things.   Lots of locks and door knockers.  

Just up the hill was the very ancient Monasterio de Irache. This monastery is connected to the Roncesvalles monastery I stayed in on the second night.   Apparently a community of monks served pilgrims here since the 10th century.   Gee I am impressed with my history 🤓. There was also a wine museum. Like the chandelier 


I decided to press on and walk a few more kms as it was only midday.  
Walked over a few mountains and kept running into people I had stayed in albergues with or just had passed them or vice versa.  
It is such a friendly walk. Here are some rural shots of the day

 

Have I told you all how much I am enjoying this.  

About 3pm today when my body was starting to tell me it was tired I decided to stop at a little town on the top of the hill called Villamayor de Monjardin. There is a monastery on the top of the mountain and again I wonder how it got there!  

Churches everywhere and the plaza was happening with music, firecrackers as there is a fiesta on tonight.  


I don’t think I have told you about the Credential which is sort of like a passport for pilgrims.  Everywhere you go and everywhere you stay you can get a stamp in your credential.  This proves to the people in Santiago that you have walked The Way and you can then get your Compostella.



So today is almost over another tired girl and ready to hit the hay.  

If you do t hear from me everyday it is because the wifi is terrible but am sitting on the top of a hill I the sun drinking a big cerveza and putting this up now as good wifi

Hasta mañana me amigos xx