22 Sep 2019
My blisters and Claude’s ankle continue to improve, along with our spirits. This morning we departed Najera in the pre-dawn darkness, headlamps in place, with 56-degrees and a light drizzle, for a 15 Km walk.
Naturally, we start with a nice uphill climb out of town, just enough to get your heart really going and to develop a good sweat inside your rain gear. Later, after jettisoning the rain gear, we have a very nice day, passing through rolling farmland with acres and acres of grape vines, ready to harvested.
We had a lively discussion about how the grapes might be harvested – do the locals do it? Or is there a migrant community of pickers, like there is in the U.S., that does the job? It’s also funny that many towns are having their harvest festivals, seemingly before the harvest.
We encountered a group of about 20 women, German-sounding, all fairly attractive, with a guide, stopping at various shrines and statues, even praying at one of them. There’s nothing that puts a little more energy in your step than being overtaken, repeatedly, by these fit women. I guess the Camino hasn’t subdued Manly Pride, yet.
We finally made it to Ciruena, which is a strange place. There’s a nice, pretty new golf course there (in use) and street after street of modern apartment blocks (all empty). It has the air of a retirement resort gone bust. Claude called it a ghost town.
After the German ladies left us in their dust one last time, we crossed through town to our ancient hostel. How old was it? You can see the hand-hewn ceiling beams in our room in the photo above. Old perhaps, but clean, with good mattresses, and a good shower, so I was happy. It also had a nice sunny terrace, and a clothesline in the sun – bonuses.
I’ve not said much about laundry yet. If you have to hand wash, you do it in whatever sink is available, then hang it out to dry, hopefully in a nice warm, sunny, spot with a breeze. Most albergues and Camino hotels provide sinks and clotheslines. Some provide washers and dryers (3eu each) and I’ve even hand washed stuff then put it in the dryer if conditions were not conducive to air drying.
Tomorrow looks to be dry but windy, as we’re off to Redecilla del Camino.