Day 12 Azofra to granon – 23.17km 8hrs 5mins – The vegan who loved cheeses

This morning I woke very early with sore knees; what’s new you may ask – well the left one was quite swollen so I woke during the night and rubbed voltaren in it and put the mini beuren tens machine on it for a while. It actually worked and the swelling had gone by the time I got out of bed.

I was cold throughout the night because I didn’t unpack my sleeping bag and relied only on the albergue blanket. Note to self: keep sleeping bag with you no matter how hot it is when you go to sleep.

Also of note – I had sprayed my legs with bushmans but because the window had no screen I ended up with mozzzy bites on face and wrists. Actually not too bad but who wants to get some mosquito born virus! So keep bushmans at hand. Also, before I go on I should have told you that speedy and one of our Canadian friends ruthlessly reviewed the Choirmasters bag in navarette so her pack was now light weight, she was packed like a German and she was skipping along like a marathon runner on holidays!

Okay now for the day.

We left early again and managed to scoot out of town on what I thought ended up one of the easiest days I’d had. Funnily enough my beloved ended up miserable, sore and overheated.

The most interesting part of this walk is the wander through Cirauqui, a ghost town built some years ago but it never hit the mark and almost empty except for a well kept golf course.

Just before going down the hill into the ghost town we encountered a miserable man trying to sell fruit and drinks etc from a table. He was verbally abusive to husband as he sauntered past without buying anything and, as I came up the hill behind our friends I pulled out my camera to capture the moment of them buying something. “I am not a clown! You ask before you take my photo!” I didnt want his photo and didnt take his photo. He didnt sell my friends any fruit either!

Not sure how much he would make speaking to customers like that. Had second breakfast at golf club. We had a lovely morning.

I again took our yoga gurus advice and tried to focus on stomach to propel legs forward. Again I’m not sure if it was muscles or hunger but it got me going into chicken town before lunchtime.

We Marched into chicken town and visited the paradore for a drink and visit to the toilet but it was too hot to sit there for too long. I had worn my runners compression socks all morning and definitely created two very small blisters so we headed to the farmacia for betadine, alcohol and compeed – the compression socks did their job for pain in feet but unfortunately as the day warmed up the blisters loved them. My beloved and I left chicken town without our walking mates and I stayed in my sandals until Granon. I actually found they weren’t too bad.

As we were leaving chicken town we also bumped into the medicine woman again. Since she was first seen handing out Ibuprofen she had also helped out a friend who had lost her reading glasses by giving her a spare pair. This time we were offered fruit for the long journey to granon. There was no end to the possibilities within her pack. Perhaps it was actually a tardis and she was Dr Who!

At the cross at the top of the first rise coming into granon husband offered me some pork crackle. As I bit into a piece it turned to powder and I breathed it in and spluttered and spat and damned near choked to death! Had me wondering, how many people have choked to death on pork crackle on the camino? Probably not many – but maybe one or two?

Anyway we arrived in granon and husband was absolutely shattered. I was again in peak condition! I carried my pack up the spiral stairs to the top floor at the back of the church to view the parochial donativo. One look at the room and I knew we would not be staying there even though I’d love to have given it a shot. So back downstairs I went and walked 50 metres up Calle Mayor and found Casa de la Sonrises – the house of smiles. Another donativo that provided beds and food for pilgrims and you pay what you can afford and what it was worth to you.

Our donativo

Speedy and the choirmaster arrived much later to the village after missing an arrow and having to backtrack a kilometre or two. They were both exhausted and rumour has it, so were many of our friends as they wandered into town. Our choirmaster joined us in a very comfy two room suite and Speedy decided to experience the parochial stay and left us for the night. We all paid as donations.

During the afternoon a German lady sat in the courtyard of our albergue keeping very much to herself.

Our 70 year old basque hospitalario was a veteran of many caminos and just last year had walked over 3000 kms. He was also a good talker so there wasn’t much opportunity to talk to the German lady during the afternoon anyway. It was only at dinner when everyone was sharing their stories that I thought the opportunity to get to know her would arise. Also I’m always hoping to meet someone from solingen where my aunt hails from.

Before dinner I was sure the lady had informed our hospitalario that she was a vegan. At this point I wondered how much we could have in common given my love of all food. I was therefore somewhat surprised at dinner to hear her tell the group that her reason for doing the camino was because she loved cheeses. I immediately cheered her and said “that’s a great reason for doing the camino.” A split second later I was withholding hysterics when I realised my mistake. We are walking a religious pilgrim route after all! Thankfully she did not appear to notice my faux pas!.

In the courtyard

Buenas noches!

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