Day 13: 45.6 kilometers
Total: 378.3 kilometers
I woke up absolutely freezing a few times throughout the night! I tied my smurf hat tighter and covered my face with the blanket and went into the fetal position in my sleeping bag! 12 o’clock…3oclock….oh thank goodness it’s 530 so I can get up and start packing and head out! I swear it was warmer outside than it was on the inside. Maybe because of the brick building which really seem to retain the cold! Whoa! Regardless I was happy to be up and out of there. GianMarco was up to and headed down to the coffee table downstairs. We chatted about where we would all go today. I really wanted to go to San Anton which would be a good days walk but didn’t know if it would be open or not. So if no San Anton just move on to the next spot or wherever your body and feet take you. So I wished a buen camino to my friend and headed out. Then I heard him yelling my name! Oh snap! I left my bag with my pilgrim credentials in it on the table! What a great friend! Thanks GianMarco! So now with my credentials I ventured into the dark morning at around 6. Here in Spain it doesn’t get light until around 7 something with the sun up at 730. It was fun walking in the dark with everything so quiet. Finding arrows were a bit more difficult but I managed. A lot of times there are multiple routes through town which sometimes gets you turned around but I made the right turn when I needed to and voila! I was heading out to the next town in the dark morning sky!
I made it to the next pueblo called Rabe de los Calzados and was greeted in the dark by little barking dogs behind every fence which was kind of loud for the morning but I usually would talk to them and they would stop. Then the next one would start barking and all would start again. I passed the last fence with barking dogs and turned to wish them a happy day and I could see over the mountains behind me the sun creeping out! How beautiful! Thank you barking dogs for making me turn around at that moment! It truly was a powerful sunrise in the works!
After this town the pavement turned into dirt and I once again was home on a nice dirt path. It was such a nice day so far with no snow or rain and it was feeling warm. As I walked I could see the sky opening a little and soon I was in beautiful blue sky weather! The little birds everywhere were Cinderella-ing me again fluttering around and cueing their orchestra to start as I went by. It was awesome. I would stop here and there about ten feet from one little bird perched proud atop a bush on the side of the trail and here him proclaim to the world who knows what! I started thinking in my head if this was a cartoon how would these birds sound. I started laughing and hearing them as a version of the chipmunks but with a New York accent and talking about how nice the weather was going to be and each agreeing with each other. Some may think I am a bit crazy but this is just how my mind works and I think it is totally rad! I saw so many animals today which made me happy. I saw many birds, a deer, a butterfly, a trail of ants, a centipede ( Ashley Quinn instantly pops into my head and u see her doing the hand motions with her joke – just puttin on my shoes just puttin on my shoes!), a bevy of beetles, a herd of sheep, many dogs and the cutest group of kittens possibly in the world! It was a spectacular morning!
Soon I stared seeing some people. First was Olivia from England. She was peacefully sitting in on a rock eating with a smile on her face. She had a beautiful smile and I noticed she was wearing sandals too! I felt a lot of peace from her and hope to see her again down the road. I passed a few more people with a hola buen camino and Pura Vida! Then I came up to a father and son combo. As I was walking by we started talking a bit. Where you from? US. Where? Ohio! Where? Cleveland, where? Mentor! Holy moly we may be neighbors! Jose and his son Liam are from the same area where my momma lives! They go to Mentor for sporting events! How cool is that. A few days ago when I checked into the Albergue in Najera, Marian the hospitalera told me that there were too people from Ohio that checked in the day before! It was on my mind everyday if I would ever see them because how weird from the same state but the same city? Whoa! Jose and Liam are just doing section by section every year which I think is awesome. Liam is 9 years if I remember correctly and looks like a great walker! They started in this year and are enjoying their adventure together which I think is so cool! We walked into Hontanas together and stopped for some breakfast at this place that was overflowing with delicious aromas! I just picked up a quick cafe y croissant and was good to go and Jose and Liam stayed for some eggs. This place was tiny but crowded which a very good sign! I saw a few other familiar faces from days of walkingand wished everyone a buen camino and I was back out in the beautiful weather!
Gorgeous trail off the road a bit on the hill side took me around through the most beautiful weather. San Anton was only a few kilometers away and I was excited to see it! I arrived at San Anton to find it was closed and only open in the summer because no heat or hot water. It was beautiful though and would have been a magical place to have stayed. Hey there always is next year :). Also at San Anton admiring its beauty was my new friend Ruth! She is from Barcelona and does sections of the camino as well each year. She was fun to walk with and we walked all the way to Castorjeriz together. She found out that I get excited about mountains and castles where she is more interested in what grow in the fields in different regions which is also pretty awesome.
