Day 17 – Nájera to Cirueña

Walked today: 9.9 miles

Walked Camino 2019: 120.7 miles

It was only 53F when we walked out of Nájera this morning at 7:15.

The mountain that forms the back wall of many of the buildings in the old town was our first obstacle of the morning.

Buildings backing up to cliffs of Alto Nájera
Following Camino markers out if town
End of the road ahead and rejoining Camino

The brick and stone streets ran out and gave way to a steep dirt path out of town and up to Alto Nájera.

As the case with many of these climbs, upon reaching the top, we’re rewarded with a view, either before us or behind.

working our way up Alto Nájera
near the pinnacle
heading down into the vineyards and grain fields
heading down into the rolling fields

This morning the reward was a colorful landscape of rolling hills of green vineyards and harvested grain fields. They formed a quilt that kept us looking left and right not wanting to miss anything.

The smooth, unchallenging dirt walking surface and cool air and a slight refreshing breeze put all the focus on the colors and patterns around us.

Unusual pilgrim formation ahead … Straight line?!

approaching Asofra

After about 4 miles we stopped for breakfast in Asofra. We stayed here in 2014 in the unique albergue with all semi-private twin bed stalls with saloon like swinging doors at 7€/person. No bunk beds, no noisy sleep areas and an open shelf to put your stuff.

The other thing that made Asofra special was what we called the “tractor ambiance” at the Seville Bar. Outside seating is along Calle Mayor, the very narrow main street. During dinner we shared our seating area with passing tractors coming home from the vineyards.

Ah shucks, before we had our cafe con leche.

We had hoped that we’d have a “tractor” breakfast this morning, but our timing was off. One passed by before we got our order and all was quiet until just as we left, two tardy tractors ushered us out of town.

We walked past the Rollo of Azofra, which is a 16th century boundary marker.

Rollo of Asofra

Such markers originate from the Middle Ages, a period in which small villages were converted into important urban enclaves and consequently needed there own justice instruments. On this occasion, the stone marker is in the shape of a Rollo sword (an ancient symbol of justice) and was intended to deter potential offenders from committing a crime within the boundaries of the marker.

Midway we walked along an autovia, but with enough separation to minimize noise, etc.
A few miles later the path moved back into the fields with no end in site.
The “ too good to be true” walk, headed upward
…. and after almost two more miles we finally reached the top

and breathed a sigh of relief at the flat path ahead

We walked toward a modern development of sorts and to our left was a beautiful green 18 hole golf course, on the Camino!

It being a little after 11:00, we missed our tee time but stopped anyway at the 19th hole for a late morning snack and a much deserved rest.

We walked the final 3/4 mile to Casa Victoria (44€), a casa rural in Cirueña, and checked in at noon. Francisco remembered us from our two prior visits.

stairway to our room on third floor.
Beautiful antique furniture and real beams
Beautiful beams, but low, had to duck on way into ensuite bathroom

view outside our room window, patio, clothes lines, etc.

Cirueña (pop.131) is a favorite stopping spot for us, having stayed here in 2014, 2017 and now 2019. It is a home with 15 beds in 4 or 5 rooms, no bunk beds, all rooms beautifully decorated, w/shared or private bath.

We think its a real bargain, upscale in all aspects and very comfortable.

In addition to clothes washing and drying availability, it has a small kitchen for preparing a simple meal and a choice of drinks conveniently kept in a fridge for 1-5€.

A bar is across the small village square from the Casa and has food all day. A pilgrims dinner and breakfast is available a block walk away at the Casa Victoria albergue, which we understand is owned and operated by a relative.

We signed up for the 7:00 p.m. albergue pilgrim dinner (9€ each) when we checked in.

And if you bring your clubs, an 18 hole golf course is a 3/4 mile walk away with reasonable green fees and cart rental.

We walked down to the albergue to the pilgrim dinner at 6:45.

The pilgrim dinner was a nice experience. We shared a spaghetti/pork/chicken dinner with the 12 pilgrims staying at the albergue.

A photo of 10 of the 14 pilgrims at dinner tonight

And even with such a large group and a long table, we were able to have interesting chats with pilgrims from Brazil, Austria, New Zealand and Germany. We wish we’d had more time to get to know them better. Maybe we’ll see them again.

Another nice finish to a day on the Camino.