Camino de Santiago – Day 8
Walked from: Azofra
Walked to: Viloria de la Rioja
After the wonderful hostel last night, I had a great walk today, mainly because of the incredible sunrise (see picture), the great lunch and then dinner (for the latter, again, see picture) and the excellent company (thank you Daria, Darco and Florian) as I we made our way through the Spanish countryside. Oh, and because I got to visit my favourite church in Spain again – the one in Santo Domingo La Calzada. Who wouldn’t love a church that has it’s very own henhouse?
What I’m learning on this trip is that it’s the tiny villages – practically hamlets – that give me the greatest pleasure. After nearly 20 years of living in London, there’s something utterly brilliant about rocking up for the afternoon/evening in a sleepy village with one place to sleep and one place to eat (sometimes the same place), and nothing to do but practice my rubbish Spanish on patient locals, enjoy a glass of the local red, and talk about the day of walking we’ve had, and the day to come, with fellow ‘pilgrims’ – a few of whom, to be honest, are a bit nuts…
Dinner tonight was a particular pleasure, and my favourite meal of the trip so far. The genial hosts at Parada Viloria in Viloria de la Rioja (which isn’t actually in Rioja at all – I left that province for Castilla y León earlier today) cooked up the most fantastic paella, accompanied by salad, a couple of bottles of local red wine, and the great company of a lovely family from near Alicante, who are walking the Camino, a week at a time, each year – and at one heck of a pace. After an afternoon where the hot afternoon sun bounced off the white stone pathway, the hostel was an absolute oasis. Just perfect… apart from the ubiquitous snorers in the dorm room, of course!