We walked right into the next town looking at the castle that I was excited to go climb up to! First we sat down for a beer and a little rest! The place we were at only had beer with a few food items so we finished up and headed out more into town. We found a nice bar open and sat down for lunch. I made her laugh a little and she made me laugh! She is a great hiker and enjoys life which i think is totally awesome. She told me people at her work are like what did you do over the weekend? Her coworkers said oh I went to my second home and….. No that’s it. Ruth on the other hand goes to sporting and training events with her kids, gets outside, and just the other week did a 80k hike in the mountains! Ruth is a totally cool, totally rad and awesome person with an awesome mind! I had fun chatting and eating with her but it was getting to that time where I need to explore that castle!
On the way weaving through houses and streets I saw Jose and Liam again who were going to stay there tonight! It was great seeing them again! Hope to see them again and even in Ohio whenever I make it back there! I finally found the trail to the castle which was another 2k up and 2k down which I figured would be fine! Holy moly macaroni! It was a not too bad hike up there but the castle doors were open! I was able to walk right in and enjoy the whole castle! The stairwell to the upstairs was so small I barely fit up but when I got up the view was incredible! The whole castle was amazing! I was so lucky that I saw it and that it was a nice day outside! Blue skies and excited eyes pretty much describes my day! I loved that castle and how much it was in tact was incredible! I had a fun time there, took a bevy of photos and then headed back to town. From the castle you could see the whole route up the other side of the valley! Pretty awesome! So when I headed back to town I felt great and decided to head to the next town which ended up being 11k away! Leaving town was fun and I felt great! I love the hills and the beautiful views from everywhere.
I hiked down from the castle across the valley then up the other side! It was a nice uphill! Crossing the flat top to the other side which was an 18% decline! Whoa! Did a little grapevine and made it just fine. I could not get over how beautiful it was outside! The clouds were incredible in the sky! The sun felt so good thawing my bones from the previous days. It all felt so good. There was a farmer working in the field with his tractor which just looked so peaceful. It was a beautiful walk on a beautiful day!
I made it into town and found a hostal which the guy said he was the only one open so I jumped into a bunk and took a shower! I found that Ruth was there too along with a few other familiar faces. There was also this guy from Japan who was so Nice! He even made me an origami swan which was super thoughtful and even blue to match my eyes. Such a kind soul for hurting from walking but always doing little random acts of kindness. The universe reflects what you do and I think that is awesome! I grabbed a recovery beer and a chocolate bar and shared the chocolate with Ruth. Then I saw two bikers and went to talk to them. Shared my chocolate with them and talked for a while. Two total dudes enjoying their time biking the camino! Very nice guys and they saw my necklace and asked if I was the guy making hearts and I said yes! Ha! They plan on leaving a big one down the trail for me. I’m excited to see it when I come by! I have seen a few other ones that people have left for me after meeting me and I love it! The camino is going to be filled with love and that may nudge the world into a better place! It’s the Heel Slap Chest Pop Happiness Movement in full effect!
Leaving the hostal to check out town I stopped at a supermarket for provisions for the next day. The two guys in there were the nicest people I have ever met! I grabbed a beer and was going to go watch the sunset but ended up staying there for over an hour talking about the camino and everything! He knows the legend of Pepe! The Peregrino from Rioja! I have read about him and thought maybe it was a myth but he is the real deal! And he only stays at this place! It’s so cool because he has the stamp of Pepe and his shells. Sometimes it’s the little places that are the best and my next camino there isn’t even a choice, I am definitely staying at this amazing place! He owns an Albergue that is right next to the supermarket called Hogar del Peregrino. Alberguehogardelperegrino@hotmail.com if you need any more information. i went over and looked at it and it was beautiful! Full beds! Your own room! A bath and a shower! A full kitchen! A lovely living room with soccer and the tv! It was warm and felt really good like you were home! I already had my stuff sprawled out and paid for the other place otherwise I would have stayed here! Any one else who is going by should definitely stay here! The best Albergue I have seen in quite some time with the nicest people. I made it back to the other hostal and had a quick dinner, looked at some pictures, did a little writing and then went to bed. It was warm went I went to sleep but then realized the people there turn it on to get the cold away from only 7-9 pm then shut it off for overnight. I woke up freezing a few times. 5 am couldn’t come quicker! I already prepped before i went to bed so I jumped out of bed brushed my teeth and was outside! The morning was foggyand I knew it would be a great day!