Day 20 – Nájera to Cirueña

  • Distance today:                      9.6 mi
  • Distance Camino 2017:    135.4 mi

We encountered a steep climb up the mountain behind Nájera at the beginning of our walk and a gradual, steep incline carrying us from the valley up into Cirueña, but otherwise the terrain was not an issue for our longest walk since we began nearly 3 weeks ago.

Shortly after our breakfast stop in Asofra,

Jim chatted for a few minutes with Gary from England who was walking 25-30 km per day for only a week, as he has done the last few years. With him were his daughter, a college student, and his two cousins.

We stopped for a second cafe con leche and zuma  naranja at a golf course for an unusual 19th hole Camino experience to conclude our walk.

Today was much of what we enjoy about the Camino. The rolling farmland of Rioja, extending out in all directions from a winding seemingly endless Camino soothed the senses. The dark green rows of fruit filled grape vines randomly patched among already harvested fields of grain and occasional, occurring lighter green olive orchards formed a comforting quilt. The sounds of rustling water in the open irrigation trenches, the gentle rhythm of crunching footsteps and an occasional dog bark punctuated the soundless void that was relaxing and meditative and sustaining.

The cloudy sky with showers off in the distance and a gusty wind threatened rain most of the morning, but provided only a minor threat and instead made us thankful and satisfied as we completed today’s not hard, not easy but satisfying daily journey.

We arrived in Cirueña (pop. 127) at 11:45 and we able check-in to Casa Victoria (42€), a home that rents out 3-4 nice rooms for guests. After completing our chores we had a sandwich for lunch at the “only bar in town”, literally, then had a nice relaxing afternoon.

For dinner we joined a group at the Albergue Victoria which is owned by the same family that owns ours. Our fellow pilgrims all spoke a little English.

One lady, originally from Peru was with her American husband and they live in Connecticut. The others were from Brazil, Italy and Ireland.

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