10.00am A great night’s sleep. I’ve just eaten a gargantuan breakfast , feel refreshed and ready to hit the road again. Before leaving I’m going to visit the Cathedral opposite the hotel. This town is the place where ” The Miracle of The Cock ” occurred ( stop sniggering at the back ) .
The story goes that in the 14 th century, a German 18-year old named Hugonell, from Xanten, goes on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela with his parents. A Spanish girl at the hostel where they were staying falls in love with him; Hugonell denies her advances. Angry at this, the girl hides a silver cup in the German’s bag and informs the authorities that the young man has taken it. Hugonell is sentenced to death in the gallows, in accordance with the laws of Alfonso X of Castile.
Mourning the death of his son, the parents sadly decide to examine their son’s body, still hanging on the gallows, but suddenly they hear his voice. He tells them that Santo Domingo de la Calzada has kept him alive.
His parents quickly go to see the magistrate in order to announce that the miracle has taken place. The magistrate, who is at the time eating dinner remarks: “Your son is as alive as this cock and hen that I am about to eat”. And in that moment, the two birds jump from the plate and begin to sing and crow happily.
Since then the cathedral of Santo Domingo has contained a stone hen house inside of which there is kept a white cock and a hen.
9.20pm A leisurely start today and I felt all the better for it. I left The Parador in San Domingo around 10.00am and sat on a bench in the square outside , wondering how far I should walk today. There was a slightly forlorn looking fellow at the other end of the bench. Turned out to be a lad named John from near Omagh in Northern Ireland. He’d developed bad blisters on his left heel and had seen the ” foot Doctor ” in the town last night . The blisters were drained but he was told he needed to rest for 4 days . The “crock count ” is increasing by the day. We shared a few Camino stories and parted company as I walked across the square towards the Cathedral to further investigate ” The Miracle of The Cock “. It didn’t take long to locate the unfortunate cock and hen incarcerated in their stone cage in an elevated position on a wall within the Cathedral. You can just about see them on the photos. Can you imagine what an outcry there would be if this were to happen back home ?
I walked on for a few km then pulled in at a cute little village named Granon. I stopped and shared a glass of Rioja with Forrest from Oregon and Mimi from Germany. Mimi was dressing her blisters/hot spots and I complemented her in the artistic job she had done ( see photo ). Who should then walk up to us but Conor , seemingly recovered from his calf problem. Conor , Mimi and I then walked on for a spell and left La Rioja behind crossing into Castilla Y Leon , the largest autonomous region in Spain. Cycling up from behind us came Harry , one of a group of 3 young Austrian lads who , earlier on The Camino , had spent a while walking with Conor and the Aussie girls. Harry had seen a Doctor in Logrono about a leg problem and had been advised to stop walking. What did he do ? He went off and bought a bike . He’s now cycling while his pals walk.
John , the Northern Irish guy I met this morning , told me a Camino story that is worth repeating here. He had spent a couple of days walking with a guy from Albany , New York and this man was carrying the ashes of his recently deceased Mother. His intention was to sprinkle the ashes in the most beautiful parts of The Camino. He had also said a prayer at the start in St Jean that he would receive one last kiss from his Mother somewhere on The Camino. Three days later he spent a very pleasant day in the company of an Israeli lady. They parted company as she was walking a bit further on. She gave him a kiss before doing so and they exchanged contact details. It turned out she had the the same name as his Mother and was the exact same age.
I reached Belorado at 5.30pm and had a look around town. Like other towns and villages I passed through today it looks like Spaghetti Western country and I kept expecting Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cliff to step out into the street and start shooting. Only one other person is in my dorm tonight , an Aussie lady from Queensland so I’m optimistic that I’ll get some decent sleep.