On the road again

Day 9 – rest time is over.

I suppose it was the desire to move along and warm room contributed to a less than ideal sleep.  Ya, I still got 7+ hours, but not as restful as sometimes.  Despite that, I was up for breakfast at 7 and put the door right at 8 AM.  

It took about a 60 minutes to truly get outside the city and onto the more rural trails – that’s 3-6 kilometers depending on how I walk.  Though the watch said I was slower today, by the end of the day the watch calculation of distance was substantially less than the book & map distance.  Hmmm… So I end up at the pension today earlier than I expected.  Not that I’m complaining.  The walking felt good, so the day off really did help.  That said, I’ve got some long stretches before I take another day off (I’m thinking Leon – there’s a lot of interesting stuff in Bergos, including a museum of mankind, but Burgos will come too soon.  If I’d only allowed more time.  If, if, if. Just means a trip back.

Once leaving the city and a really nice park system, we were quickly in the vineyards. In fact, we were in the vineyards all day – broken by a few groves of olive trees.  The rocky grey soil in the earlier stretches has given way to red-brown soil that’s ideal for grapes. The yellow fields of Canola have given way to vineyards as far as the eye can see (again, with olives from time to time.  I have no doubt that some of the wine that I’ll consume in the future will have come from some of these vines.  Several varieties, but Tempranillo has been mentioned by several.

The cloudy skies quickly gave way to sun and it got quite warm.  There is little shade and long stretches between water refill stations.

I suppose I should make a note here about normal bodily functions.  One needs to stay hydrated in this weather, and one really needs sunscreen.  There aren’t a lot of water fonts to refill bottles…. And perhaps more importantly there are WC facilities only in the towns (and then usually if you buy food at a bar or restaurant).  So that really leaves one option, and we all pretty much know what it is.  But the lack of shade also portends the challenge of finding a suitable place to “duck behind a tree or bush”.  And the problem is harder for women – the plumbing difference makes it more of a challenge than for men.  So… carry TP on the road and remember this as you plan your trip. If you do carry TP, please also carry a plastic bag or other container to carry out the used TP – I’ve seen too many places already where the ground it totally, completely and rather nastily littered with TP.

Anyway, I ended up drinking less than a liter of water on the road today.  And another half-liter at the first font I found entering Najera, my stop for the night.  Then another 1.5 liters when I checked in.  All’s well now, but tomorrow is another long day with few towns.  

The hotel is a pension in Najera.  Nice folks, nice room, well kept, and breakfast will be at 7 for me.  Nothing fancy, but I travel better when fed.

I know the next few segments have limited accommodations and with the crowds on the trail I decided to book the next 3 nights.  I’m concerned about the few days after Burgos, but I’ve still got a bit of time to figure that out.

Got a chance to tour the monastery in town – more famous than I knew, a lot of early kings in Spain are entombed here.  And even a cave for the Virgin.

A pilgrim menu meal for dinner, now off to bed.  8 AM start again tomorrow for another 28 km.