Camino de Santiago Day 3: Navarrete to Belorado, Spain

Passing through the picturesque town of Najera.
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Camino de Santiago Day 3: Navarrete to Belorado , 60 kms.

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I got up early at 5:00AM and was wondering whether to leave or not because it was still dark and could hardly see the road so I waited for dawn to break in the albergue’s small lobby. There were just a handful of souls awake and ready to go. We all greeted each other Buen Camino after buenos dias though it was funny for we all spoke English – three Texans, a Brit and myself. They were all walking and I was the only biker.

Passing through the picturesque town of Najera.
Passing through the picturesque town of Najera.

Navarrete to Belorado, 60 kms.

In this deserted stretch of road, I tried to take a selfie of myself with the camera on the tripod. This was the 6th try before I got something quite decent!
In this deserted stretch of road, I tried to take a selfie of myself with the camera on the tripod. This was the 6th try before I got something quite decent!
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That's Compo, resting on the bridge across the autovia.
That’s Compo, resting on the bridge across the autovia.
I parked by this abandoned gas station to catch my breath in the hot noonday sun.
I parked by this abandoned gas station to catch my breath in the hot noonday sun.

Looking at Compo (I gave my bike a nickname) leaning against the fence, I realized that I had been biking for two days with the fork turned the wrong way! No wonder the front wheel sometimes hit my shoe since it was much closer to me but otherwise I felt no difference. I had to rectify it though so taking the toolkit that came with the bike, I turned it around before accidentally twisting my index finger on the pedal. Ouch! There was an ugly blister but nothing broken I hoped.

Nearing Santo Domingo de la Calzada, a rainstorm was brewing - good the squall passed quickly before I got to that place.
Nearing Santo Domingo de la Calzada, a rainstorm was brewing – good the squall passed quickly before I got to that place.

Getting light and had to go…..

Lots of greenery was a welcome sight for tired eyes that had been staring endlessly at the ribbon of asphalt.
Lots of greenery was a welcome sight for tired eyes that had been staring endlessly at the ribbon of asphalt.

The road to Sto. Domingo dela Calzada (the first phase of 37kms.) was undulating through wide fields and I set an easy pace which made me feel good since it wasn’t so tiring with the gradient not too steep. I was about to turn on the music in my Ipod and listen to some Beach Boys but I thought it was better to just listen to the wind humming through my helmet. It was one of those days when you felt upbeat with the sun shining gloriously down on you and all was alright with the world. Perhaps it was something in the coffee at the albergue or my body was starting to get used to the ordeal because I was in high spirits.

Sometimes the Camino joined the busy highway like this one here on the outskirts of Navarrete.
Sometimes the Camino joined the busy highway like this one here on the outskirts of Navarrete.
The landscape sometimes turned golden with the newly-harvested stalks of wheat.
The landscape sometimes turned golden with the newly-harvested stalks of wheat.

Lunch at a road side restaurant was the usual pilgrim menu and I ordered potato soup with pork chops and leche flan for dessert as an added bonus. I tried their sweet la Rioja wine since this was one of Spain’s famous wine regions after all. There were a couple of bikers around and we got to talking about the route. One had come all the way from Paris and had been on the road now for over a month while another started his sojourn in Genoa, Italy! It was quite fascinating to listen to their stories which were much more exciting than what I had to offer. So when one asked where I started from, I said all the way from Bangkok thru China and the Asian landmass till I got to the European continent. Now that opened their eyes! When I told them I was just kidding, we all had a good laugh about it.

Double-deck accommodation in the albergue.
Double-deck accommodation in the albergue.


It's a joy when the road like this meanders downward and you go free-wheeling with the bike for several kilometers! - Navarrete to Belorado
It’s a joy when the road like this meanders downward and you go free-wheeling with the bike for several kilometers! Navarrete to Belorado

Past 2:00PM, I pushed off for the second leg, 23kms. to Belorado. It was mostly downhill and I thought I had it good when disaster struck! The left pedal came off and try as hard as I did, I couldn’t screw it on completely back to the crankarm. It must’ve been a loose thread inside. So with about 15 more kms. to go, I had to gingerly push on the left side and it came off a couple more times and every time it did, I had to grit my teeth to stop myself from cursing! You’re on a pilgrimage, I told myself,you’re not supposed to do that. And so, I guess, the whole incident taught me the virtue of patience.

Tasty porkchops for a peregrino lunch.
Tasty porkchops for a peregrino lunch.

Good thing there was a bike shop as I entered the town and the guy told me in halting English (which was as bad as my broken Spanish) that I better change the offending arm. He knew I was a peregrino (pilgrim) so he offered me a used one and said I could pay whatever I wanted. Es de 5 Euros suficiente? I asked. He nodded smilingly and off I went with a good pedal!

Most of the albergues have common toilet facilities like this and they all are spotlessly clean.
Most of the albergues have common toilet facilities like this and they all are spotlessly clean.

It was still bright at 6:30PM so I cycled around the compact town to check out interesting sights which weren’t many except for the small church. The albergue just had a few guests so after registering and having an early dinner followed by a hot shower, I decided to call it a night. In the room of two double deck beds, I was the only guest. It was quiet and I drifted off to sleep immediately……though my index finger was still throbbing with pain.

Note: This was my daily journal throughout the pilgrimage route which took all of 12 days from Pamplona to Santiago de Compostela.

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