Azofra to Santo Domingo de la Calzada
A stroll of 18 kilometers, about 11 miles
We had a great breakfast before hitting the trail–meeting Sonrisa and Mark from Tuscon, vacationing in Spain. We hope their Camino spark grows.
We started early again today and had most of our walk over when we reached Ciruena, after about seven miles, a little before noon.
We moved along great again today, thanks in part to the lack of sun. It was cool most of the morning and we never saw the sun while we were on the trail.
We were slowed after trekking up a long hill by two important events.
The first: We met Darrell and Arla, whom we had met miles back on our second day of walking. This was to be their last day on the Camino, with obligations and fun ahead in northern Spain and Italy.
Nevertheless it was great to see them again, and we would see them later in the evening in Santo Domingo de la Calzada.
Our meeting today coincided with a stop at a donation based refreshment stand set up by a local entrepreneur at the time of the climb.
Pilgrims were removing their shoes, resting their feet, gathering their strength at a small and unrefined park-like area located next to the Camino trail, for the walk left to go for the day.
Our second stop, at Jim’s insistence, was a 15 minute break at Alta Rioja Golf Club. There, Jim talked the pro into allowing him to hit a ball off the first tee, and the pro photographed it. We bought water and pop and hit the road after the interlude.
Then it was back to the Camino.
Following those breaks we moved quickly through Ciruena, which is a beautifully developed, but barely inhabited town. It has hundreds of condo type apartments that appear vacant. “Se Vende” signs are everywhere.
And then, it was nearly six kilometers to Santo Domingo de la Calzada, where our reservations were at a former monastery, since taken over by Spain and restored into a beautiful hotel known as a parador.
Santo Domingo de la Calzada
If Disney was built on a mouse, then Santo Domingo de la Calzada was built on a chicken.
Here is the story:
The cathedral of San Salvador dates from the 12th century. Inside you will find Santo Domingo’s mausoleum. And, at the rear of the cathedral there is an ornate chicken coup, the permanent home of a cock and a hen (which are replaced every two weeks).
The legend behind the chickens came about through a story begun in the middle ages. It is said that a German family (parents and teenage son) were attempting the Camino and stopped in Santo Domingo for the night. A flirty girl (or daughter of the mayor, or some other special girl) took a fancy to the 18 year old son, but the boy, probably because he didn’t understand the language or was overly pious, was having none of it and turned her down.
The scorned girl sought revenge and placed a silver goblet into his luggage (there are different accounts of exactly what was placed in the bag, some say it was a bag of money others say it was a chalice from the church). The next morning the goblet was discovered missing and the girl accused the young German boy of stealing. The boy’s luggage was searched and the goblet found and he was promptly brought before the local judge, found guilty and hanged.
The grief stricken parents continued on their pilgrimage and upon arriving at Santiago de Compostela, prayed to St James for the soul of their son. On their return journey they again decided to stay the night in Santo Domingo de la Calzada. Upon reaching the town they were surprised to find that their son was still hanging and more surprisingly, that he was still alive.
The parents rushed to see the judge and explained what they had seen. So incensed was the judge that they had the audacity to interrupt his dinner that he proclaimed “your son is about as alive as these roast chickens I am about to eat”.
At that moment the two birds jumped off the plate and began to fly, so proclaiming the boy’s innocence.
In memory of this miraculous event a snow white cockerel and a hen, donated by local farmers, have been kept in the ornate gothic henhouse in the cathedral ever since.
We saw the chickens today. Actually, we missed them the first time through and had to return to this 100 million dollar cathedral so that we could see those special chickens.
After the church visit, it was less than an hour before a young, and obviously well-to-do, couple were married in the church.
Jim, being a former news man, took Jackie’s lead when she said that the father had to be someone special by his dress. And accordingly, Jim acted like a local papparazi, while snapping shots of the wedding from all the angles he could muster.
Jackie was unimpressed with Jim’s style in get great photos of the wedding. Jim shrugged and said he was only capturing local life.
We know we are probably going to taxi about 10 miles tomorrow in order to walk another 18 miles to reach our goal for the day.
It should be fun. It will be daunting.