Continuing on the series of Camino memories, here is a brief recap of day 10 – 13 of my time on the Camino Francés, in Northern Spain.
Day 10 – Ventosa to Santo Domingo de la Calzada
I left way before the sunrise, and I ended up lost and at the top of a hill with no lights or arrows. The night was incredibly quiet. Yes, the air was cool, but not cold enough to be chilly. I wandered back down and finally found the cement marker for the fork I’d missed. The sunrise was so beautiful. The extra kilometer or two never bothered me till later in the day when they were added to the 32+ kilometers I’d already walked.
I got to Azofra, 18 km from Ventosa, and sat at a table outside a café. My feet ached so badly, I figured I’d have to stop there for the night.
A couple sitting at another table to my left heard my conversation with another pilgrim and pulled out their pharmacy. They had tape, blister pads, etc; a wonderful array of products. The woman, Dorothy, couldn’t believe that I didn’t have blisters. I took off my socks to show her the soles of my feet: red and swollen but blister-free.
Dorothy and her husband, Nick, chose some thick tape and told me to tape my feet. I taped my left foot crosswise with their roll. On the right, I used my duct tape. We also put feminine napkins in my boots for padding.
The photo above was on the seven kilometers from Cirueña to Santo Domingo. It would be my longest day – some 33 or 34 kilometers.
Day 11 – to Belorado
I was pretty tired from the day before and was glad to walk alone. Sometimes, with others, keeping up my end of the conversation was difficult.
Along the trail, there were often places for pilgrims to sit and rest. Some were stone benches in the middle of nowhere; not very appealing but always welcome. The spot above was especially lovely, especially with the sunrise in the background.
The day was somewhat uninspiring when it came to landscape. Since all the farmers lived in small villages along the way, there weren’t even any farm-yards to look at. The fields went on forever. Sometimes, the trail felt like it did, too.
Day 12 – to Agès
In Belorado, I’d met up with some people I knew, and we’d decided to stay in the same hostel in Agès. We were back in the forest now and enjoying some welcoming shade. This was the last really warm afternoon we had for a while.
Somewhere around lunch time, I ran into Roland, a young man who’d walked from Switzerland. He was straddling a bike.
After giving him a hug, I asked him why he was riding. He’d hurt his foot, he said. The doctor had recommended he stay off it for a week. So he’d rented a bicycle.
The inside of the church in Agès, above. There were tons of churches along the trail. It wasn’t unusual to go into two or three of a day.
Day 13 – to Burgos
The cold wind swept across the hill as we climbed to the Matagrande plains, the next morning. I was still wearing shorts and shivering while wearing every piece of clothing I owned except my pants. There were too many people around for me to change into them.
I was also tired and more than a bit grumpy as we reached the top. I had yet to take a rest day, and my feet still hurt, though not as badly as before. I’d added another napkin to my boots. This had reduced the pain by 70%, but they still bothered me.
I’d planned on taking the bus from the edges of Burgos to save the long walk in, the only time on the Camino I considered taking a bus! But it was Sunday, and I was saved from breaking one of my golden rules. There was no bus for hours. So we walked in, all 10 kilometers, along busy roads.
Turns out there was a much shorter way. We’d missed the fork at the entrance to the suburbs.