Friday, May 29, 2009


Got to Navarette very easily and decided to try to walk an extra 16 k to catch up with friends. At Ventosa I´d had enough and styaed there ina lovely quiet refugio. 28 k is my best distance ever. Walked part of way with very fit Spanish lawyer. Time passed so easiily as we talked and walked. Only drawback of refuge, the hospitallero who chainsmoked. Cut my toenails in dim light and to my horror cut a blister. Big danger of infection so next day walked the 10 k to Najera and the Centro de Salud (health centre.) Treatment prompt (ahead of everyone in the waiting room, and absolutely free, including gauze and iodine. To hold the gauze on is the same sotrt of elastic sausage as butchers use to hold a rolled roast together.)
Could not get to the Information Centre or refurbished monastery and cloisters because they were being opened that day by either the Queen´s physician (2 Spaniards told me that) or the Queen´s daughter, slightly more likely. The excitement was intense. Helicotpter came, then the motorcade with a gloved hand all that could be seen. People running for the best view.
Refuge closed as welll so went with an Italian couple to St Millan and its 2 monateries, Yuso and Suso, which are World Heritage (Patrimonio de Humanidad) listed. They shut the doors as we arrived. Manfred hitchhiked and got there early. Because he spoke German he was assigned an elderly German monk as sole guide, so saw wonders others missed out on. The monasteries are built on Roman foundations, with Visigoth, Mozarab, Romanico, and later sections easily seen. One room was completely floored in alabaster and had frescoes as bright and fresh as first painted. Huge volumes of cantorales, the music books for the liturgy, were on slides in cupboards. The lightest weighed 20 kg and heaviest 100 kg. (Imagine that! Just get the next book
out, Brother Placid. Mind your back.)
So we took the next bus back and collected Manfred on the way. Then, despite dire warnings of toe falling off, I walked with June Masudo, a Japanese seeker of Christian truth, to Azofra to a wonderful new refuge which must have cost millions. It was nearly full - three stories of 20 twin rooms with plenty of room and storage space. There were tonnes of hot water, and the noisiest toilets outside a plane.
Next day walked with June to Santo Domingo. The cathedral has been done up and a museum added in the cloisters. They have now banned photography, probably to get people to buy their postcards. Managed to take a few ( I put the camera down, using the timer, and take very good pics thank you, but after 7 or 8 a plainclothed vigilante came up and ticked me off. Put camera away or get out. It bugged me. I´m not going to buy one postcard. But if they said I could take pics for 5€ I´d have cheerfully paid. There are wonderful treasures there, but it is not as wonderful as Durham or Salisbury at both of which places I paid 3 or 5 pounds.
We (5 of us) ate in and had a big struggle with some French people for stove and table space. June and I bought the food and Bernd (Germany) and Maria (Denmark) cooked. A good, close time.
5 tears ago I did not have enough fruit or veg but this time I have plenty. A bocadilla (filled baguette) usually has jamon y queso but I now add to that tomate and lechuga (lettuce). Also have to have banana for potassium and salts for dehydration. Hands are still a bit swollen though.
Now off to Belorada after which point 5 yrs ago I bussed to Burgos. Not this yr, I hope.

No comments: