Tosantos to Ages

We left this morning after an interesting night. We slept on the floor on thin mats. Like yoga mats. It was cold. House is old. It was restored by pilgrims. 

Amazingly slept quite well. Slept in my down jacket again. Been quite a useful piece of clothing! 

There was no rush. We were forbidden to wake before 6h30am. Enjoyed breakfast and headed out. Pace slowed. Was prepared to see how day unfolded. 

Gorgeous walk through such varied landscape again. Came across a special forest area. Gill had given me a small stone before I left. She asked me to place it somewhere. I looked at this forest. Green and lush. Ferns and oak trees.  It was a magical place. We decided to stop. Enjoy the cool shade under the tree canopy. Write and just enjoy taking time out in nature. People passed.  Some took photos. It was so good just to stop and enjoy nature. Process here and now. Be present. Allow ourselves the time and space. 

It made the day longer. It was hot. But it was ok. We had planned to stop at Ages. The town before was full so we had to walk further. Another 4 km. not a problem. We were good. Felt good and had energy to continue.

The town of St Juan de Ortega has a chapel that is dedicated to women who have infertility issues. There was a lovely chapel with a place to light a candle. It felt good to light my first candle. 

   
         

   

  

Typical breakfast. Tortilla, pan and cafe.

  

  

  

        

Gill gave me this stone. Decided to leave it in this magical forest.
    
Stopped in this enchanted forest to write and chill. it was hot but the forest was cool.
  

David and Joan came past. They have walked from their house just outside Paris.
    
Local Spanish woman providing a few refreshments including rooibos tea!
              

 

Beautiful clouds in the afternoon.
  
    
Judy taking photos of flowers again!
   

 

Stopped to light a candle at cathedral in St Juan. History with infertility.
  
      
Approaching Ages. It was a long day but good. St Juan was full so we had to walk on regardless. Another 4km at the end of the day.
   

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Santo Domingo de la Calzada  to Tosantos 

We left around 7am after a cafe solo. Good start to the day. Morning was fresh. Lovely for walking. Countryside was lovely and green. 

Had time to think about the journey. Process the time to date. There is this mad crazy race to Santiago. This is not what it is supposed to be. This is the Camino. Supposed to be a time of reflection. Taking time. Slowing down. There are some folk who are up at 5am. Tearing around. Russling packets. Trying to get to the next place. 

Made me think about what this journey is all about. Yes we are all traveling west. But this is a journey inward. Only possible when you slow down. 

   

Church in Granon
            

   

  

            
   

  

  

  

  

  

  

This is a symbol of power.
Don’t stop! Keep moving.

   

   

  

  

  

  

Real pilgrim experience!

  

    We arrived in Tosantos. This albergue was more spiritual. True Camino spirit. Donation versus a rate. They provided a cooked communal meal in the evening and breakfast the next morning. 

We just happened to be in town for the Virgin. Mary celebration. This village has a chapel built into the mountain and a church in the village. On 30 May each year they bring Virgin Mary down to church for summer. Change her clothes.  The community return her on 8 Sep each year to mountain chapel for winter.  Big celebration. Parade in village. We were lucky to be part of this. 

Post this celebration we had communal dinner.  Sang songs each from our region.  I was only person from Africa at table. 30 for dinner. Sang God Bless Africa. Then had prayer session in tiny chapel on top floor of house. Each nation said something. English, Spanish, French, Italian, South Korea. They have this ritual where you can write message for other pilgrims about your journey. Why are you doing it? It was special to hear all messages and read one. 

Mine was a Kiwi woman. Talked about knowledge. To gain more you add. Then talked about wisdom. To gain more you deduct. This is what you realise on this journey. You don’t need much and all your basic needs are always met. 

I was clear about my reason. When I get back I will be ready for a new puppy. A new pero. Spoke to Jose Luis about this. He told me to walk with my eyes open. Keep ears peeled to listen to any messages. Walk in silence and invite Spirit into my life. 

Was an emtional time. Woke up feeling a big shift. Seemed to have shifted gears. No more rush. Allow more time. Smell the roses. Look at the signs. Pay attention. Be present. 

Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Yesterday was a great day. Visiting the extra 2 monasteries was a highlight. The day was long and we only got back to town around 8pm. Then had to find a place to eat. By the time we ordered it was around 9pm. Most of these Albergues close at 10pm. It was a rush to get back in time. Paz introduced us to more local specialties. Had a delicious supper. 3 courses. Euro 9. 

We got off to an early start this morning. It was cool. Good walking weather. Stood at the Monasterio Santa Maria de la Real and watched the swallows dipping and diving in the cool morning air. Swallows dancing all over the sky. Climbed over the hill at the back of town and the countryside opened up. 

Today was the most beautiful walk again. Plenty of green fields. Wheat and grains and then vineyards. I love the order of agricultural land. The patches of colour. The shapes. The lines. All this really appeals to me. Once again the spring flowers were glorious. Red poppies all over. Yellows, reds, blues and purples. All gorgeous. 

 

Monasterio Santa Maria de la Real
  
Still a long way to go!
    
We follow these yellow arrows each day!
    
Azofra
  
We saw this tiny patch of pink poppies today.
  

This delightful father and daughter from Ireland.
  
Cape Talk 567. Could not resist.
  
Ciruena
   

   
  

This cathedral has chickens in a coop in the rear end. Read about the Miracle of the Cock.
  
Symbols again. Shells, calabash and the chicken.
 

The main cathedral is once again impressive. But this little one across the square was simple and peaceful and good for a quiet moment. 

   

Entrance to Cathedral y Exposicion
  
The cathedral houses some chickens in a coop. Town is full of chicken memorabilia.
       

  

Just enjoyed some red wine and pinchos on the main square. Lots of families with small children enjoying the sunshine in the evening. Tried delicious local food. Black ink squid. Yummy!

The Spanish still do love the siesta. But these little towns come alive at night. Problem is most auberges close at 10pm. 

   

  

   

    

We have now been walking for 11 days.  The more one walks the more this feels like a continuous blur. Days melt into each other. We have passed across so many varied landscapes. The change in scenery is wonderful. The history so interesting. The number of collosill cathedrals extraordinary. 

Suso and Yuso Monasteries 

Took a taxi to the next valley. What an incredible monastery. So peaceful, green and bird song all around. Time slows. 

  
 

Took bus up to Suso Monastery. Gorgeous. Dates from 6th Century. Has long history. Many influences.

   

             

Then went to Yuso Monastery. Incredible history of Spanish language and has an uninterrupted history of monks for 1400 years. 

   
        

On spring and autumn equinox the sun forms a perfect circle through the window and disc onto the floor.
 
Optical illusion looking at this painting. Painted on copper. Oils fixed with garlic.
       
These ancient books weigh 60kg each. Weight of me!
         

Naravette to Najera

Left early this morning. We wanted to get to our destination early so that we could get to the monastery in the next valley. 

This is wine country. 

 

Long shadows on our early start. Judy, Paz and I making our own Camino sign!
    
      
Paz enjoying the sunshine!
 
Alto de San Anton. This structure is used to store grapes at harvest. Cool inside.
      
   

Viana to Navarette

Set off again. Another 20km or do. Once again a bit warmer. No need for a jacket. Countryside started to change early on. Left behind the wide open spaces. 

Spent most of today walking through the city of Logrono. City walking. Popped into the church. Some are not always open. Symbols everywhere you look of Camino. 

But the best news of the day was that I found a Post Office that was open. It was 10am by the time we got there. I was so excited to be getting rid of the stuff I no longer wanted to carry. Had something to eat. 

Thought about making space. Started to pose question to myself about how much is enough? You need very little on Camino. One walking outfit, one to change into when done, rain gear, something warm, 4 socks, 3 undies, sleeping bag and liner in case it gets very cold, towel, minimal toiletries and medical kit. One pair walking shoes. Two not necessary. Crocs for shower and chilling. Camera or phone. Money. Passport. Not much else. 

 

Calabash, staff and stars representing Santiago.
  
  
This symbol looks more like goose foot.
    
Crossing the river into Logrono.
    

  

  

   

  

Walked past and into the church above. Santiago Real. In Spain, they refer to the saint as Santiago, we generally read about St James. All the same. 

Passed through this subway under the road. 

   
  

 

Alto de la Grajera. Recreational space for fishing, running, cycling and kids play area. Outside city of Logrono.