Today I am in the same town and albergue I was in in 2008, for the first time in Spain... It´s a lovely albergue in Azofra with rooms that just have two beds in them. But last time I was here, on nearly the same date, it was bitterly cold! There is a foot pool outside that last time must have been like ice, but this time I will wait a bit until the heat has gone out of the sun somewhat before I gratefully use it!
Had a really pleasant evening in Ventosa yesterday. There were some lovely ladies from various countries in the dorm, and the garden outside led to some very communal chats, all with the background sound of the little waterfall feature.
As promised, the music went on in the albergue at 6am for us to wake up. I arose then, and by the time I headed off outside, the sun was just rising. One of the great things about staying in village albergues is that you are immediately out in the countryside for the start of the day´s walk, and that helps give a great sense of wellbeing.
Today´s walk was an especially wonderful one, past many vineyards, and with mountains in the distance. There was a bit of a climb to start with that soon opened up to a view of the basin below where Najera lay with a little mist in places. There were lots of mountains and hills surrounding the basin, including some very flat-topped plateau ones. The sun was shining, and the world was just a delicious place to be! A Swiss woman from the albergue joined me for a while, and it was like we shared a bit of heaven.
In Najera, the sun made the cliffs behind the town look very red, and I saw a few storks´ nests up high. Most of the remaining vineyards for the morning´s walk also had the same red soil, and the colours in the landscape were again just superb.
I arrived in Azofra before lunch, and had to decide whether to walk on another 10km in the midday heat, or have a ´slow´day and stay here. Not a hard choice really when you are me! Soon had my 'evening' change of clothes out on the laundry line, and will put them on to wash my walking set soon. Have had a delicious lunch in the local restaurant, and can now go have my siesta.
I am only going to be walking one more day in this part of Spain, to Santo Domingo de la Calzada tomorrow. Then the plan is to catch buses on to Leon. I finally worked out my 'dates' last night and realised I really only have two more walking weeks left, and decided that a straight through walk from Leon to Santiago was the best option. It's funny, but it is as if I feel the tug of all the preceding millions of pilgrims along the Camino to arrive there. It's like a strong current I can't ignore- though when I arrived in Spain, I wasn't at all sure if I would go to Santiago at all.