I really wanted to spend the night in the church at Grañón because I’d heard it was worth doing. So Merena and I bee-lined here. In actual event the church has a policy of not turning people away … but arriving early meant we each got a mattress in the belfry.
The walk here was really a walk of two parts; to Santo Domingo and after. 24 km in total.
We set off early (6:40am) – and luckily many pilgrims were with us as my torch was playing up.
Our initial destination was Cirueña /Ciriñuéla about 8-9 km away. When we arrived it was like a ghost town for golfers. The only cafe wasn’t open and in desperation we persuaded the owner of Casa Victoria to allow us to use her toilet, but the coffee had to wait another 6km for coffee.
It was worth waiting for.
Santo Domingo de la Calzada was the complete opposite; very welcoming and full of history.
We found a lovely cafe behind the cathedral and I treated myself to what I can describe as an omelette baguette, which was delicious, and a most wonderfully welcome cafe con leche.
A funny incident at the toilets. There was a separate toilet for men and women, and the invariable long queue for the ladies. I would willingly have used the gents but didn’t want to come out to a guy using the urinal. A male pilgrim saw my predicament and offered to stand guard. Mission accomplished!
We went into a lovely church in Santo Domingo de la Calzada, but ignored the cathedral (under renovation) which charged 6€ to go in!
Then it was time to head up the long hill to Grañón.
We arrived at the church not long after midday (before it got too hot) and found a matresss for ourselves and then showered (again I used the gents which a young pilgrim from Vietnam thought hilarious) and did our laundry. The washing lines are across the street from the church behind the bus stop. I love how everywhere is different.
Tonight we have a communal meal. We cook at 5 … there’s a pilgrims’ mass at 7 and we eat at 8pm!
We are almost at the end of La Rioja region, and the scenery has already changed a lot. We have left the vineyards behind and here the grain has already been harvested. Today I saw the farmers gathering potatoes and we also passed a potato sorting centre.
Last night was cold (I used a blanket) and the start this morning was cool, but now when I’m sitting in the cafe opposite the church in Grañón, it’s 33C.
It was good to have pushed ourselves to get here early …