Monday, December 09, 2013

Camino 2013 - Day 15: Azofra To Grañon

Day 15 was another repeat stage.  This time we stopped along the way to do some sightseeing.

Leaving Azofra at first morning's light.
The first stop was in the town of Cirueña.  Last time this place was a ghost town.  This time is was just half a ghost town.  There were some children playing and the golf course was open.  This may be a sign of the improving economy but, the two young men we passed on the way into town giving away food and drink to the pilgrims for a donation was a sign that things weren't quite back to normal.  I wondered why they didn't price the food and drink but I think they probably get more money from donations - people almost always overpay ... I know I did.

A bicycle pilgrim's sculpture with a water fountain.
We stopped at the golf course clubhouse for some breakfast before continuing on to Santo Domingo de la Calzada.  Last time I just stopped briefly here before continuing on to Grañon with the rest of my Camino family.  This time Gv and I stopped at the cathedral to see the chicken.

Inside the Santo Domingo de la Calzada Cathedral.
The cathedral is famous for a miracle supposedly performed by Santo Domingo.  The story is told on a pamphlet given out by the cathedral.  A boy and his parents were walking to Santiago de Compostela.  In Santo Domingo, the daughter of an inn keeper fell in love with the boy but he did not reciprocate.  In retaliation she framed him for theft and the mayor of the town hung the boy.  His parents continued on the Santiago de Compostela.  On their way back they found their son still hanging and alive - Santo Domingo had brought him back to life.  The parents ran to the Mayor's house to ask for their son to be cut down.  The Mayor, who had sat down for dinner, said "That boy is as alive as these two roast chickens we are about to eat."  Upon saying this the chickens sprouted feathers and beaks and began crowing.  From that day two chickens are kept in the cathedral.  We toured the cathedral.  The rooster crowed while we were inside.  I bought a chicken magnet to add to my collection.

Our destination of the day was one of my favorite albergues.  Some of my fondest memories from my first Camino are from Grañon.  This is where my Camino family had really come together.  I was afraid it would not be the same without a Camino family but I had to stop here anyway.

A few things had changed since last time.  You couldn't go up in the bell tower as you could last time.  The laundry drying was moved from inside the church to a vacant lot a couple blocks away from the albergue.  These are all minor things.  The feel of the place was the same.  Warm, comforting, homey.  Even with this my mood went down hill during the afternoon and early evening.  Maybe it was the lack of a real family or maybe it was just a lack of food.  When the pilgrims gathered to participate in a new ritual - the pilgrims serenade the local bakery owner so that she would donate bread for the communal meal (I'd bought a bag of bakery cookies that afternoon and they were delicious.) - my mood was a bit grey and I stayed away, sitting in the sun in the garden behind the church instead.

The Grañon church/albergue.
The communal meal started and I helped set up the tables.  There were three hospitaleros and one of the volunteers was a chef from Italy.  He prepared an octopus stew that was really good.  The dinner made me feel better and a spark of Camino family camaraderie emerged.  We talked to a very nice Japanese girl (Ny) and her Korean friend.  They had met on the Camino.  He hardly spoke English.  She talked to him in English with a patience of a saint.  It was fun to watch them interact.  We ran into a lot of couples who had met on the Camino and were walking together.

This is also where Gv met her stalker.  He didn't look like he was all there.  His teeth were crooked.  He had starring, piercing eyes.  He was hard to understand when he spoke.  He liked to stare at Gv.  Naturally drove her nuts.

We were getting ready for bed.  The only thing that was missing here was someone playing the piano and/or guitar.  That's when we heard a beautiful voice singing.  It was Ny.  She was playing guitar and singing a Jason Mraz song ("I'm Yours").  Grañon was now complete.  It wasn't quite the same but the underlying feeling was there.  My mood turned content.

The only downside to Grañon were the sleeping pads and no pillows.  They had blankets but only one per bed and I ended up using my one blanket as a pillow.  Fortunately I had my warm  baselayer bottoms.  I'd wondered if I would use them at all this Camino but in Grañon they kept me warm.  I ended up sleeping in my baselayer and my merino wool half-zip and I was just fine - all roasty toasty.  

Pictures can be found in my 2013 Camino de Santiago Google Photos album.

Total Distance on Day 15: 23 km ( 14.29 Miles)
Total Distance Walked: 340 km (211.27 Miles)

Approximate Track of the day's hike.
[Click on map for a larger version]

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