Friday, April 26, 2013

Santo Domingo de Calzada to Belorado

Into every life, a little rain must fall -- or is it on every Camino journey, you are gonna get wet, sooner or later. Today was our day. We started out in our lovely matching Altus ponchos (photo 1) and soon felt like we were in a sauna. Fortunately, the rain didn't last long and we were able to shed
them early.
Following the road out of the city, we crossed over the River Oja on another beautiful bridge (photo 2). This was the raging river that Santo Domingo had helped pilgrims cross but today it was a trickle.
We continued following country roads until we came to our first stop, Granon, where we found a lovely cafe. We joined several other pilgrims for our cafe con leche and croissant. We also stopped and got a stamp at a church and a bar, proving we were on the Camino today.
The skies started to clear, but there was mist over the rolling hills and everything started to look even greener than before. Today we had a number of villages along our route. One of the sights I love most is walking along these paths and suddenly seeing the church steeple in the next village come into view. (Photo 3) As we walk, a community emerges on the horizon and you anticipate the charm of entering yet another new place. Sometimes the charm is the church, a bridge, a fountain, a square, a shelter, etc. Each village seems to possess something of importance and often it is its link to the Camino.
Frequently, the key feature is the church and I am surprised how different many of them are. Even those that are very simple on the outside often have beautiful sanctuaries with carvings painted in gold. One church today in Viloria de la Rioja caught my eye because it was very different on the outside (it was locked, as many of them are.) This one did not have the high steeple and it was a combination of different stones, almost like a quilt. (Photo 4)
We are now entering the province of Burgos (photo 5) and plan to be in Burgos on Sunday.
Today we ended our journey in Belorado, adding 14 more miles for a total of 100 since we left Pamplona. We had some difficulty finding a place to stay but finally got a nice double room with bath for 45€ at Hotel Belardo on the far edge of town. We went back into town for dinner and ran into 3 pilgrim friends (2 from Holland and Paul from Australia) and had menu del dia (plate of the day) for 10€ at a restaurant on the Plaza Mayor (every town has one of them, too.) The menu del dia includes 2 courses (like salad and entre), desert and wine. Try getting that in the US for $13.
We walked back in a misty rain and prayed the sky would get it out of its system before tomorrow.

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