11 Make My Knee Like the Other Knee

Dinner last night was typical Pilgrim fare, and there wasn’t a choice to be had.

1st course….pasta. Penne with a little tomato sauce, and a gallon of olive oil.

Entree…… chicken and french fries. To say the chicken breast was cut extremely thin does not accurately describe the severe lack of thickness. I am quite sure I could see the pattern on the plate through the chicken.

Desert: Seasonal fruit….a slice of melon….actually the highlight of the meal, very good.

Immediately after dinner I decided to head to bed. I was in my sleeping bag by 9:00pm and deep in the arms of Morpheus by 9:30. The room had a door to the outside and this was left open to provide fresh air. Unfortunately the air was accompanied by a dramatic drop in temperature. I woke at least 5 times to adjust the blanket, and/or sleeping bag. ….but it was noticeably quiet. No snoring.

Based on the previous evening meal, I decided to forego breakfast on Afronzo……

Today is only 6c when I walk out of the the Albergue at 7:30 in the morning. I have put my long underwear top on over my long sleeve T-shirt, and have zipped my pant legs on. It will certainly be a chilly start to the day.

I and the other pilgrims on the road soon could no longer find indications as to which path we should take. Finally a pair of intrepid pilgrims walked one of the paths, and within 3 minutes were calling us, and flashing their lights. They had found the yellow arrows.

Once again we are walking through the rolling hills, and out of nowhere comes a very big climb. I really do not feel good doing this so early, so I decide to take my time. The climb gains altitude of 200 metres in a short distance. Luckily I am not panting like I was in the Pyrenees. Slowly but surely I am able to crest this monster. But, and there’s always a but……my knees and my left hip are feeling a lot of pain.

I decide to walk only 16 km today, and will arrive in Santo Domingo de Calzada around noon. Many people are pressing onto Granon, another 7 km. (Later I speak to these same people and they rave about their accommodations and hospitaliers)

There is no shade and when the sun finally crests the surrounding mountains the heat of the day is upon us. The forecast is for 28c and I start stripping the long underwear and pant legs in a desperate effort to prevent overheating.

One of the towns we pass through is called Cirueña. According to the information I was given 4 years ago, the community was built just prior to the collapse in 2008. As a result many of the houses have never been occupied, and have been vacant ever since. It appears the developer must have taken a major bath on this project. The only aspect of this planned community appearing to have succeeded is the Rioja Alta Golf Course. Really a perfect place…..but a ghost town.

If you are looking for inexpensive real estate in a Spain….look no further. I don’t really recommend this….

Out of Cirueña, a long downhill, and the sun is now having it’s full effect on me. I am hot! I have lots of water and have also brought a bottle of Aquarius. (Think Spanish Gatorade) Still, I can really feel my hip and knees.

I stop at the makeshift refreshment stand in the middle of nowhere. It appears a Mother and Son have set up a couple of card tables and ask for “donativo” I am pretty sure this is a profitable gig for these entrepreneurs. I buy a lemon drink, and a banana, the first thing I’ve had today to eat. No longer do I stop than I am back on the road and on my way again.

Here’s where I will ask you to refer to the CamCamino2103 Day 11 entry. This will explain the history of Santo Domingo de Calzada, and the story of the famous roosters in the church.

After arriving, checking into the Albergue, and grabbing a bite I decide to check out the the church. This is now more like a museum tour, complete with a ton of artifacts and significant religious paintings and sculptures.

Like this….

And this….The Patron Saint of the hole-in-one…

And of course you are required to exit through the Gift Shop…..go figure.

I will stay in Santo Domingo de Calzada tonight and try and get my knees back. I am planning at the very least to send my pack ahead by transport tomorrow. This way I will only have to bring my day-pack and water. A substantially lighter load over 23 km.

At least this is the plan right now…..