Day 10 – El Camino – Nájera to Grañon

Nájera to Grañon, I woke up at 6h00 as usual. No one else was up. I got myself ready and headed out by myself.

~6.5 hours
1X ibuprofen tablet; Genie laundry liquid; thongs; compression toe socks; hiking boots
cool and overcast in the early morning; warm and partly cloudy in the morning; midday sunny and warm; afternoon sunny and hot; later afternoon partly cloudy and cool
– Albergue: 5€ donation

The walk was alright by myself. I was again in thongs and felt ready to take on the day. I raced ahead, passing many pilgrims and politely saying ‘Ola, buen Camino.’ I probably did six or seven kilometers in the first hour and I kept goin through the first town. No rest for the weary.

In the back of my head, I didn’t want Sam and Matt to catch up. It was sort of a challenge to myself.

Being in thongs though, I really started to feel the ground a lot more. About ten kilometers in, I had an older man ahead of me, he was my visual marker and I wanted to pass him.

I caught up and we said our usual ‘Ola, buen Camino.’ This time though we struck up a conversation, in French! We walked and talked for a few kilometers, he started in France, somewhere called ‘Le Puy‘ in the Rhones-Alpes region. By this point he had crossed the 1000km point.

There is the Camino de Santiago, which is around 850km and then there is the Camino Le Puy which is ANOTHER 800km or so on the French side.

His friend caught up with us and I walked with him for the rest of the way to Santa Domingo. We passed my Mexican friend who had eleven blisters on his feet, and Yves stayed back with him.

We walked through a ghost town with a golf course. It showed how much the Spanish were expanding and how much the Global Financial Crisis affected them.

At the top of the hill, there was a table set up with food, fruit and cold drinks. The two guys tending this pop-up store were so nice and said I could have anything I wanted and pay the price I thought was fair. I was craving a coca cola and I had a euro in my pocket. Perfect!

I wanted to rest in the town, but Joël kept walking ahead. It gave me peaches to keep walking with him.

We kept walking until the edge of Santa Domingo. There he waited for Yves and I waited for Sam and Matt. I put on my boots for a change and they were feeling good. It was like back to Day 2, some discomfort but not a lot.

45 minutes later, everyone arrived together it was like fate. We walked into town where we had lunch. Someone must have heard my prayers, the bar we went to served hotdogs! Sam got a juicy burger which made me totes jelly.

It was only another 8km into the next town, Grañon, our final destination.

Aaron was eagerly awaiting our arrival. He sussed out the albergue with the best facilities but the guy told him to come back at 14h00.

We waited 10 minutes until 14h00. Knocked on the door and rang the bell. No one answered.

There was the church in town that offered mats on the floor to sleep. We decided to take this option, even though wifi was not on offer.

Arriving at the church, we climbed a (long) set of stairs and saw the host. Payment was by donation so we gave 5€ each. This included a mat on the floor, a shared meal together at 20h00 and access to bathroom facilities.

I had a shower but there was no hot water it was freezing cold. I then washed my shirts in the bathroom sink and hung them out on the hedges down in the courtyard, where I lay on the grass in the sun waiting for them to dry.

Before dinner, there were about twenty people helping to prepare the meal. I saw so many bags of potatoes and the biggest pot I have ever seen. Probably big enough for me to sit inside comfortably.

At dinner, the chaos of pilgrims all over the place meant that setting up was a nightmare. Someone rang the bell to announce dinner. Tables and chairs were laid out as well as plates and cutlery for probably 100 of us. There was a salad, potato soup with bits of chorizo if you were lucky, and a glass of red wine to wash it down. What a treat for us!

Before the meal was served, a group of Italians sang La Bamba but changed the chorus to ‘Peregrinos’. It was a really cool vibe.

As you can imagine after dinner was insane. A hundred pilgrims all trying to show their initiative and desire to help. In the end only a handful of people stayed to clean up the dishes. I helped stack the chairs and tables.

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