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Day 2 on Camino with Doc Martin.​

1st May 2020


Day 2 on Camino with Doc Martin.

Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada 21km

Thankfully today is not as long as yesterday. Walking large numbers of kilometres takes its toll on the legs and the feetwhen it is day after day. Psychology plays a big role too, when you know it is a shorter walk. Shorter it maybe, but it is still along day ahead, so Martin is out early to begin his day.Starting at 8am instead of 7am, is one of the perks of a shorter day! He recognises a lone walker in the distance…..think you call him Ben, but he knows he can’t walk with him……don’t care too much about this social distancing but it has to be done!

Najera roughly translated means a place between rocks and Martin quickly discovers the true meaning behind the name,as he leaves the town and wends his way up the hill between high cliffs!! It is a steep climb and the legs quickly remind him that he covered 28 km yesterday. Like most Spanish towns there are plenty of churches but Martin knows the whole country are praying for him so he won’t drop into one today! Mary Devlin a fellow Rambling Retiree had sent him a message to say she would log on for Mass instead of walking with him this morning, while other Ramblers were out early supporting Martin on his walk to Azofra.

He crosses over the river Najerilla which reminds him of the Lagan and he starts whistling Barnbrack’s ‘Belfast’. A van pulls up on the road and he can see the company logo, Thompson Aeroseats. The driver jumps out and puts a tenner under the gate and shouts, “Throw that in your collection,” and was gone. How good are people? Something looks familiar about the path. Was he here before……maybe not! A forest looms before him but it is only a kilometre long and he is back out in farmland and vines. Thankfully he is coming down hill and can see his stopping point away in the distance.

6km done and the village of Azofra is round the corner. Café Peregrino looks very welcoming. A wee stop here for a coffee! Like most small Irish villages there are two pubs, a few shops and a church. As he leaves the village he passes the church and he does what he always does, he pulls the rope and rings the huge bell at the entrance. The dogs all go wild howling and he slips quietly behind the village name board and onto a dust track. The views from the track are splendid,as flat countryside opens out in front of him. Another figure appears in the distance. He looks familiar. He definitly saw him yesterday too! Josh is walking from Azofra to Cirinuelaas he knows there’s a great wee café where lunch will be served rather than having to make it oneself!

A postman appears on his deliveries and he too drops a £10 donation off for Martin. Trocaire are delighted as the total is creeping up towards £20,000 with £18,730 in donations this morning.

Next up is the village of Ciruena and Martin is delighted as he has covered 10km although he has abandoned his Strava in favour of his old faithful Endomondo who definitly clocks the kilometers better!. Ah time for lunch!

Leaving the village he is now walking on earthen roads between fields but it is soft under foot, so the feet enjoy therest. Phew, he avoids a near accident there as an automatic gate suddenly closes just as he is passing through it. Whowould have thought that farmers were so into their technology in this remote part of Lisburn!!

After a big shower of rain, the sun is shining and the grass definitly looks greener! He plods on, but he is now feeling the need to talk to someone. Martin knows the value of company on Camino. A good ould chat helps the time and the kilometers to slip away. He misses his friend Paddy Hannigan throwing in gems like ….you’re some man for one man!! He chuckles to himself and right on cue Paddy rings him just as he passes the outskirts of Cirineula. This will be kill a few kilometers he thinks as Niall Ward throws a bottle of wine off at the gate! Hope he knows Martin drinks Rioja by now!!!

He has made really good progress today but the sun beating down in open countryside slows him down as he needs to stop for drinks to keep himself hydrated. Walking in open countryside is draining and the energy levels become depleted quickly. Thankfully Therese has packed snacks to help lift the blood sugar. What a woman!

Coming into Santo Domingo de la Calzada he passes a sports ground and his heart pumps faster as he thinks of Kirkwoodsand his beloved St. Pats! Lo and behold! A big box of Spanish goodies has just been dropped off by St. Patricks GAC, for Martin to enjoy at the end of the day! How good is that? But this is a man on a mission now. A cyclist shouts from the roadway and hurls over a can of Bulgarian beer. “Must be our Eugene, thinks Martin as he was skiing there back in March! Just at that, the heaven’s open and the rain belts down on the weary traveller. But he is almost there and having arrived atthe Cathedral of San Salvador where he was told to look out for a cock and a hen, very much alive, in a pen, high up inside the building, a symbol of faith and hope according to an old tale. Martin has faith and hope in abundance, but seeing is believing, so he deviates off the route and checks for himself. Curiosity satisfied!!

Day 2 and 49 kilometres completed. Almost halfway already and the Trocaire total is now £19,440 Time to remove the boots and examine the feet. They need pampered because tomorrow is a new day! Could be a big screening tonight as UTV might just broadcast the journey!

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