Today’s distance: 17.5 km
Total distance: 199.8 km.
Elevation gain: 252 metres
Weather: Blue skies; warm
Highlight: Beautiful Rioja
Today walking from Ventosa to Azofra was perfect! Blue skies, loads of jet trails, grape vines galore, and less pain from my blisters. I was able to walk further than I have for the last three days. I haven’t quite lost the pilgrims’ gait (limp) but it’s getting there.
Usually pilgrims prefer walking on natural track rather than pavement but, when you have blisters, you really need to pick your way so as to avoid rocks that might press on them. Pavement walking was much easier.
Before Najera at a place known as Roldan’s Hill, there was this strange beehive-like structure. It stands at the scene of a legend about a fight between the knight Roldan and the giant Ferragut, a David and Goliath type of story. It is also the place where an enormous treasure is said to be buried.
I didn’t have breakfast until I had walked about 10 km and reached the outskirts of Najera. Then it wasn’t far until I stopped for a second cafe con leche at a bar by the river. It was a perfect place to relax, take off my boots, let my socks air dry a bit, and check for hot spots which would indicate new blisters brewing. Wonderful! No new ones! I was tempted to stay longer at the bar by the river, but I was afraid I would grow roots and not wanted to carry on to Azofra, my destination for the day.
Damp socks can cause blisters so it is good to change them often as you walk. It wasn’t smart of me to bring only two pairs – my bad! Here is something Annette told me today, and I wonder if anyone can verify this: Crystals (salt?) accumulate from sweat in socks and those crystals can cause blisters. She says socks should be washed every day. I haven’t always done that, especially if I thought they might not be dry by the next morning. Maybe that is one of the reasons I got blisters.
Between Najera and Azofra I came to the first sign that shows how many kilometres to Santiago: 581 km. I was so excited because soon I will reach the 555 km marker in Granon. When you see triple fives there’s a big chance that it’s conveying a message of guidance from your angels. Right, Tania!?
Okay, so where was a farmacia’s vending machine when I needed one? You don’t have to wait until Monday for the farmacia to open. You simply put money into a slot and out pops what you need: Compeed, band aids, Ibuprofen, etc. Brilliant! The vending machine in the photo is in the tranquil village of Azofra which has a population of only 250.
Sixty pilgrims can be accommodated in thirty cubicles at the municipal albergue here. Glen from the USA didn’t want to share his cubicle with anyone and was willing to pay double, but I am happy to share mine with a delightful, companionable lady (Annette) from Copenhagen, Denmark, for just 10 Euros. A bonus here is the little fountain and pool you can soak your feet in. Great!