Day 12: Santo Domino de Calzeda to Viloria de la Rioja, 15.0km

Today was Agatha's first day of walking the Camino, so she walked with me.  It's nice having someone to talk to while walking and I also find I walk faster, too, which is sometimes a good thing.

Before we got on the way, I needed to go to the Correo and mail a few things home to the U.S.  I decided the trail runners I had started out with (and replaced in Logroño) are not going to fit my feet again anytime soon, so back to Oregon they go!  I sent 2kg of "stuff" home.  Mostly things for cold weather that so far has not materialized.  Cost was about 25€.  Yikes.  I don't even want to think about how much money I have spent on shipping my crap around Europe!

We walked about 5km to Grañon and stopped so I could have a cafe con leche and have a mid-morning snack.  We looked at the church and I bought a handmade Tau cross for 5€ from a local man.  It takes him one hour to make each cross.  He also gave me a pilgrim cross pendant made out of bone for free.  I had always associated the Tau cross with St. Francis of Assisi but it actually has a stronger tie to the Camino, I am learning.

We continued walking until about 2p and stopped at the lovely Albergue Acacio and Orietta in Viloria de la Rioja.  This place is magical.  Acacio greeted us warmly, told us to go find a bed, take a shower, relax, then come back to pay.  There are 12 beds, all in one room and I felt like I was in heaven!  The small, private albergues are a real treat!

I settled in, took a nap, did some journaling, and relaxed until dinner.  Orietta served a wonderful meal.  There was a bean dish with sausage (from Brazil), rice, and another dish with lots of veggies.  Bread, salad, vino, and water completed the meal.  We all went around the table and introduced ourselves, where we were from, and why we were doing the Camino.  We had people from Brazil, England, Scotland (Philip, but he lives in Spain now), Portugal, Germany, Spain and the United States.  As is becoming the norm, I was the sole American.  I love these communal meals and it's something I am starting to look forward to and value very much.  At any given time there were conversations going in English, Spanish, Portugese and German!  It was awesome!  We had a chocolate pudding for dessert.  I was exhausted, so I went to bed shortly after dinner with a smile on my face and feeling very content.