Day 15 – To Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada – 21 Kms, 30,707 steps

Today’s walk was thankfully without any rain. In fact, it was cloudy and cool with a nice breeze, which would have made the 21 Kms easy. However, most of the the walk was spent on very rocky farm roads that were hard on the feet.

Najera made it easy to get out of town
A new crop joined the hay, grapes, and olives along the way

Do you remember the picture I posted of the “Santiago 790” roadsign in Roncesvalles on Day 2? Today I passed this helpful marker; only 581 Kms to go!

As the extended line of pilgrims stretched out across the fields today, I thought of those visible backpacks as sails on the sea, or Conestoga wagons in the American Great Plains. You can see them bobbing along, marking the path, even at great distances.

Zoom in to see the pilgrims in the distance
The clouds occasionally produced some nice effects

Did you ever wonder about someone’s behavior and hope that’s never YOU? Several times now I’ve seen older men (50+) walking with younger women (20s), clearly not related, and the old guy is pontificating about whatever. Non-stop blab, blab, blab, and she says nada. I wonder, what is this? Why is she walking with this guy? Is it better than walking alone? Safer? It could be nothing, except the guy is sort of taking a flirtatious Daddy role – kind of icky. Today, I followed one of these pairs and when we got to town, the girl separated herself, just to get away from him, making a fake turn down a side street. After a few minutes she came back and continued along in front of me, and I thought “well done”.

The Santo Domingo Cathedral

Santo Domingo de la Calzado means “Saint Dominic of the Roads” and isn’t a very ecclesiastic-sounding name. However, St. Dom was a local kid who was refused entry to the monastery because he was illiterate. He became very successful anyway and spent a lot of money building roads and bridges for the pilgrims, and religious buildings, back in the 11th century. Eventually, he got his religious recognition.

My lunch: Patatas a la Riojana

Outside my hostel here, there are a couple of vending machines built into the wall. Not an uncommon sight. However, one of them includes a selection of sex toys, vibrators, handcuffs, etc. Not something you often see in a vending machine along with CocaCola, potato chips, and cookies. Perhaps bridging the food-sex gap was this product, which I’ve never seen before:

Truly bizarre!

On that weird note, I think siesta is over and it might be Sangria time. Tomorrow is a 22 Km walk to Belorado, with possible rain. Cheers.

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