Don’t know what it was. About 6 inches long with a white chest and looked like a small (cute) gopher
DAY 17 Sept 9 Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Belogrado (23km)
The guide book description of today’s walk “alongside the highway with detours into towns and across fields—-easygoing with the usual ups and downs of the Camino”…..mmmm
Our stoney path did follow the highway for long distances and the constant noise of big trucks was sometimes distracting. There is a lot of transport along European highways and this is the main highway for northern Spain. It was a treat to take short detours into the villages. These villages have pilgrims passing by but not contributing much to the economy. They were rundown and not as well kept as the other villages we have visited. These seem to villages that time has forgotten.
The landscape has changed dramatically as we left La Rioja wine country and entered into Castilla with its vast fields of grain and sunflowers. The grain has been harvested and the farmers are now plowing the stubble into the soil. The country is hilly with steep slopes so they have to be adept at what they do.
We are staying at a “rural casa” –a sort of hybrid pension and simple hotel. It is run by a kindly family and is well kept. However, tonight we have half pension (this means supper). As there is no real kitchen here, we are sent with a little paper to the nearby albergue for supper.
This was an interesting experience. The albergue was very nice —-clean and attractive–and the dining area was set up like a restaurant. Albergue dining is communal and at least 50 pilgrims crowded into the room. Everyone was pleasant but the noise level required you to almost yell to your tablemates to be heard. The food was surprisingly good and the servers excellent. An aside: everyone we have encountered in Spain in the service/tourist industry works very hard. Their job descriptions must be horrendous. For example at one hotel, the young concierge also does room service, sets up the breakfast buffet and helps clean the rooms! This is a common occurrence and there is no tipping in Spain. Back to the albergue dinner. We were seated with a young female psychiatrist from Edinburgh who does a two weeks of the Camino every year. Our other tablemates were 3 Swedish women who all work together and are walking the Camino for a week. This is the first time we have encountered pilgrims who break their walk into manageable pieces —not everyone is retired or can get 6 weeks off work:>) Anyhow, we had a lovely time and great conversation (when we could hear it:>)