Ventosa - Najera - Azofra - Ciruena
As expected, we enjoyed our night in Ventosa in the lovely Albergue San Saturnino. We had a 'united nations' dinner at the village's only restaurant with two peregrinos from Korea and one from each of Holland, Austria, Argentina and Brazil. Of course, they all spoke English, at least to some extent, which made life very easy for us and a lot of fun.
In bed by 9.30, we enjoyed a restful night, spoilt again in our cosy twin room, with enormous bathroom complete with walk in shower. The rule of the albergue, as with many others is silence between 10pm and 6 or 7am, so that peregrinos can get a good night's sleep. Unfortunately they can't enforce a rule against snoring, which is why we always ask whether there we any twin rooms.
The other practice, which seems to be catching on in more and more albergues, is to wake the peregrinos with music. This is a signal that it's ok to get up, turn on the light and start rustling around in your pack. This morning at 6am we were woken by Gregorian chants, followed by Corelli. It was a great start to the day. We heard from others who had stayed at the municipal albergue in Roncesvalles that they were woken by 'live' music with one of the volunteers walking through each dorm room, strumming the guitar and singing 'Wake up, little Susie'. The peregrinos loved it! The Camino is a place of many delightful traditions, old and new.
We left Ventosa around 7.30 this morning, our usual time. The sky was a little overcast but rain looked unlikely. We didn't check the temperature but we would guess about 3 or 4 degrees at that time of the morning.
Today, the landscape changed again but, like yesterday, the terrain was kind and the day was largely uneventful. We were blessed with dry conditions, but we walked into a headwind for most of the day. For the last 3-4 hours it was quite a struggle. With our matching jackets, hoods down, hats and buffs covering all but our eyes, and black gloves to complete the picture, we fancied we looked like the 'magenta ninjas'. Quite a sight.
Jill took some great videos of the incredible wind. We are experimenting with adding the videos to the blog - but haven't worked it out yet. We don't know if its possible but if it is, we'll add to a later post. Coach, you might need to add prevailing wind and wind chill factor to your weather whispering.
We walked 'just' 25 kms today - with the headwind and wind chill we were tired and happy to set our packs down at the village of Ciruena. While the village is unremarkable, our Casa is delightful. We love our large and homely room, and we have taken advantage of washing and drying most of our 'wardrobe'.
We had the idea to have a shorter day today and again tomorrow, as we want our resting place tomorrow night to be at the Refugio Acacio y Orietta in the tiny village of Viloria de la Rioja. This was a special memory from Jenny's 2011 Camino. There is room for no more than 10 peregrinos, as guests of Acacio and Orietta in their home. As there are no other accommodation options in Viloria, we rang ahead today to ask them to 'keep' two places for us, just in case.
On the way, we will spend time exploring the ancient town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada. This 11th century town is intimately linked to the Camino, owing its inspiration to Saint Dominic of the Road, so called because he effectively dedicated his life to improving the physical route for pilgrims and was responsible for building many of the roads and bridges that we pass along.
We know we write this often, but we are so appreciative of the emails and comments you are sending our way. Its gives us great encouragement and a strong connection to home. We know some of you have persevered in working out how to post your comments, and now you are up and running and we appreciate your efforts. We are thrilled that our family and friends are sharing our adventure. We have so much support we don't always have time to respond individually, what with the walking and all! We know you will understand.
Thank you tonight for your emails and comments to Kev and Elaine, Michael, Lindy, David, Rosanne, Ian, Gemma, Jeanette, Bill and Lilly, Libby, Kris, Ann and Sinead (our new Irish Camino friend from just a few days ago).
As we sign off this post, our friends from North Carolina, Glenn and Sheryl, have arrived. They were a town behind us last night but, as often happens on The Camino, you reconnect along The Way. We'll enjoy catching up with them at dinner tonight.
Jenny xx and Jill xx