Day 12 – Santo Domingo to Rabé de las Calzados (12 km)
It was still raining the day after my Santo Domingo experience and, after returning to Burgos and visiting Monasterio de las Huelgas Reales, I was again on my way due west. At about five in the afternoon I reached Rabé de las Calzados which had the only albergue open during winter for the next seventeen kilometres. It was the place for my night’s stay, although I had only walked twelve kilometres. The albergue was surprisingly modern and well kept. I had a double-storey building all to myself and the wife of the hostelleria cooked a three-course dinner and made a wood fire in the ‘dining room’ hearth, all just for one pilgrim. What dedication and what luxury!
On my way to Rabé I encountered the worst clay of the route: being wet, it compacted under my boots so that I grew taller and taller – I really felt a height increase – and footprints were at least double their normal size. It felt as if I was wearing leaden shoes and this made walking rather tiring. Even my walking sticks, which I desperately needed to maintain balance, had built-up clumps of clay and became unwieldly. Once I had passed the worst area, it was quite a task to scrape off the clay, but the cleaner condition did not last long. The clay was with me for the next two days, although never as thick as in this region.
The footprints of my boots were at least double their normal size.