Day 10: Thunderstorms and Cathedrals (Najera to Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo De La Calzada, Spain
Day 10: Thunderstorms and Cathedrals (Najera to Santo Domingo)
The most impressive forks of lighting I have ever seen crackled across the Rioja regions skies this morning as we plodded stoically on in our journey towards Santiago. The lightening made the sky a glorious purple as droplets the size of maltesers began to bounce off of our thin ponchos!
Seeking refuge in Aforza's only cafe, along with several other perigrinos, we ordered a hearty volume of cappuccinos and croissants to sustain us as we waited out the storm. Within 40 minutes we were rewarded with a milky white sky that promised a reprieve from the barrage we had suffered previously.
Giving my lucky optimistic stone a rub, we headed back into the road and were off again.
The road to Santo Domingo was a rural Gravel path with little to see except for the famous Rioja vineyards; naturally, the vineyards have now lost their allure and the wet clay has turned much of the paths into claggy quagmires which hold onto your boots like snotty toddlers and weigh a ton!
With the rich, umber soils behind us, we found ourselves in the immaculate streets of Santo Domingo. The city is named after Saint Domingo its founder, Dominic de la Calzada, who built a bridge, hospital, and hotel here for pilgrims on the French Way on the Way of St. James. He began construction of the town's Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada and is buried within it as well as it being dedicated to him.
Annoyingly, the church also keeps two cockrels in memory of one of his miracles. I say annoyingly as between Claudio's snoring and their bloody squarking, I don't see myself ever falling asleep! The legend is that of 'The Hanged Innocent' were a wrongly accused pilgrim was sentenced to hang whereby two beheaded and cooked chickens sprang to life and stood under the pilgrim so that he could stand up and avoid being hung. Hence the cathedral keep the chicken's descendants as a reminder of the miracle.
Wandering around the knooked streets with Tarryn and Clara was great. We found a Truffle shop and sampled some real delights, mine favourite was a lemon one with was so tart and refreshing it was delicious. The old woman whose shop it was took so much pride in recommending certain ones, it was lush!
In the night, I met up with the boys (Khalid, Paolo and Claudio) this time with the added bonus of Victor, a gigantic Romanian whose booming and infectious laugh could definitely be heard back in St Jean. We played chase the ace with a few beers and had a few belly laughs as Paolo - for the first time ever - had one too many shandies and laughed hysterically at everytime the cockrels crowed! As I was cheerfully sat there, I had a strange outer body experience where I surveyed the scene and thought that never in my life did I think I'd be playing cards, sipping beers and singing enthusiastically 'I Will Survive' by Gloria Gaynor with two Italians, a Romanian and an Arab! What a walk ay!?
Tomorrow we will be within touching distance of Burgos and munching up the 27 kilometres to Tosantos.