Stage 11: Calahorra to Alfaro

Last night I saw a notice of service times at all the churches in town, and discovered that the Holy Martyrs, just round the corner from my pension, had one at 0800.  Even better, there was a gospel book in my pew with not only the readings for each day, but the order of the mass. A very short sermon about the wedding feast in Matthew: You are invited. You can say Yes or No. Say Yes.

Started walking straight from the church and crosses the river, now dry, just before 9.  A surfaced road through vineyards, orchards and fields, until reflected to a dirt track to, and then along, the railway line. I could already see the next village, Rincón De Soto, but it took a long time to get there. I arrived at 11:30 and, thinking it was a bit early for bars on Sunday, sat on a bench to eat my lunch. When I got up, my right knee was stiff.  I limped (remembering Ignatius) up to the church, where there was a modern bar with a huge variety of tapas! Settled for a trio of croquettes with a beer, and asked the way as many streets have no nameplates.

Slowed down after lunch and tried not to be impatient for the first sight of Alfaro. Then I saw Jacinta sitting by the roadside and joined her. A young man in a car drew up and they had a rapid conversation in Spanish, after which he drove off to buy CocaCola and returned with shandy instead. He then invited us to eat with his family. Jacinta went off with him, but I wanted to finish the walk and rest my knee.  We had had a conversation about attitudes to accepting what is offered. Am I mean when I accept only what I want?

Lots of pilgrims turned up at the hotel where I had booked in, since the hostel key is only available at certain times. The restaurant here is closed Sunday evenings, so I went out for a drink and a snack with Annie, a French pilgrim following the Camino del Ebro in the direction of Santiago.