Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Belorado.
Day 4 on The Camino.
Thank God It’s Not Raining.
We had a little coffee and breakfast before starting out around 8am.
We were so relieved that it wasn’t raining when we started. In fact there were a few patches of blue sky. It was still cold and windy, but Kandace and I both had an extra layer on and had managed to get most of our things dry the night before so we were happy.
We started out walking in a larger group, but everyone else got ahead of us when we stopped in Granon (about 7km into the day). We had coffee and tortilla in a cute little bar, and on a tiny shelf near the bar there were four seashells and two hats for sale. The seashell is the sign of St James, so most pilgrims hang a shell on their backpacks (You can’t ever see ours in photos because our rain covers are ALWAYS on). These were the first hats we had seen since Kandace had lost hers. We hadn’t managed to find one the day before, and this one was so cute, so Kandace bought it along with our coffees.
We didn’t stop for long because we had a bit further to go on this day. We wanted to stay ahead while it wasn’t pouring down rain. And though it rained here and there, we never had the same thrashing rain from the day before, so we were in generally good spirits all day.
In the afternoon, the path seemed to hug the local highway a good bit, which was a little loud. Also it was fairly dull going, just a path between a field and road for long stretches.
We didn’t stop again until we reached the edge of town. We were both getting cold and needed a bathroom, so we popped in a cafe. I ordered a tea and we ate what was left of our dinner from the night before. As we came out of the cafe and near our hostel, the sun started to shine. It was so delightful. It seemed like years since we had actually felt the sun on our faces.
And as we reached the door of the pilgrims’ albergue in Belorado, a dog came out and greeted Kandace. Between the sun and the dog, Kandace was insanely happy. She spent at least the next hour with that dog. (She was missing her own dog back home.)
This hostel actually ended up being one of our very favorites. The host was incredibly welcoming and friendly. We paid 10 extra euros to have our own room and he carried both our backpacks up to the third floor for us.
We immediately took hot showers and then dumped our backpacks out everywhere, taking full advantage of all our space.
Because it was winter, the albergue wasn’t serving dinner, so after we had settled in and cleaned up, we walked into town to get food for dinner. We loved the grocery store in this town. I noticed in a lot of the stores in Spain that you don’t choose your own produce. Instead, you would tell an attendant what you wanted and then they would bag up your two apples or your carrots or whatever. For me, this usually entailed a lot of pointing and signaling, but in Belorado, the girl who was attending spoke perfect English and was super helpful. She was handling the produce the bread and deli, which was about a third of the little grocery store. But she was very efficient, and even recommended which bread we should eat with our wine and cheese. While she was helping us, she noticed that some of our fellow pilgrims were starting to touch the produce, so she finished us up and went off quickly to go set them straight. We felt like she was really running the whole place, and I could have stayed in the store a while longer just watching her assist everyone.
Back at the albergue, we ended up finding lots of folks who we hadn’t seen in a while. The French couple we met the first night and the Italian bikers from our second night were both there. We figured they had gotten way ahead of us, but the weather seemed to have set everyone back.
It was like a big reunion at dinner. Everyone shared their food and we even had a special Chocolate + Banana + Creme Fraiche Dessert that Tony made after discovering that the Koreans had never before tried freshly whipped cream. It was a big hit.
While we were sitting around the table, it started to snow outside, so everyone began checking the weather and confirmed that yes, it was also supposed to be snowing the next day. Tony suggested that since the following day was Sunday, we could take a break from the snow by going to Mass in one of the towns along the way, which we thought was a great idea.
Kandace and I had built in a couple of extra days, so as we were going back to our room, we talked about how we could do a short day if the weather was really brutal. There’s no hurry. We were laughing as we went to bed, probably partly because I kept hitting my head on the low wooden beams in our room. But also, rehearsing the events of the day before we went to sleep always made us laugh.