Photography, Travel

El Camino Day 12

Our walk today was an easy one walking from Nájera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada. Just under 22km with one big hill to climb with the sun shining on our backs. It was a little cool though with the wind blowing as that made the day feel colder. Gloves and beanies were worn all day despite the sun being out from the clouds.

Our hotel in Nájera

Amazing walking out of the towns with these old buildings and not realising that the monastery that this church above belongs to was founded in 1052. So much history in this part of the world as well as the Camino itself which goes back centuries too.

The church of the Monasterio Santa Maria La Real Nájera

We’re doing a few short walks to get to Burgos our next big town so that we can get accomodation in the towns that have them without doing 30+ kilometre days. It means we can also both get work done with extra time we have in the afternoons. I’ve got a heap of work to do for Splash and Ron has some writing to do. Suits us both ways.

We find ourselves amongst about a dozen pilgrims walking the path today. More Koreans, a couple of older Spanish guys that are up ahead in the photo above and a Swedish guy that we chatted and walked with for a few kilometres. Chatting on the walk gets a bit tiring. Often it’s just good to walk in silence than talk shit with strangers if you know what I mean. The conversations always for some reason always wind up being about religion and politics which I find a chore. I’m out here for peace and quiet, not to solve the world’s problems. Anyway, we lost our Swedish friend as he was moving onto the next town from the one we’re staying in. We may bump into him again but hopefully if we do all the afore mentioned problems are solved.

Walking out of Nájera
Looking back to Nájera
The sky is blue and the sun is shining
The locals are out walking their pets

It was 4ºC when we left this morning and the there wasn’t much variation to that taking into account the wind chill factor. My phone was saying 7ºC at but I’m sure it felt colder than that. At one point on the path today we saw melting snow which must’ve occurred in the past few days or last night even as we did have rain in town.

There’s snow on the mountains nearby
A small town up ahead

We passed through two small towns today one of them Azofra which is coming up in the photo above and another town called Cirueña. Both were in hibernation for the winter months. I was only thinking today that in the summer months these towns would be pumping with the amount of pilgrims going through all having a beer, drinking wine and partying into the night. Not all pilgrims but some. It would be a very different feel to what we’re experiencing now. I like the quiet of the winter walking although today there were more pilgrims than we would’ve liked but I’d imagine in the warmer months this track would be swarming with pilgrims all talking shit. Too much!

Snow covered mountains

The mountains above are the range that the monasteries we visited yesterday are in. Ron and I think that these mountains weren’t covered in snow last year when we passed them and it does definitely feel colder than last year. Our Swedish friend we met today said he walked through a lot of snow in Roncesvalles which we only passed through a couple of days ahead of him. He said snow is better than rain as you don’t get wet. I’ve yet to be convinced. I’m sure walking in snow brings with it a whole new set of challenges.

Our one and only climb for today coming up ahead
Approaching our hill climb
Looking back from the summit of our climb
The other side of the climb
The throng about to descend into Santo Domingo

It was really windy and chilly up here with patches of melting snow about.

Once we hit the peak we passed through Cirueña which just wasn’t photogenic enough to warrant a photo we started to descend to Santo Domingo with our crowd of pilgrims. The land about us is potato crops because as we enter Santo Domingo we pass large potato processing facilities.

Ron up ahead chatting to our Swedish friend with Santo Domingo in the background

We came into Santo Domingo sooner than expected and we were debating whether or not to walk on to the next town Grañon but decided to stay here. The hotel I’d booked and we’re staying in here is called Hospedería Cisterciense. It’s a renovated Cistercian abbey run by the sisters. We thought this was the better option that going onto Grañon where the accommodation options didn’t look all that great. We were just in time for lunch which was a hearty home cooked meal, probably the best one since we got to Spain. Dinner tonight is served in the middle of the night at 9pm of all times. We figure we’ll knock out the work we’ve got to do and hopefully be able to make it to that time both hunger and tiredness wise. It has a very homely and peaceful atmosphere and is very clean. I would recommend it to anyone who passes through here. Mass is in the morning as well so we’ll be able to participate in that.

That’s it for me today. Time to get some other work done which I’m not looking forward to.

Thanks for reading.

For stats and a map of today’s walk, you’ll find them here.

Buen Camino! 😊