Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Belorado – 22 Kms, 31,208 steps
Leaving town this morning was easy, just follow the nice pavement markers and yellow paving stones. Rumors of a rainy start proved to be wrong; it was cool and breezy, very nice walking weather. The path surface today was finer gravel and crushed bluestone, a terrific improvement over yesterday’s bruising rocks.
An hour and half after leaving Santo Domingo, I crossed the border from the La Rioja region into Castilla and Leon, which is the largest autonomous region in Spain. A lot of the rest of my walk will be spent in the provinces of this region.
I remembered several of the small towns I passed through this morning from my 2019 Camino. I wondered what my friend “Claude from Canada”, who walked this area with me then, is doing these days.
I had one of those fun “Camino Magic” moments this morning. I was walking past acres and acres of sunflowers and decided I should take a picture. Just as I got my iPhone out, I pulled abreast of the perfect happy sunflower:
There’s a big new roadway going into the area I was walking through and, at one point, there was a monster construction equipment traffic jam, on the Camino, that I had to wend my way through.
As you know by now, we pilgrims follow the “yellow arrow” waymarking closely. Official Camino signage now incorporates the arrow, as we’ve seen. However, some businesses have “hijacked” the arrow to solicit customers and I’ve seen pilgrims go astray as a result. For example:
You’ll notice that there’s also a small official sign next to the Bar-Restaurant sign, but it’s easy to overlook.
The second half of my walk today, about 11 Kms, was into a 20-30 mph wind. Boy, that is fatiguing. God help you if your hiking hat doesn’t have a chin strap. I was really pleased to get into the Belorado suburbs at last and out of the wind.
I remember Belorado from 2019: the “siesta” effect is really bad here, to the extent that all you can get to eat up until mid-afternoon is whatever tapas (made early that morning) are left and nothing at all from 3:00 or 4:00 until 7:00. And, there are not that many bars, cafes, or grocery stores to begin with. Long and short of it, I’ve had nothing to eat since 11:00 and I’m hungry.
Tomorrow, I have a shorter walk of about 12 Kms to Villafranca Montes de Oca, where I’m staying in a nice hotel with a good restaurant and a great breakfast buffet. Yum.