CF Day 6 – Nájera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada

A different start to our camino morning – going to the bus station to find the local bus back to Azofra to carry on from where the intrepid Scouse Spouse left off the day before. As it was, we couldn’t find it, or it had left or not yet arrived, at least nobody waiting for or even driving any buses knew which one we needed. So taxi it was. The driver offered to drop us off around a corner so no one would see us ‘cheating’ but in the end we just got out down the road from the one busy bar. I remembered it well from six years ago and was happy to sit outside and have my breakfast there. Then the trail went off into the fields and we went with it. 

First stop of the day was Cireñuela, after a loong slog uphill. I tried to walk it all in one, and even tried to talk to a man I ended up snailing my way up next to because he had a CSJ patch on his hat, but he looked at me as if taking time out to speak instead of breathing might be the end of him, so I gave up. Not that I had that much spare breath myself.

When we got to Cirueñela we tried yet again to go for the second bar, only to find there was none – not until its sister settlement Cirueña, ‘just up the way’, which must have added a km or two. But we did find a bar, and a few albergues as well, in the oddly lifeless place. It was hard to get back on the road; I think the daily walking had finally started getting to us. No matter, another few days and we’d be fully camino fit. On our way down we passed a huge roundabout with statues in it: 

Hot and flat. Dusty and samey. Good walking trail though. 

Finally we arrived in Santo Domingo de la Calzada – Saint Domingo in the road, because apparently his grave ended up in the middle of the road when the church was demolished and then slightly moved when it was rebuilt. Famous for its legend of the spit roasted rooster that sprang to life on the bishop’s table to alert him that an innocent hanged man was still alive, and the subsequent chicken coop inside the church to celebrate this miracle. 

There were bands here too, but not much of a festival that we noticed.

Our first visit wasn’t to the church, but the Parador next door, which was built as a hospital for pilgrims and is now a five star hotel and has kept most of the historical features of the building. Dusty pilgrims are welcome to have a drink in the amazing hall downstairs. 

Later we went up to the bigger square that pilgrims often miss, where there are rows of bars and restaurants, outside seating, shops and even cash points. (And vending machines for every need.)

Who would we meet on the way but the man from the hill, who was now showered, changed and wearing a Liverpool T-shirt, and this time we had a good chat. He met us later to watch the match which the bartender in a bar called the Titanic had agreed to put on for us. Our Liverpool lad had to rush off before the end to get into the albergue before closing, and even though we could stay out, where’s the fun in that when all the other pilgrims are gone? Off to bed we went, to start early the next day. At least early enough to beat the heat, though I still refused to walk in the dark …


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