It was so difficult to leave the hostel this morning. The sheer pleasure of sleeping in clean sheets rather than my sleeping bag liner made it difficult to surrender, and get out of bed. This made for a start of over an hour and a half later than had normally become the case.
Leaving this town was with mixed emotions as this was also the town with the second worst pilgrim meal we had experienced, but by contrast, the best accommodations so far. When I say the second worst meal….it is a close horse race as to which was the worst. The meal last night was a pasta with 4 pieces of sausage, followed by meat balls, the diameter of nickels, in tomato sauce, flooded by a desert fruit cup poured from a Delmonte can. Here, in one of the finest wine production districts in the world I have a glass of red tasting remarkably like antifreeze…..absolutely disgusting.
Leaving Najera the road climbs steadily to deliver you over the cliffs nestling the town. A bit of nasty work to endure first thing the morning.
Once out of the town you need to be prepared to cross a tremendous amount of rolling farmland.
Today the clouds a extremely low and later in the afternoon the wind picked up substaintially. We were walking into a 50km headwind for the last 2 1/2 hours.
Arriving in Santo Domingo is somewhat less than inspiring as you are forced to walk past the enormous potato processing plant. The smell of rejected potatoes (rotten) hangs heavy in the air as you approach the city. Making our way to the Albergue I remembered the story of this city.
This is a very abbreviated version to be sure:
A young man refuses the advances of an innkeepers daughter. She plants a silver chalice in his bag and reports it stolen. The magistrate finds the young boy guilty and hangs him for the crime. The boy’s parents proceeded to walk to Santiago, and on the return trip discover their son is still hanging…and he speaks to them. He is still alive!
The parents run to magistrate and explain their son is alive. The magistrate is eating dinner and says “your son is no more alive than this chicken on my plate”. With this the chicken on the magistrates plate stands up and starts crowing. The magistrate immediately cuts the boy down.
Now if you believe this really happened I would like to speak to you about some swamp land in Florida.
Such is the mythology surrounding Santo Domingo……
We check into the municipal Albergue to find this is completely modernized, recently renovated and a complete treat. We are assigned bed numbers and we immediately unload and jump into the showers.
After settling in hunger starts to demand our attention….so out we go to discover Santo Domingo.