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Cycling the Camino de Santiago - Day Seven (From the miracle chickens of Santo Domingo to a well-des

I am happy to inform you that today was a great day! 

For the first time in about three days my ankle was pain free when I woke up. 

This put me in a crazy good mood - not because it had really been THAT painful, but because the last few days had been underlined by a niggling worry - What if my ankle gets messed up in the middle of nowhere? What if I am stranded, alone,  with no shelter and no water, miles from the nearest town and am unable to walk? 

To not have that worry weighing on my mind was a sweet relief. 

But I digress. I woke early enough, pumped dioralyte into myself, and hit the road. 

Today's journey was roughly 40km in length and traversed field after agricultural field. 

Some contained corn, some sunflowers, some had green stalks that I couldn't immediately identify. 

Thankfully there were only a few uphill parts today - the terrain was largely flat, if not slightly undulating. 

Before long I had made it half way and stopped at Santo Domingo de la Calzada.

This is a beautiful little town where a lot of Pilgrims stop for the night. 

It is named after Saint Dominic, who was born near here. His remains, in fact, are interred in the town's cathedral. 

Visiting the cathedral is the main thing to do in Santo Domingo. 

While there is a fee to get in, which is unusual as most of the churches and monasteries along the Way are free to enter, it is well worth it. 

I think I paid just €3... Which was a discounted rate because I was in possession of a Pilgrim's Credential. 

There is a museum part as well as the cathedral itself, which is huge. 

There is a crypt and a mausoleum which contains the remains of Saint Dominic. 

There is also a tower you can climb, which is nice, though the views from the top are not exactly overwhelming. 

You can also walk the ramparts, though you really wouldn't want to be claustrophobic because some of the spaces you have to climb through are fairly tight. 

There is also, interestingly enough, a chicken coop in the cathedral. 

This is an homage to a supposed miracle carried out in the town by Saint Dominic many hundreds of years ago. 

The abridged version of the tale is as follows:

A German tourist arrived in the town on his Camino journey. 

A local girl fell in love with him, but her feelings were not reciprocated. 

Angry, the girl planted an item of silver on his person, framing him for theft. 

He was sentenced to hang, as thieves were at the time. 

His parents, who had been on the journey with him, continued their journey and then came back to see him. 

They were amazed to find him still hanging in the gallows, unharmed. He a said Saint Dominic had brought him back to life and to fetch the town Mayor for permission to cut him down. 

When they found the Mayor he was having dinner. He didn't believe the story and said something along the lines of: "That boy is as dead as this chicken I'm about to eat". 

Immediately, the roast chicken sprang from the table, grew feathers and a beak, and flew away.

To this day there are chickens in the cathedral, as sanctioned by a pope, in memory of the miracle. 

It's a nice tale, and it was an enjoyable visit, but it was time for me to motor on. 

Through similar terrain, and with no shade from the sun, I barrelled onwards to Belorado. 

Coming closer to the town, I spotted a dead dear on the side of the road which nearly broke my heart. 

Then I spotted two dead animals on the road itself, but I wasn't sure what they were. They looked like foxes, but their tails were striped. 

Are there raccoons in Spain? I'm not sure. 

Other wildlife included a myriad of falcons. On one stretch of maybe 500m or so, I counted 11 flying in the air above me. Magnificent creatures.

Upon arrival at my Albergue in Belorado, I paid my €9 for the night and discovered the place had a full on swimming pool. 

I nearly died with happiness. 

Needless to say I got right in, and spent the vast majority of the evening in and around it. 

Though my dorm was an eight-bed one, I ended up sharing with only three others - parents Horhea and Rosa, and their teenage son Rodrigo, from Madrid. 

Rodrigo, who had excellent English, introduced himself to me by asking candidly if I snored.

I replied that I didn't. 

He asked if I was sure. 

I said I was. 

He then joked that that was good, because if I did indeed snore then he would kill me in my sleep!! 

We got on like a house on fire. Lovely family - they're walking the entire Camino all the way to Finisterre. I was sad to leave them the next morning, but my journey called my onward, and uphillwards (!) to the big ol' city of Burgos. 

#camino #caminodeSantiago #belorado #SantoDomingodelacalzada #saintDominic #spain #sun #swimming #pool #theway #pilgrim #passport #credential #cathedral #tower #najera #hike #trek #holiday #adventure #burgos #cycling #albergue #hostel #chicken #falcons #deer

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