The most of today was wet and windy but the sun started to shine once we arrived at Belorado; my stop off point of the day. I heard alot about the Cuatro Cantones albergue here so I decided to get up at the break of dawn and head out. It was another night of little sleep with lots of shuffling and snoring done. My ear plugs didn’t even help. I moved on out close to 6am. I opened the door of the albergue only to see the rain pelting down. “Dammit” Out came the poncho and cover for my backpack. It was windy also as I left Santo Domingo and it was the first time I needed the light from my mobile phone. I met the friendly old German man again as he was leaving the Parador close to the albergue. He is great fun in a dry German kind of way. I walk with him for twenty minutes or so and moved on letting him be. He seemed to be happy by himself. My pace was a little slow to start with with the wind. There is a long walk along the main road as you leave the town and I had to double check where I was going as there aren’t many arrows around.
Eventually I see Granon with its large church and tower. It’s a nice place and one of the treasures of the Camino. There was nothing open at that time of the morning (7am) so I moved on with a heavy heart. I have heard loads about the fab albergue there. I move on to Redecilla del Camino, another sleepy village. I stop for some breakfast and am greeted by the old German man as I sip on my cafe con leche. We chat about the weather and where he is going to walk to today. After twenty minutes I move on again in the wind and rain, pulling my poncho over my head.
I begin to have pains in the back of my legs at this stage. Nothing too serious but something I needed to be wary of. No blisters so far though.
Not too long afer I leave Redecilla, I meet a Dutch girl called Femke. I greet her by asking her if she is Irish. Quite possibly the worst greeting ever! I would walk with her until Belorado, a further 12km. It’s amazing how fast time goes when you have someone to chat to. The first 10km I was walking by myself and it felt like forever but don’t get me wrong, I enjoy time by myself. All the tiny niggling pains I had notched up paled into insignificance and my pace picked up. We walked 12km in little over 2 hours!! There were another folks we met along the way and after a brief hello and how are you, we fired on to the next town. We passed Espinosa del Camino, Viloria de Rioja and Castidelgado before we reached Belorado. These towns only hold an albergue, a church, a few houses and a cafe. There is hardly any life and we passed through them in no time.
Belorado is a fine large town, with winding streets, a central square and large church. The albergue Cuatro Cantones is closed when we arrive so we sit outside and wait. There are a few others there, including some of the Irish group. The remainder were en route at that time. There are 4 albergues in Belorado, each with their own traits. This holds 62 people over 3 floors and boasts a large back garden, chicken coup and swimming pool. Unfortunately, the pool is off limits today due to the weather. The opening time was 12.30 so we were pretty early. Over the next hour, we chatted about random things and rarely touched on anything of a serious nature. The queue for the Albergue grew and grew, with some people we knew from the previous 2 days.
I got myself a bottom bunk and put the feet up. A communal meal is due shortly and I’m really looking forward to it. I also hope to check out the town after the meal to see if I can find a walking pole! Tomorrow is a long uphill slog but again I want to go further to avoid crowds. If you have Brierley’s Camino manual, you will know that a whole lot of people follow his route religiously. I’m trying to avoid these end towns so I can veer clear of the large crowds. There’s a reason Belorado has 4 hostals and a bunch of hotels…Brierley. If he changed the end town to another, the end result would be to close one or two due to the lack of demand. I’m hoping to move to the next town tomorrow, 27km in total, but again I’ll see how the weather is. Hopefully I won’t be walking alone at the start of the day.