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Camino de Santiago, Day 15: Ciruena to Redecilla

I am having some trouble sleeping.  After four or five hours of sleep I am generally awake again and ready to go.  But that means it’s usually 3 am.  So I wait to get up until the sun rises and by then I’m tired.  Last night I was cold and I knew that blankets were just ten feet away and yet they seemed impossible…to…get.   And then I started yawning like crazy for hours.  Do scientists really still not know why people yawn?!  It was goofy and I fantasized that maybe I would someday be in the Guinness Book if I could keep at it.

The lights were turned on by Picasso-face at 6 am.  Ten of us gathered in a tiny kitchen and had bowls of coffee (like in France!) and hard slices of toasted baguette.  Felt sort of like boarding school might with solemn looks on ten faces and not a word was spoken!  Crunch, crunch, crunch!  At one point one of the guests got up with his bowl of coffee and was reprimanded by Picasso-face not to take the good china outside to smoke.  The good china had cartoon characters printed on the sides.  Mine featured the Simpsons.  The guest said he was merely going to the bathroom and took a plastic tumbler filled with coffee that Picasso-face had hastily poured.  Let’s just say, I didn’t mind leaving.

Walking out of town it was freezing cold – the coldest morning yet – but also one of the most beautiful.  Snow-capped mountains were off in the distance.  No rain, thankfully.

I listened to Willie Nelson and James Taylor for an hour or two on a long empty stretch.  The music does add a different element to the walk.  Willie never sounded better.

There was a long stretch on a gravel road beside the freeway.

I walked incredibly slowly, like an old AND disabled lady.  I have new blisters on my feet.  I’ve tried every product and trick suggested but still, new ones arrive and persist.  Somehow, after the first 20 minutes of walking, I can sort of numb out the discomfort.  I just can’t stop.  If I stop walking, I’m screwed.

I noticed when climbing a hill, how strong my body felt.  Two weeks ago, my butt was like two balls of pizza dough (family size).  Now – buns of steel!  My pants are starting to gather in places where they were once tight, so I guess I am losing weight.  Nice bonus!

I walked through the town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada.  Children were on their way to school.  Mothers strolled with baby carriages.

I ran into Jairo from Brazil and he told me he had money stolen from his bag at his hostel last night.  He said “Here?!” and we both expressed disappointment about humans sometimes.  “But,” he said, “it’s only paper.”

He offered to walk with me for a bit to distract me from the pain.  That was really appreciated.  We talked about Brazil and all the places in Africa that he had visited.  He tells me it is safe for me to go to Morocco.  He tells me he dreams of visiting San Francisco.  Before I knew it, we had covered a few kilometers and then I urged him to go on without me, which he did.

By the magic of the Camino, Jamie and I end up in the same small town together.  It’s called Redecilla and there is nothing here except one bar/restaurant/hotel and one pilgrim’s hostel.  We had a dinner and caught up.  We agreed that this time walking alone is valuable and agreed to keep walking separately for awhile keeping in touch by texting.

I checked into a hotel so I could use the hot shower, get my feet really clean, and apply new bandages.

Today, I walked 17 kilometers (10.5 miles).

Photos of the Beautiful Day:



  1. I came across your blog by accident and this caught my eye. A relly weird guy and place.
    This is from my own blog for the same place in 2012

    28/04/12 Day 9 33.5km Navarrete – Ciruena. Pee Pee Poo Poo.
    Posted on May 10, 2013 by wayfarer1954

    We got up at 06.00 and helped with preparing the breakfast. Some of the gang wanted to book another private albergue for tonight in the next town, Najera, which is 17km away but we declined as we wanted to walk a bit further, and we wanted the freedom to stop where we wanted.

    We stopped in Najera for lunch and decided to keep going as it was so wet and the place was not very appealing . The girl in the cafe rang ahead for me to the albergue in Ciruena, which we had seen advertised all over the place, and booked two lower bunks for us. Man did this decision come back to bite us in the butt. We arrived at the albergue Virgin de Guadalupe at 16.00 after walking 33km in very wet and muddy conditions.
    The very minute I met the owner of the albergue the hair prickled up on the back of my neck and I knew we had made a big mistake, but we were too exhausted to carry on. He started by giving us a tour of the albergue.

    He pointed out the shower room and toilet down stairs and said “showa showa, pee pee poo poo” then the so called drying room which was a damp garage with a few over crowded lines strung across it.

    Then upstairs and showed us the kitchen to which he added “no use” then down the corridor and pointed out a toilet and said “no showa, pee pee poo poo only”. While this was going on we could hear tittering and giggling in the rooms around us. He then showed us our beds which were top bunks, and when I said we had booked lower ones he just shrugged and left.

    The place was really cold and smelled of damp. We shared a room with three Finnish ladies, two of them had to share one of the lower bunks, they were very nice ladies. They told us that they had been listening to the Pee Pee Poo Poo tour all afternoon and found it very funny. As we were sorting out somewhat dry clothes to change into we heard him give the Pee Pee Poo Poo tour to someone else and it was indeed funny, the people in the room across the hall even gave a muted round of applause.

    Only one of the showers worked as it turned out and the water was just about warm. No point in washing clothes as they would not dry so we just hung them anywhere we could in the room. One of the Finnish ladies told me that when they did their national service they would take their damp clothes to bed with them and they would be nearly dry by morning and also warm to put on. Well someone must have been doing this for a long time at this albergue because when we got into bed later, the beds, pillows, sheets and blankets were really damp. If we escape without getting pneumonia it will be a miracle.

    I also noticed that the shower rooms and toilets were heavily stocked with ladies pantie liners and tampons, there were boxes and boxes of them everywhere. He must have been expecting an onslaught of menstruating female pilgrims. Weird.

    Dinner was served at 19.00 and consisted of a bowl of vegetable soup/stew with a few pieces of chorito thrown in, but not enough for the stew to loose its vegetarian status. I took this to be the starter, but was the main and only course, this was followed by an apple or a yogurt for desert. This “meal” cost €7.00.

    The owner, who pretended he had no English when we met him, sat at table with us while we ate and stared intently at everyone who spoke. Turns out he had plenty English and told us that he lives in San Sebastian in a house by the sea and opens his albergue for six months in the summer for the pilgrims, also that he walked the Camino three times in one year. He obviously learned nothing from that experience except how to fleece pilgrims.

    A few times when we spoke amongst ourselves and had a laugh he held up both hands facing each other and using the sign for someone chattering would say “blagh blagh blagh blagh”, well that finished all conversation at the table. We knew we were in the presence of madness.

    I tried the trick of bringing my clothes to bed and it did work, in the morning my clothes were dryer but more importantly warm to put on. Breakfast consisted of burnt toast made from very stale bread with jam, and coffee from a large thermos which he had brought with him. He didn’t even use the cooker to make the coffee, no wonder he can afford his house by the sea.

    The charges for this albergue are €10.00 to stay, €7.00 for “dinner”, and €3.00 for breakfast, but I learned later that if you opted not to have dinner or breakfast he still charged €20.00. He was the only game in town so he could. He also had a hand painted sign out side proclaiming the albergue to be a three star.
    Despair all ye who enter here.

    • Good read! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience. Yes. A weird place!

  2. I love the fields of mustard flowers!

    • Me too! They are so pretty.

  3. Picture 8 is FANTASTIC as is the snail–so beautiful!

  4. I love the pizza dough comment and the descriptions of Senor Picasso–very funny!

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