Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada**

Apr 6. Day 11. 20.7 km. Departed 0753 hours, arrived 1325 hours.

Today is a 2 Star day. Reasons – the outdoor scenery plus the absolute stillness really soothes the soul. Secondly, even though we started later than usual, the shorter distance and shorter uphill climbs made for a more relaxing walk. Finally, it was overcast with bouts of sunshine, and gentler winds.It took less than 10 mins to get out of Najera. The gentle uphill climb out of town got the heart pumping but the view of the valley with the morning sun was fantastic.

How poetic – walking from darkness into light!

Amazingly morning scenery after we crested the hill. You can catch some other pilgrims further up the trail.

As I laid in bed this morning, and further contemplated during this morning’s walk, a thought fleshed itself. Most if not all, have heard of the saying, that to a hammer, every problem seems to be a nail. Well, most of us quickly learned during our work careers, that bosses like and value employees who can solve tough problems and challenges. Some of us get to be so good at this, that this skill becomes part and parcel of our psychological make up and mind set. Every situation, every event, every interaction contains a problem that we readily roll up our sleeves to solve. But I re-learned on this Camino, that sometimes, problems doesn’t need solving. So, when Joon expressed her back was hurting yesterday during the walk, my problem solving mindset was to offer to carry her backpack. But she didn’t want or need that. Just to be heard and listened to. And as Christians and pilgrims, we can offer that pain as part of our Camino journey.

One thing I noted in today’s walk in the countryside was the quiet and stillness. There were not as many birds chirping (I did spot a bird chirping as it was flying, which was very unusual and a first occurrence for me). Most of the walk did not have any traffic noise. We even saw snow capped mountains in the distance. There was a great interplay of sunlight and nature.

Note the balloon in the sky!

An Italian (?) gentleman had fashioned this trolley. On uphill rocky stretches, he carried it like a backpack! The handle can be dis-assembled.

Due to overnight rains, this muddy trail of 500 meters or so, needed to be walked carefully to avoid caking one’s shoes.

This albergue has a special room for snorers! What a cool idea!

I had a tendency to patronize pop up stalls. My reasoning is these entrepreneurs went to all the effort at these key spots. He had a real cute dog too!

The clouds were pretty awesome today!

A rare selfie.

Overcast day, just a handful of drops for less than a minute.

Quite a number of the restaurants here seem geared for a touristic (i.e. non-pilgrims) crowd. Example, a Michelin acknowledged restaurant had starters from Euro 12-25!

As we know, Spanish restaurants only offer their dinner menu from 1800 hours only. If you are an early sleeper, or prefer early morning starts, this dinner time will be late especially if you want the food to be fully digested before sleeping.

TIP: Consider Spanish pinchos or tapas as a light meal. Or patronize Chinese or Turkish restaurants which do offer their dinner menu earlier!

We didn’t see much of Santo Domingo today, perhaps a bit as we walk out tomorrow morning.

Author: Ben & Joon

Residents in the great Pacific North West. Living life as it happens, learning our purpose and trail blazing our own paths. Namaste.

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