June 12 Santo Domingo de Calzada
Today we had a great day. When we awoke this morning in Najera, we started checking our guide book to the Camino. Usually we check it the night before but we had a long day yesterday and fell asleep before we could do much. The towns were very far apart and nowhere near the highway, which meant either we walk all day on the asphalt or risk running out of juice in the chair in the middle of nowhere. My feet were still a little rough from the road walking yesterday so we decided to catch a taxi past the places we couldn’t charge.
The alburgue we stayed in last night was different than any we had stayed in before. There were 96 beds in one room. Everyone who had not stayed in one this big was a little concerned about snorers or being so close together. We did not bring ear plugs because usually D is a very heavy sleeper and I need to be able to hear her if she wakes up in the night. She could not get comfortable and needed to be adjusted every ten minutes or so until about 3:00. As soon as she crashed out I was asleep. The bunk beds were next to each other in pods of four, the guy next to me wasn’t a snorer but he was a bit of a farter. All in all the sleep wasn’t bad, although Deb will probably say different.
Anyway I digress as usual, when we realized we would need to take a taxi, we talked to the hostelerios about calling for us. They usually speak way more Spanish than we do. They were very helpful and called to Logrono for us and out came Felipe. The people who manage the alburgue are called hostelerios or hospiteleros and these two were amazing like almost all the others before. Shaila had helped us yesterday wash our clothes and had asked to talk to us when we got cleaned up. As soon as we could she sat down with us and told us about her friend in the wheelchair who had travelled the Camino for a long time doing research on where and what they could do. They were writing a book about it called “Santiago Per Tuti” which means Santiago for everyone. Unfortunately it is still not out and even if it was it is in Italian. Still cool though.
Well Felipe took us down the highway and we were going to get out in Ciruena and walk from there to Santo Domingo de Calzada. When we got to the turnoff, there was road construction everywhere on the Interstate, no exit. He said he would have to go on to Santo Domingo and double back. “No worries we will just get out in Santo Domingo. Turned out to be the best idea ever.
When we got to Santo Domingo we walked into the plaza by the cathedral and the first person we see is Matt and Sophie from England, we met them in Roncasvalles and ate breakfast with them in Zubiri. They were kind of camping out on the way to save money. We chatted with them for a while, and several other pilgrims came up to talk to us and find out what in the world we were doing. We met a couple who he was German named not sure and she was from California. They met in the Pyranees and were calling themselves boyfriend and girlfriend. Camino romance. I have misplaced my guidebook and had several peoples names in it so I can’t remember all of them, hopefully the book will turn up, we use it all the time.
The alburgue was just across the plaza and there were already people there in line, it didn’t open until 11 so we stood and talked to the pilgrims until it did. The other alburgues opened at 12 so we figured we could check it out and if not we had time to get to the other one. This one was perfect. We had just spent 70€ on a cab ride so we were at our budget for the day. 7€ apiece, they had an elevator, big enough for Deb, then the icing on the cake, we have a special room upstairs for handicapped. We checked it out, three beds, rollin shower, giant bathroom, and a door opening onto the plaza and church like the one in Navarette. We only needed the one bed so we got cleaned up and walked around a little thinking if we catch the guys from “I’ll Push You” we would offer them the other two beds. We didn’t see them but they had taken the trail before we got up.
We did a little shopping for lunch and when we returned they were already in the alburgue. We offered the room but they said they had a good setup with a six person room, they have a film crew with them, for their documentary. They did ask to use our shower though for Justin, the one in the chair.
This evening they cooked a big meal of pasta in the Pilgrim kitchen and invited anyone who wanted to, to join them for supper. We did and spent about an hour just talking to everyone and sharing Camino stories, it was unbelievable. Justin helped me figure out what was wrong with our action camera, and it is working great.
I forgot that we found a pericerrier or something like that for me to get a haircut, I was getting a little shaggy, but this guy was great. Quick haircut, pleasant conversation, what we could understand, a shave, and even a straight razor cleanup, all for 6€.
We met our first Koreans today and they are the friendliest people you could meet, Song Chul, Audrey, and Miok. They are usually the first ones out of the alburgue in the morning, I believe so they can take their time and see everything. I really liked them and hope I get to see more of them. They are very kind to everyone and even offered anyone who would like to join them for their meal. All three of them just seem to have a kindly spirit about them. I gave them my name and they said that they do a lot of facebook, so I hope they will send me a friend request.
Battery is running low on the computer and I have to get up in 6 hours so I am going to bed. Love to all and goodnight.