We stayed in a very funny albergue in Navarrete last night. Our dormitory on the ground floor must have once been a garage for cars – there was a switch that opened the large door that made up the entire front wall. Not that you’d want to open up your bedroom onto the square outside, but maybe it makes sense in the hot, hot Spanish summer.

For only the second or so time in Spain, we decided to play the pilgrim game today, not reserving ourselves a place to sleep in advance. As it turned out, doing the Camino “properly” turns fellow pilgrims into enemies and makes every (needed) break stressful as you watch other walkers pass and you imagine them stealing your bed. We had no time for coffee, sightseeing, or a relaxing lunch. That’s not what the Camino should be.

Below: Nájera, with its unusual sandstone cliffs now occupied by a large stork colony. The storks, which make nests on virtually every church in this part of Spain, constantly click their beaks together, a disconcerting sound that makes me think of bones rattling.

Below: Fortunately, we made it to Azofra in time to get some beds at the albergue. This is our private “pod” with its very narrow little beds. Could be worse!

Below: And this is the courtyard. Everything a pilgrim might want, including a pool in which to cool one’s feet.

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