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El Camino: Day 10 (Nàjera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada)

Posted on 23 September 2012 by christie

Green Friend

Our little wiggly green friend on the Camino Road

Albeit last night’s loud sleepless party village of Nàjera, we arose early to start walking at 8:00 to Santo Domingo de la Calzada. This seems early for us, however the majority of pilgrims are gone just before sunrise at 7:15. Some wish to escape the midday heat while others are racing to the next destination to secure a bed for the night. We’ve been booking private accommodations well in advance, feeling no need to rush in the morning. We have even heard there are pilgrims up and out at 5:00. The later departure works out better as we can enjoy ourselves by stopping in each village or pretty site along the way…… confident that we have a comfortable place to rest our heads at night.

More Rioja Vines

Our last day walking through the stunning Rioja

Today was a particularly easy and peaceful day, with evenly split up village stops. The initial ascent and descent out of Nàjera was a great way to get our blood pumping. Over the mountain down the hill led us to an endless land of more Rioja vineyards. This would be the last day through the Rioja region, as tomorrow’s walk to Belorado would lead us into the dry lands of Castille & Leon. After a brisk 6km walk we took a breakfast and coffee break in Azofra, a village with less than 350 inhabitants. Continue Reading

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El Camino: Day 9 (Logroño to Nàjera)

Posted on 22 September 2012 by christie

Rioja Wine Region

Holy grapes and vineyards of the Rioja, Spain’s wine capital

The magnitude of vineyards became very apparent as we left the city limits of Logroño. We were definitely in the famous La Rioja region, Spain’s wine capital. Luckily, we were able to sample plenty of delicious Rioja wine during the San Mateo Festival in Logroño. Spain is where my love of red wine began and it’s still as delicious and plentiful as ever. We cannot figure out how Spanish wine is so cheap, but great. When you order a “menu del dia” for 10 euros, they give you an entire bottle of wine included in the meal. Spaniards expect to pay only $4 for a good bottle of wine and just a bit more for a Crianza (Reserve). It’s crazy after coming from a culture where a decent bottle of wine costs at the very least $20. Some of the best and most expensive Californian wines are easily comparable to a $15-$20 bottle of Spanish wine. With all the amazing and cheap supply of wine floating around, it’s certainly hard to pass this indulgence up each night after a long day of walking.

Navarette pottery town

Navarette pottery town

Happily snacking on plump grapes, we meandered through 12 kilometers of vineyards until reaching the tiny pottery village of Navarrete. The town didn’t have much going on, besides the 16th century Asunción Church and a few red clay pottery shops. Brett was hoping to find some pottery, but the prospect of carrying it on the Camino made it impossible to buy. Just outside of the town are ruins of the old Antiguo Hospital de Perigrinos (pilgrims) “San Juan de Acre”. Next to the ruins is a large scale winery facility called Don Jacobo Winery. It was very early in the morning, so unfortunately we weren’t able to visit for a tasting. We grabbed a quick tortilla sandwich in town and continued on our way to Nàjera. Continue Reading

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