Homer's Travels: Camino De Santiago - Navarrete To Azofra

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Camino De Santiago - Navarrete To Azofra

I'd thought about doing a second short day and stopping at Nájera, 9.94 miles (16.00 km), but instead I went on to Azofra.

My ankle was even worse today.  On top of that the Camino was starting to be a little urban and the scenery was not very inspiring.  When I passed through Nájera I saw a plaque describing the battle between Roland and the giant Farragut, names I've heard of but knew little about.  I told myself that I would read up on this (which I haven't done yet).

In Nájera I bought a Coke and my energy picked up.  This would become a pilgrim trick.  When you were within an hour or so from your destination drinking a Coke (leaded, not unleaded) would give you that extra little boost you needed to get there.  You had to watch out because drinking it too early would often result in a crash before you arrived.

The Camino took what felt like a circuitous route through the city but, after looking at my GPS track, it wasn't that circuitous.  I remember thinking I was lost so that's probably why I felt that way.  I also wanted to stop at a pharmacy and, for some reason, passed by several  without stopping.  I guess I was in special form this day.

I reached Azofra and did my chores.  In the process I discovered that my left big toe appeared infected.  I've lost my toe nails before but this time the big toe developed a blister under the nail.  It was kind of gross - the nail had a yellowish hue - but it didn't really hurt as I walked - more bark than bite.  In Azofra I noticed a definite redness around the nail, especially the nail bed, which suggested to me that it was infected.  I took a needle to the blister and drained the fluid from under the nail.  The good thing was the fluid was mostly clear so I thought it might not actually be infected after all.  I wrapped it up so it wouldn't gross out people.

The albergue at Azofra turned out to be quite posh.  The pilgrims described it as a resort.  The beds were arranged two in a room and there were no bunk beds.  Each two person room had a locker and even had a door that could be closed.  I ended up paired with a fairly quiet gentleman who only moderately snored.  Adding to the resort atmosphere was the truly wonderful spring weather and the cool wading pool.

I spent the afternoon alternating between icing my ankle and soaking it in the wading pool (being sure to keep my toe out of the water).  The cold wading pool water felt a lot better than the ice.  I did anger the hospitalera a bit.  When I hung my clothes out to dry  I took up too much line.  She started taking my stuff off the line and, when I tried to take the now dried clothes to free up the line, she wouldn't give them to me.  It turned a little heated - mainly due to the language barrier.  I apologized to her after everything cooled down - I was her guest after all - and we became instant friends.

That evening EN, GV and I went out to eat.  We came back to the albergue and joined a group at the table and enjoyed the people around us.  I think this is where the group of people I came to know and love came together with the addition of ST (Australia), SP (Canada), CL (Columbia) and her best friend whose name escapes me (I thought he was her husband for a while), GU (Italy) and her Mom LS.  I can't say I was close to all of them but they became people I was happy to see along the Camino.  Everyone had enjoyed this day at the resort and we all were relaxed ... many helped by the four bottles of cheap wine on the table.

Day nine was uneventful ... a typical day on the Camino.  The ankle was a distraction that I pushed out of my mind as best I could.  I was surrounded by good people and I didn't want anything to spoil my adventure.

Total Distance: 14.20 Miles (22.85 km)
Total Time: 5 hours 27 minutes
Total Elevation Up: 1,788 ft (544.98 m)
Total Elevation Down: 1,656 ft (504.75 m)

[Click on map for a larger version]