Friday, January 11, 2013

Jan 10, 2013 Santo Domingo De La Calzada to Villafranca: We made it

St. John the Baptist from the cathedral
As yesterday was Robin's birthday we treated ourselves to a night at the Parador in Santo Domingo. We checked in, had a couple of glasses of beer (pilgrims are thirsty creatures), and set off to tour the Cathedral. Armed with headsets we made our way from station to station, enjoying the beauty of this magnificent church, and its patron saint, Santo Domingo. We came to the section where the roosters are kept and sure enough they crowed while we were there. Now this is an unusual experience in a cathedral, but legend has it that this means good fortune is soon to bless you (google more about Santo Domingo and the roosters). Not wanting to push our good fortune too far we retreated from the Cathedral, found a small tapas bar for dinner and were sound asleep by 9:30.

This morning we had breakfast at the hotel, gathered our gear and walked out into the narrow cobbled streets gleaming from overnight showers and bathed in the yellow glow of ornate wrought iron lamps. It was a reasonably warm 40 F, with partly cloudy skies. The sun was still awaiting us below the horizon. Another day on the Camino was just beginning. Our footfalls echoed off the buildings crowding the narrow streets as we made our way to the bridge (built by Santo Domingo) and out of town.

We had planned to walk to Belorado today (23 km), but as the day drew on and our strength had not yet ebbed we opted to have lunch at Belorado and then continue on to Villafranca (35 kms for the day). We enjoyed the late afternoon walk and arrived in Villafranca at 4:30. The hotel we thought was open was in fact closed. As we back tracked a bit we met a man who directed us to a pension just up the street. It was perfect. We met the owner, who spoke pretty good English, at the bar and proceeded to get checked in. In the meantime Jorge, the bartender, was making sure that appropriate amounts of beer and wine were always at hand. We eventually showered and returned for dinner (all under one roof) at 7:00 pm. At this point we would have eaten the trim off the door, but no such measures were required. We had a fine pilgrim meal, bought the house a round of drinks, received two glasses of Galician grappa in return. It was great to be part of this quiet community for an evening. Everyone was kind, understanding and pleased to have us with them. We eventually made our good night and headed upstairs to the bed that we longed for. We were going to stay at Atapuerca tomorrow night, but armed with new found confidence we are now shooting for Burgos, 38 kms away.

Bridge built by Santo Domingo


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