I have just booked into the municipal albergue of Azofra. Azofra is a small village with a population of only 500, but this albergue is very nice. It has two beds per room as opposed to most places that have as many beds as possible in one room! Outside there is a large patio area with a small fountain/pool for you to sit with your feet in, very refreshing!
Since meeting back with Matt a few days ago I have been walking with a group of people, two Germans, some Americans and a couple of Brits. It’s nice to get to know people and to have familiar faces to sit and eat with in the evenings. I am getting less anxious each day and am starting to really enjoy speaking with people that I don’t know… And I never thought I’d say it, but I think I’m starting to enjoy walking! Probably a good thing considering how far I have left to go! You notice so much more when you are walking; at home I go everywhere in my car… Even just to the shop. That is one thing that I think will change when I return home. I am going to make a conscious effort to walk more, and to talk with people… In Spain just about everybody you walk past says hello, perhaps because we are pilgrims, but I think it’s just because they are friendly and greet everybody they see.
From Torres del Rio, where Matt caught me up, we walked to Logroño where we stayed in the parish hostel adjoining the Inglesia de Santiago, the cathedral. I attended my first pilgrims Mass and at the end of the service all of the pilgrims were invited to the front were we received a blessing for our journey ahead. Then, a little later we enjoyed a communal dinner and afterwards those that wanted to could go to a private prayer session in the cathedral before getting our passports stamped. We went into the locked cathedral via a secret underground tunnel (!) and sat in the old choir chairs at the back of the dark cathedral. Prayers were said in various languages before we got our stamps and headed back to the hostel via the tunnel.
In the morning we left as a group and headed through the city and out the other side. A few of our group were suffering with injuries so we decided on a short walk today of just 10kms, stopping in a town called Naverette. Here I met up with Tim, an American who I have been speaking to on the internet at the Camino forum website.
From Naverette we have now arrived in Azofra in twos and threes and the group is now missing a few.. The two Germans, Chris and Lucas have decided to press on further today, hoping to cover an extra 15kms! I’m just pleased that I’ve got this far! The heat of the sun after 11am gets almost unbearable for me and with little shade on some of these routes I am always glad to find the next bar or albergue where I can escape the heat! I have more of a suntan on my left side than on my right though due to the sun always being behind and slightly to our left when we are walking!
My knee, very briefly, seems to have settled down now and is not giving me anymore pain. I have some big blisters now but I am dealing with them and so long as my knee behaves, I will be able to continue, just taking shorter days when needed.
Tomorrow we intend on walking to Santo Domingo de Calzada, perhaps further….