Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Camino De Santiago: Day 6-Navarrete to Najera

On day 6 I woke up and said good bye to Navarrete, along with goodbye to a group of men from Madrid. There were 3 older guys walking together--two fast and one slow. That meant that the two fast guys would zoom past me and then a little while later when they stood around waiting for their friend, I would pass them. We'd chat as we passed each other, sometimes they would sing the superman theme song for me and just generally we'd have a laugh. In the evenings we'd chat in the albergues (and very awkwardly half the time they would just be standing around in their briefs). Anyway, it was their last day on the Camino and they were headed back to Madrid. By this point in the Camino you really start to get the sense that goodbyes are a big part of it. 

OK, on to the walking! There were lots of vineyards in this area: 

Midmorning we (I was still walking with my two pals from the day matter what excuse I came up with they were committed to walking with me) stopped for a coffee/snack/rain break. We sat around in the cafe for a while and eventually two people I had met from the hostel the night before came in. Itziar is Basque, from Vitoria (I love those people from Vitoria!), and had the best English I have ever heard on a Spaniard (turns out she is an English teacher). She was on the Camino just for the weekend to  walk and visit with her friend Jimmy. Jimmy was in his 70s (can you believe it?!), from Scotland and was a great storyteller. Turns out he is a poet/writer/artist/retired champion rockclimber.  

I'm telling you--you meet the most interesting people on the Camino!

We got to talking in the cafe (in English--yay!) and ended up walking the rest of the way to Najera together. Not only was it a nice break from the "Spanish" I was trying to understand from the boys, Jimmy was full of great stories and tips and it was great to have some female companionship for a while too. 

Jimmy! He has a thing for split rocks

There were several of these beehive huts along the way. 

When we made it to Najera I stuck it out with Jimmy and Itziar as we picked up a few essentials (like bread that was still warm) and then had a picnic in the park. After that we checked into the albergue--it was one giant hall with about 100 beds in it. I had the unfortunate experience of sleeping close to an older British man who was a serious snorer the night before. When I saw his son I asked where they were sleeping and chose a bed as far away from them as possible. The albergue in Najera also provided me with the my first cold shower on the Camino. 

On the plus side, Najera had a nice monastery. 

There are lots of cliffs and caves--in fact the monastery is built right into a cave. 

After I got back from the store with things for dinner my pilgrim friend Claire informed me that she was already making dinner for the lot of us. I also took the hospitalero's chilly advice and went down to the river banks in town to ice my ankle (which was already giving me trouble) in the cold, cold river. Overall it was a good day.

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