September 21, 2002

9/21/02 St Domingo de la Cazada

22 km

Didn't sleep so well last night. Spent about an hour in the bathroom, but when nothing happened, I decided to go back to bed. Slept soundly for the rest of the night.

So far, this has been one of the few refugios that asked for donations but did not require that you pay to spend the night. And they even served breakfast. I followed Angela out the door around 7am. Couldn't see any stars because of the clouds. And we could barely follow the pilgrims ahead because it was so dark.

Cut wheat fields remind me of home back in Kansas

As the sun came up behind us, we walked through farm fields all around. It was cool and the clouds seemed to keep at bay, nearer the mountaintops. All day, we walked gravel farm roads. Sometimes I was with Angela, sometimes with Paco, but mostly I walked alone. But always I could see pilgrims ahead.

When I finally topped the last hill, I couldn't believe we had already reached Santo Domingo. Ah, but looks could be deceiving. It took at least another hour to enter the city.

This whole trip has seemed so luxurious because of these wonderful refugios. In Santo Domingo, the hospitalero was a Frenchman. And again we didn't have to pay but they appreciated any donations.

Refugio beds line the wall under a Camino road map

I helped Josué cook pasta for the first time. Seems college students in Spain don't know about Ramen Noodles. When Paco stopped by, we asked him to join us and Marina. Afterward, we headed to the cathedral and museum.

This has been the first church that charged admission (except during mass), even to pilgrims. But this 12th century church is impressive. This was also the first church that didn't allow cameras. The strangest thing about the inside the church was the chicken coop.

Cathedral's baroque tower (1762)

The stone coop over the door (1460) is a reminder of the miracle of the "hanged innocent" in which a young pilgrim was wrongly hanged. But when his parents returned from Santiago, they found him still alive hanging by the noose. They ran to a city official to ask for his release, but the man stated that they boy was as alive as the roasting chickens sitting on his dinner plate. That's when the birds jumped up, feathers returned and they flew away. The chickens in the coop now are said to be descendants of the same two chickens.

We went back to the refugio just to hang out but we were stuck inside because of the frequent rain showers. Met Jesse, an Australian who has been working in Scotland for the last couple of years. But is now finally making her way back home. She met Chris from Brazil in Edinburgh and they both decided to do the Camino together. Also sharing a glass of wine with us was Isaac, a young guy with long red hair from Barcelona.

Because it was Saturday night, the evening service at the church was standing room only. We were disappointed there wasn't any choir because we had heard there might be some Gregorian chants. We got back to the refugio before 9pm but already found some people fast asleep in bed.