Day 13: Water, Water Everywhere

Last night, in the blessed town of Santo Domingo and the blessed albergue Cofradia del Santo, a volunteer foot specialist spent over four hours tending to a long line of pilgrims with various ailments. He was knowledgeable and straightforward. He popped and cleaned Kat’s blister quickly and taped up B’s foot, assuring her the sore small ligament was not a big issue. Knock on wood. As we waited, we met up with some achy boisterous Hungarians. One older Frenchwoman had to go to the emergency room because her knee brace caused an allergic reaction which caused an infection. One Spanish young man’s walk ended right there with what looked like a fallen arch. The doctor’s services were donation based, like the albergue. Incredible.


We then stopped at El Buen Gusto, a pastry shop full of specialties such as Milagros del Santos, delicate puffs in the shape of a rooster (there is a live one in the Cathedral), and Jacobeas, pastries filled with chunks of chocolate. Old ladies all dressed up headed to church.



We ate a simple dinner of baguette, Havarati, tuna, olives, and sweet melon in the fully equipped, clean kitchen, sharing laughs with Stefanie, a recent medical school graduate from Germany walking with her mom. We also ran into four young women from Florida and a guy from Seattle – not many American accents found on the Camino.

Settling into well appointed, clean (did we mention how important clean is?) rooms, we nodded off to the sounds of chattering pilgrims below.


The sound of rain woke us up. B got up at 5 and headed downstairs wher several pilgrims were already breakfasting. It was still pouring by the time Kat and Z woke up so we took it easy, having fruits, Greek yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, and cookies. We really didn’t want to leave this sweet albergues, but eventually we suited up in our ponchos and dressed our packs in their ponchos.

Kat looked like a walking candy corn, Z a giant mushroom, and B a pumpkin. We walked into the town of Granon, where we sought shelter for a bit. We went into the Iglesia de San Juan Bautista, a beautiful church built over a monastery.


We continued on until the rain started getting heavier and heavier, and we stopped in an albergue information shelter for about an hour, hoping the rain would subside as we lunched on more eggs, potato chips, and nuts. The foot doctor came in, taking off his motorcycle helmet, and asking B about her foot.


We finally got the courage to leave. It was not only wet, but super cold. It took B a good half km with arms wrapped around to get warm enough from the cold rain to feel the sweat on the back. Anytime we stopped, the sweat would quickly chill us. Lovely.

As we walked through hills of wheatfields, mud splattering on our legs, we walked a bit with the Spanish woman on her adapted wheelchair/bike. Another woman walked with her umbrella.


We could see distant towns as if they were shrouded behind a misty curtain. The rain eventually stopped, but then B had to pee so badly, but through the tiny villages of Castildelgado, Viloris de Rioja, AND Villamayor del Rio, there was not even a bar, so B had to ask an obliging tree forgiveness. That makes three of us who have taken the outdoors seriously.


The sun started to finally peek out as we strolled into Belorado, home of eight churches and former bustling town for the leather industry. We stayed at the A Santiago, seeing Sebastian and Carolina and a whole table of old friends from Santo Domingo.


For 5€, we shared a room of 18, but thankfully, only five others were there. Though there was no toilet seat (will we fall in?) and the shower curtin was moldy, the rain showerhead was great – finally, a hot rainshower so different than earlier that day.

We had the pilgrim menu for 10€ for lunch, the paella and garlic soup terrific, and the rest of the meal going a bit south from there (the Spanairds do pork loin well, but roasted chicken, not so much.


After some reading and relaxing, we went to the kitchen where our dear friends Sebastian and Carolina were cooking. This kitchen left something to be desired, but it was sufficient for us to make our Chinese ramen bought from the Chinese grocery store back in Logrono. After a wet, cold day, a hot bowl of ramen was welcome – and a nice change from the usual jamon and cheese baguette.


Wrapping ourselves in layers, we turned in, hoping tomorrow will be a little less wet.