Camino de Santiago, Day 10
Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Belorado 13 Miles
This article is the ninth in my series of walking 500 miles on the Camino de Santiago with my husband Scott. Some articles will be only about one day of walking, and some may include a few days of walking, for the lengths will vary. To begin with the first article click here.
It was so quiet as we made our way out of town as the sun was beginning to rise. Not a soul was to be seen as we crossed St. Dominic’s famous bridge.
We crossed the highway and started down a dirt road. But, before we had gone 100 yards, a driver stopped on the highway and motioned for us to go in a different direction. The yellow arrow had been missed by our headlamp in the dark! Good thing the kind person stopped to let us know.
Walking on Day 10 was mainly on dirt farm roads, going up and down hills. We passed through small towns every few kilometers, which was nice. Of course, we stopped for café con leche and a pastry at one point in the morning. Scott and I never stopped for long, just enough time to use the restroom and enjoy our small breakfast. It always seemed more difficult for our bodies to start walking again after we had stopped for a break.
Oh the Pain!
Day 10 was shaping up to be the worst day for my feet on the Camino yet! I was miserable. To give my feet a break, I even wore my hiking sandals. I thought they would give my feet some relief. Unfortunately, the hiking sandals didn’t help, they actually slowed me down. So, I had to put my other shoes back on! The sandals were added to my mental list of items to be mailed home.
One of the best things about walking the Camino is that each day is so different from the previous day. There are always charming new towns with their own unique history. The terrain varies so much, and today it was not very impressive. We could see the highway most of the day, and we walked alongside fields of dead sunflowers. It would have been amazing to see when they were in their height of color!
The toughest part of the day was when we were getting close to a town and they had put in a concrete road leading up to the town. I called it “the concrete mile of misery.” Cobblestones and concrete are the worst thing for foot pain, so it was pure torture.
As I was looking at the perfectly clean expanse of concrete, I wished we could write our names on it. I wanted a witness to my misery, so someone would know I had been there. That I was doing this. Maybe that’s how people feel who leave graffiti on walls in the city; they want to be witnessed having been there.
Making New Friends
As we walked, we came upon a woman severely limping along the road. We said our “Buen Camino” and kept moving along. About 100 yards ahead of her we started chatting with a man named Ted. He was telling us stories of his Camino thus far, and the crazy adventure it had been. He explained that it was his wife limping behind us, so we stopped to meet her and walked together for a while. Eve was fighting knee problems, but was so strong (or stubborn) that she kept walking each day.
We spent an hour or so together before Scott and I needed to move on. It was fun making new friends on the Camino, especially making it easy to communicate in English, as they were from Dallas, Texas.
Scott and I entered the old section of Belorado and split up to see if we could find a place to stay. We met back up at the main plaza and neither of us had any luck finding a hostel or pension. I had seen an albergue, but we decided to keep looking for a better option.
A local man directed us to a different neighborhood, just off of the Camino. It was mainly inhabited by locals, but we found Pension Toni on the second floor of an apartment building. Our host was very nice and showed us the available room she had. There were four beds and a sun porch! No one else roomed with us and we were able to dry our laundry on the porch quite quickly.
We asked our host where the nearest post office (Correos) would be, and she explained that it was just downstairs. But, as luck would have it, the post office had closed for the day twenty minutes ago. It didn’t reopen until 10:00 a.m. the next morning, by which point we would be halfway to our next destination!
We felt a little bit frustrated, but not really surprised. We were optimistic about mailing some things home soon.
The first item on our list in Belarado was to find the pharmacy and buy more bandages. I also needed a needle to pop my blisters. So far, to drain them I had used my nail clippers.
We found the pharmacy, but because it was 3:00 in the afternoon, it was closed for siesta and would reopen at 5:00 p.m.
It was getting chilly so we went to a restaurant for lunch and coffee. Unfortunately, they weren’t serving food, so we only had coffee.
By this time, I was starving, so we walked down the street to another bar/restaurant. I walked right up to the bartender and asked her for a cup of soup. She said yes, and brought me out a huge bowl of vegetable, lentil soup with thick chunks of ham fat floating on top. She brought us each a glass of wine and we sat and shared our soup. We were in heaven, it was delicious and really hit the spot. We were so thankful she fed us!
Unfortunately, after 10 days on the Camino, we weren’t adapting to the siesta culture very well. It was so ingrained in our behavior from home, to just be able to go into any restaurant or store during most times of day to get what we wanted or needed. It was really challenging us and we wondered if in future days we would be able to change our habits and adjust.
After resting our feet for the afternoon, we went back to the pharmacy. I got everything, except the needle. We went next door to a small grocery and they didn’t have needles either. The woman working tried to help me and took me out onto the sidewalk and pointed way down the street to a clothing store. With our limited Spanish, we were able to figure out they didn’t have needles either. I would be back to using clippers to relieve the pressure of my blisters again.
The locals in Belarado were so helpful and kind. We appreciated the time they took to help us and they were so patient with the language barrier.
Day 10, 13 miles