After a night in such a great albergue the day is bound to be great. Azofra is an interesting town for two reasons really, one is the municipal albergue with the twin rooms and the foot pool and, the other is the tractors that drive down the main street. The bar and restaurant has seating in the street, unlike australia there is no footpath really so the seating is literally in the street. Last night at dinner we noted the local townsfolk seem to drive their tractors out to dinner. Frightened the hell out of me everytime one came down the street as I was frightened my feet elevated on the chair were poking out to far. Well after we packed up ready to hit the road in the morning we headed back for a quick breakfast and same thing, darn tractors just head straight down the street for us!
We finally hit the road with a not too difficult plan to get to the chicken town as we have decided to call it. You see Santo Domingo del Calzada (Saint Domingo of Calzada) set up one of the first hospitals on the Camino to care for sick pilgrims back hundreds of years ago. Some time after he died I think, a young man who was a pilgrim with his family stopped in town at the inn. He rejected the advances of the inkeepers daughter so she accused him of theft and he was hanged. His parents went on to Santiago and on their way back found him still hanging but alive. It is believed that Santo Domingo held him up and stopped him from choking. Anyway they went to the mayor or boss (whoever that was) and said our son is alive – he was eating roast chicken at the time and said “he’s no more alive than this chicken on my plate” at which point the chicken jumped up and ran away.
I know, its unbelievable, but I tell you this is a serious story. In around 1300 the cathedral was granted Papal permission to keep live chickens in the Cathedral and they have done so until this day – don’t worry they arent the same chickens – they change them every 21 days – but they are just above Santo Domingos tomb – he by the way is the patron saint of Engineers Road workers etc so if you need someone to pray to along those lines – he’s your man apparently.
So on the road to the chicken town I still had a spring in my step from lightening the load however I also still had a blister. After the social comparison at the foot pool I realised it was nothing major however I still could not walk as fast or as far as others without a rest stop. My beloved was quite pleased to see me going further without having to stop and we made good time on our journey to the chicken town booking in to a pension/hotel for the night.
Along the way we bumped into people we had met before and over the last few days husband had taken on the role of “the donkey hunter”. Every now and then a donkey dropping would be investigated for firmness, clarity, dryness – his assessments went from being “I think he is two days in front” to “I think he one day in front” and we would continue on our way looking off into the distance wondering where the frenchman with the nice ass had gotten to.
We arrived in chicken town and husband found a German pilgrim passport on the ground. We checked into the hotel opposite the albergue and he went out to hand it over in the hope the owner might still be around and able to see it stuck in the office window of the albergue. Father Devon (who we had seen a few times) was there and so was Dave the Englishman with the nasty red ankles who we had met a few days before.
The Cathedral was quite magnificent and the food in the town was quite nice. We had an early night and planned a longer day tomorrow. Surprisingly I am starting to believe in miracles as I am able to walk again with some vigor!
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