The long and winding road

Sunrise with one of those huge roadside Bulls silhouetted in the distance
Sunrise with one of those huge roadside Bulls silhouetted in the distance
Should get to Burgos Tuesday if my feet hold up
Should get to Burgos Tuesday if my feet hold up


We are in Rioja and the soil is now red.
We are in Rioja and the soil is now red.
Ever walked barefoot through a fire?
Ever walked barefoot through a fire?
My old weary legs
My old weary legs

We had really hoped to see Gerard and Sylvie yesterday but we daidn’t. was a pity as we keep missing them and I like trying to improve my French. So today we have no idea if they made it here or decided to go the 7 or 8km further on nor do we know where they are headed today.

Unlike other days, we are really in the sticks today. The 20 miles would be broken into two main sections. The first for 17.5Km to Neraja and there wasn’t any town or even a house between the the start and there. The second stage was to get though this town and head to our destination of Cirenuela. This stage was again a long one of 15Km. Again through fields and vineyards with one place called Azofra on the route. However if you have watched westerns you will be familiar with the one horse town concept. Basically only a few houses. Two of which have converted front rooms. One into a bar/cafe. The other put some fruit etc in their front window and the old dear sold you goods through the window.

As the Cyclist had said to me, each day will have its own challenge and you will be in pain somewhere different. Today proved that point completely. The first part of the walk kept going on forever. The terrain was difficult due to it being stony and it didn’t have the steep hills we have had before.

Today my feet ached as soon as my shoes and pack was on. It was like the end of the day not the start. And my pack felt much heavier too. It took effort to lift it off the floor and get on my back. Maybe my feet were just tired from the constant pounding. I didn’t understand why my pack was heavier. It only had my trousers in as I had decided to wear my shorter shorts in the hop of sunshine. The signs were all there that today would be hard and I chose to over ride this due to the lure of a B&B with our own room with double bed and a bathroom. All I had to do was get from A to B. Simples.

How naive to think that. The first section was really hard. It wasn’t as undulating but the ground was really uneven and stony. We could see what we thought was the town of Neraja, when we set off. This Camino does this to you. You think you are getting close and a sit down won’t be long, but then it turns and you still have some miles to go. Today was one of these days in its worst form.
When we did get to the town we stopped at the first cafe bar as we entered. Not a moment too soon and a business very well aced to capture pilgrims shattered after a long unbroken walk.

I ordered our usual coffee and a sandwich each for breakfast. It was 9am and we hadn’t had much. I had eaten a muesli bar and him a peach. The coffee was served with a little Madeleine cake which was nice and on finishing our sandwich I asked the cyclist to fetch us two more coffees with cake. They were only plain sponge and Mr Kipling slice sized from one of his packets. I had taken my shoes and socks off to try to let air circulate to see if it helped.

After about 45 blissful minutes it was time to go again. I swear this pack is getting heavier! This town was larger than we thought and we navigated through to streets finding the rear of the town was built against sandstone rocks. You could see old cave houses carved into the rocks above. The Cyclist commented that it was like being at home.

This section gave us big hill 650m to get up as we left and I managed this ok. Today’s views were lovely despite the weather going back to cold and windy. Even the Spanish have got their heating on when it’s nearly June. The fact my legs were out to the elements wasn’t bad as long as my torso was warm and the cyclist had two T Shirts a fleece and a waterproof jacket Plus winter hat and gloves.

By the time we came to the one horse town, I was flagging a. Not my energy and not my legs per se. But my feet. They ached and felt hot. The last stretch was 5 miles through field in the most indirect route anyone could plan. When it’s cold and you are ready to drop the last thing you need is a magical mystery tour of….. Yet another field.

There was a large group in front of us that we slowly caught up. We would have caught them sooner but I was slowing as each step was hurting. It was a group of Germans out for an amble, it appeared. Once we got to them I had to speed up so we zipped past them. I couldn’t keep that up and a slower pace resumed. The last 2km was up a hill to 750meters and we could see it looming in the distance. I knew my pace had slowed and I turned to see if the Germans were catching us. In doing so on my very tired legs, I twisted my knee. It killed and caused me to limp. Those ugly knee supports came back up to support them. The cyclist took my pack off me and slung it on his shoulder at the bottom of the climb so I could limp up without the added weight. I was so grateful and I was slow but not as slow as I would have been.

At the top he was waiting for me chatting to the Irish guy we had met some nights ago. From what he was saying he seems to be living on wine and Gin. He did say he had done a 40km stage so it obviously isn’t affecting him.

We arrived finally and went staring to the bar/restaurant for lunch. No Pilgrim menu today. Menu del Dias instead. We had a large Russian salad followed by a main followed by ice cream. Kyle had two pints of beer. I had 33cl of red vino. All for €22 euros. So much that I ate like a sparrow at dinner and it was a waste of money for me. The cyclist said eat but I was fit to burst. He wolfed three bowls of spaghetti followed by chicken and roasted chilli’s. I swear he has hollow legs.

We were talking about Eurovision at this communal dinner with 3 Spanish, 1 Frenchman, 1 German, two Brazilians and one Swedish lady. I was completely wiped and still in much pain with my feet so at 8.30pm we left the Albergue and went to the sanctuary of our room.

That is until about an hour later when the husband and wife owners were having a hum dinger of a row that wafted through to our room above their lounge. The Cyclust said they were probably only having a discussion. I’m not so sure as the chap must’ve spent the night on the sofa as we heard him snoring in the night.

Tomorrow I will see how the list is coming on by the Cyclist.

2 Responses

  1. Ouch! It looks like your feet are rubbing in the same place as mine. Hopefully the sports physio can advise you…
    My poor song choice today would be Lena Martel’s: one day at a time.
    Stay strong and best of luck xxx

  2. Eat Eat Eat…… He’s not got hollow legs he just knows he needs to eat. No wonder you think he’s got more energy than you…… he has! lol!

    I dont know why you just dont boook a private room all the time or if not just another hotel that does have private rooms, worth its weight in gold a good nights sleep!!