July 17, 2008

Day 55: 7 June- Navarrete to Azofra

The yellow arrows were by now the familiar markers of my way, for another day of walking.
There were, unsurprisingly, many vineyards to pass in this Rioja wine growing region, but also fields of crops. This is a Camino sign I have seen on many other people's Camino photos ;-)Some of the walk today was routed next to the motorway. The motorway sign was a little depressing: I had walked for a long time, and 102km still seemed such a long way even to Burgos!
Just before Najera we passed a historic site where a battle took place against the Moors.
Najera itself seemed a fairly ugly, uninspiring town, though I know of others who found a warm welcome here. It was a town that had many storks flying overhead, and they fascinated us. We found some seats beside the river for eating our lunch, and enjoyed the company despite the cold. Here are my three Canadian buddies at lunchtime, well wrapped up: I wished I still had my warm windjacket!
It was another 6km to Azofra, which looked to be quite a poor town. I felt almost embarrassed at first to realise that the modern, purpose-built albergue was one of the flashest buildings in town.
It was a welcome change to be in a two-bedded room, not in a bunk in a huge dorm. The hospitalero had been waiting for another single woman pilgrim to arrive to assign to be with someone he had already placed: and I ended up sharing with a Dutch woman we had first met at Orisson on the Pyrenees crossing.
There was plenty of room for drying clothing outside, and this wonderful clean looking footpool. But it was oh such a bitterly cold afternoon, so nobody had their tired feet soaking! I know a family who walked this same route almost exactly a year later, in June 2009. They didn't have any of the bitterly cold days I had warned them about: it seemed that I was walking in the coldest June for ten years!
Maybe because of the cold, I felt very hungry this day, as if I could eat a horse. So the local shop and restaurant both had my enthusiastic patronage!

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