[Lopez de Heredia backed by Cathedral Santo Domingo]
Total Distance: 15 km
Total Time: 4h
Total Euro: 23/person
Route: Azofra to Santo Domingo de la Calzada
I had fully intended for my post today to simply read, “I have started reading Game of Thrones,” which honestly would have been enough. That is, until we met a dashing English cowboy, almost got initiated into an albergue cult and reminded of just how old and creepy Catholicism is.
I asked to stop and rest at the top of a hill, only to find a man on horseback coming from the opposite direction. He asked where we were from in Spanish and when we faltered, he asked again in English. Then he asked for a favor and E replied, “What do you need?”. Without missing a beat, the English cowboy responded, “Not that silly hat, for sure.” E and I laughed good naturedly and the cowboy explained that his bank card want working and that he could use a Euro (in retrospect we’re pretty sure this was some sort of social experiment). E gave him one and then the cowboy proceeded to talk to us about the tragedy of mass Spanish agriculture. He seemed to be good at reading people and I will admit that by the end I was quite smitten. As his departing question he asked what we did for a living. “Food and babies,” he repeated, “I like that.” And then with a tip of his hat he was gone.
We reached our albergue a few kilometers later. Upon entering we were down where to remove our shoes and place our trekking poles and then we were down into a large room where several other unshod pilgrims were sitting in a U. There was a carafe of wine in the center of the U and I could tell that E was about to cut and run for the door just as much as I was. We were offered flood and refreshment and we prayed they weren’t laced with LSD or poison of some sort. Eventually we figured out that we were in a waiting area of sorts and moments later were ushered off to our room. The Casa Santo is large – maybe 50 people to a room, but the facilities are clean and the price is by donation. We finished our chores and went in search of a bottle of Lopez de Heredia, a wine from a vineyard in this region. E chatted up the wine store owner and then we shared the bottle over some cheese and chorizo. Buenissimo.
After the wine we went to check out Cathedral de Santo Domingo. My experience with the missions made the experience familiar in some ways, but the missions simply can’t hold a candle to the age and solemnity of Spanish religious relics and paraphernalia. I had a serious case of heebie-jeebies as we walked through the massive church. The history of the place was all to palpable.
We finished our day with some shopping and dinner and fighting over who got to read Game of Thrones. Tomorrow we continue on our journey and look forward to any unexpected adventures it may hold.