By the end of the day, we were already out of La Rioja and into Castilla y León. The dominant crop has changed from grapes to potatoes. The last part of the day’s 26.5 kilometers was spent walking along a road busy with nothing but truck traffic. Some of the drivers wave, and others toot their horns at pilgrims. Nice to feel supported by the locals!

Below: Along the way, in the countryside outside of Azofra.

Below: Entering Cirueña. This is what it usually looks like when the pilgrim path through the countryside enters an urban area. You can see this on Street View, too.

Below: Cirueña was a horrible place. There was no better example of Spain’s economic depression than this ghost town, which was full of brand-new houses with no occupants. Almost every house and building had a “for sale” sign on it, and they were all empty.

Below: Cirueña. Even the public park in the middle of town was deserted. The swimming pool was empty and the drinking fountain wasn’t hooked up. And of course, there were no kids playing or even any people at all.

Below: Leaving Cirueña. This ridiculous scene repeated itself several times in Spain: fields of overgrown crops with paved streets and sidewalks running through them. But where are the houses?

Below: Phew! Back in the countryside after leaving Cirueña as quickly as possible (not that there were any businesses or amenities for pilgrims there, anyway). On the way out of town, we passed what must have once been the original settlement, consisting now of just half-demolished stone barns, decaying houses, and overgrown gardens. This was much more pleasant:

Below: A pilgrim displays on her backpack one of the rainbow-coloured dish scrubbers that our Korean roommates gave us back in Larrasoaña.

Below: Grañón and some pilgrims chest-deep in crops. We also passed through Santo Domingo de la Calzada today, famous as the town that keeps a rooster and a hen in its cathedral. But we didn’t go in, because they were charging admission. To hell with that, literally!

Below: Looking back east.

Below: Spot the pilgrims in this photo.

Below: We were starting to experience the landscape referred to as the meseta, endless flat fields with no distinguishing features.

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