We had been starting pretty early, around 6, but we had decided to start hiking a little earlier, around 5:00 or 5:30ish. We started hiking a bit earlier because it had started getting hotter towards noon now, and I was glad that I had bought the short sleeve shirt in Castrojeriz. If you can get started that early, I highly recommend it because of the view of the town that we got at sunrise. After crossing the rio Odrilla and hiking the switchbacks up to Alto Mostelares, we had the most amazing view of Castrojeriz at sunrise from about 3.5 km away. Pics below.
On the trail, we met up with another Australian named Sally. She hiked with us for a while and then headed on after we grabbed a bite to eat. Once we reached Fromista, we ran into Sally again and she joined Dom, Caroline, and I for dinner. After talking for a while, we found out that we’d both stayed in the same albergue in Najera. The hostess there was even nicer to her than she was to us. Sally had gotten really sick and they helped her out a ton. Like I said, most hostesses of the albergues really knew how to take care of the pilgrims.
Again, my friends and I opted to stay at the municipal albergue. This one was located next to a very nice hotel/restaurant with a great pilgrim menu (and a decent bar selection as well). Right across the street from the albergue was the Iglesia de San Martin, a beautiful little cathedral. The albergue was well worth staying at. No Wi-Fi available in the albergue, but the restaurant next door did and as long as you bought a drink or something to eat, they didn’t mind sharing. The albergue had clean facilities, hot water, and as an added bonus, my bed had a cool balcony overlook of the courtyard. No laundry service, but there was a designated area in the front courtyard to hand wash and dry your clothes.
Having the balcony proved to be a blessing and a curse later on in the evening. We had a great view of the courtyard and the small cathedral. Later on, after dinner, a group of older spanish men pooled together some money and got several bottles of wine and cheese to snack on and well as some thick cigars. They opened a few bottles and then began singing in spanish. This was not just a group of drunks singing though, a few of these guys sounded professional and together, they all sounded amazing! I got to lay in my bed and listen to these guys sing operatically while I wrote in my journal, or read The Great Gatsby for the 3rd time. It didn’t become a problem until it was about 11:30 and they were still singing. Now it had entered into the realm of ‘this is annoying as hell and I’m trying to sleep.’ There was no chance of getting the hostess to make them stop because she was sitting down there with them listening and sometimes dancing with them.
All that being said, I hope that when I’m their age, I have friends that I can travel with on a journey like the Camino and have times like that.
Distance: 25.2 km
Accommodation: Municipal Albergue- Located next to a very nice hotel/restaurant. Nice place, wi-fi was available in the adjoining restaurant. Restaurant had a great pilgrim menu as well. No laundry, but outdoor space to hand wash and air dry.