Even better, we met a friendly Spanish couple who we walked with for some way, which gave me a chance to practice my Spanish. Mainly this involved me making terrible grammatical errors, but it didn’t seem to matter. We got on like a house on fire.
On arriving at the little town on Azofra an hour or so later, we met many of our Camino friends for coffee and tortilla. The clouds started to part and the sun came out as we moved onto the next part of the day. The Rioja region was lit up like a film set. I have never seen anything like it.
The Technicolor views have to be seen to be believed. So if you’re thinking about heading out on to the Camino… do!
But… do also know that it’s really hard going. The last several miles of this stage sloped strongly downhill and each step hurt my knees. It was an intense hour or so of extreme beauty tied up with growing levels of pain.
When we got to our stop for the day, Santo Domingo De Calzada, I was relieved. After dropping our bags we went to the town’s famous cathedral, which has live chickens inside. Legend has it, if the cock crows, you’ll make it to Santiago.
The cock didn’t crow.
If I don’t make it, it will be my knees that stop me, so I am not going to take that chance. I’m going to take a bus tomorrow to the next big town of Burgos and take a break. The Camino is teaching me to listen to my body and I’ve heard the message loud and clear. I’ll stop, I’ll rest, I’ll see how it goes.