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Published: June 27th 2013
A short day today just 16km but we have stepped over the 250km mark so almost 1/3 of the total distance behind us. Easy walking today but somehow it does not matter how far you go by the end your feet are tingling. We happened to leave Azofra just as the pilgrims from Najera were passing through so the way was busy but still you had your own space. It looks amazing ahead with forty or fifty people spread out over two or three Km 's on the crushed limestone paths. I hope one of the photos posted shows this. If not when we get home and you inevitably sit through the marathon slideshow you will see it then.
Met a nutter today - an Austrian who left Logrono at 2am this morning and is stopping here for the night - 51km!
A minor dispute with wifey on the trail today. As we approached our destination there was a very young boy selling small cups of juice. Fiona thought how sweet and purchased one placing a euro in the carefully euro infested pot. Not too many to suggest excessive takings but nothing less than a euro on display. Approaching
I considered what I saw and decided this was child labour exploited on behalf of the local mafia and should not be encouraged. With several hundred pilgrims passing through daily building to over a thousand in the busy season I figured this kid was not seeing the proceeds of his endeavours. Not sure who was right, not that that matters, but it does go to show how different we all think. I think I burst Fiona's bubble a little bit.
Father Ken has an affiliation with Santo Domingo. His anscestors were Jewish vineyard keepers In Santo Domingo. In 1492 Queen Isabella gave three ships to Christopher Columbus filled with Spanish Jews to be deported to the Canary Islands. The Domingos family was among them. They converted to Cotholocism and continued to grow vines in Tenerife. In 1779 one of the Domingos and his family went to Louisiana to help fight in the American Revolution. They married into French Cajun families and they became the Dominge family of which Father Ken is a descendant. Arriving here today is a big day for Father Ken (Dominge).
The countryside today was amazing. I am not sure that the photos will do
it justice. Huge fields of maze, vegetables and wine all very cleverly irrigated beautifully tended with almost no weeds. Farmers, vintners use tractors to plough rows very carefully spaced to ensure that the plough clears exactly the right area without damaging the roots. Some grape vines are wired to about 6ft while others simply grow unsupported off what look like very old trunks. The vintners use carefully constructed half round 3ft wide concrete pipes raised and laid to gently follow the contours of the land. Feeds are taken of these aqueducts to water the lines of vines. The path meanders through these areas.
We passed through Ciruena, a town almost empty of people but full of apartments, many of which are for sale. Not sure what has happened here but clearly it has not worked. There has been some serious money invested including a very high quality golf course. Looking at the development it would appear that the construction is way less than 10 years old so likely the timing coincided with the GFR. The golf club surprisingly was open to pilgrims, they clearly did not want to or could not afford to miss out on this financial opportunity. Most stopped here for a drink or something to eat.
Just about everywhere offers free access to wifi. They clearly recognise that the average pilgrim while looking to enjoy the Camino for their own individual reason do not want to switch off from the world or loved ones. Everywhere you stop a sea of iPhones appear to connect with the WWW.
Today the inevitable happened. We were convinced to stay in an alberque (hostel). It is run by the Cisterciense Nuns. 16 bunks and beds, shared showers and no sheets with vespers at 6.30 with the nuns. While we certainly appreciate that this represents the closest comparison to how pilgrims originally travelled the Camino Fiona, Father Ken and I now well used to renovated mansions all agree that the experience will be invaluable but does not need to become a habit. Snobs, we hope not but after all this is also a holiday.
Having finished walking just after 2 we have plenty of time to relax and enjoy the Spanish experience. We still hear daily from Mike, who is back in Houston and Yvette who is half a day ahead of us. Both Fathers are still firmly attached to us with the day of parting, 3 July, fast arriving. Not sure how our now 3* Priest will cope with Albergue's after we are gone.
The kids leave on Saturday for Chicago. We are really looking forward to seeing them along with Suzzie, Scott and the kids. It will be very sad to leave the Camino but we know we are coming back so it's ok.
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