Day 8 // Azofra – Villamayor del Rìo // 34.2 km

I hear the alarm before 5 AM, but I do not want to get up. But I have to. We leave the auberge a bit after 6 AM. Alejandro left 40 minutes before us, because his speed isn't as fast anymore, I bet we'll catch him later! 

My bag today is at least a kilogram heavier. If I buy food at a grocery store, especially veggies and fruit, then it's harder to carry the bag. But eating white-bread sandwiches at the cafes all the time is impossible! Today in my bag I have a tomato, a huge nectarine, 2 bananas and a chocolate - almost a kilogram altogether. 

The weather today is cool and dark. Finally we get to use the flashlights, now we look like fireflies.

We get to an intersection for which we cannot spot any signs. We look everywhere and we see none! We start pointing the flashlights at the ground and then we spot a faded yellow letter. We have to go straight. It felt like I was in an escape room. 

We continue the journey. Daniela and I are moving pretty quickly, the rest of the Italians are behind. The journey for the two older Italian ladies will cost a bit more, since both of them have been using the courier option for their bags - they get sent to the next auberge every day. But the service providers calculate the stages after the book/standard distance, and since often we do more than one stage in the day, it gets even more expensive for them. To get the bags through one stage costs them 40 euros. You do the math! 

At around 7 AM we can turn off the flashlights, because it's getting lighter. After a while the sun is out too. 

Good morning!

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After getting done with the first 10 kilometers, we reach the first town. A black cat crosses the road. He got places to be too! I'm ready second breakfast now. We passed the first cafe because it looked kind of suspicious. We saw a sign for another cafe, a bit off our path, but it does not matter - Agnese wants her second breakfast and she's going to follow her dreams! But.. it was closed.. We wasted 500 meters. Doesn't seem like a lot but every meter counts for us. I ate my sandwich right there by the doors. Lesson learned - go into the first cafe! 

We continue walking. The scenery is similar to the ones before - meadows. And after a while I smiled. There was a shepherd in front of us and two of his assistants - dogs and a herd of sheep. And all of them crossed the road right as we we're walking. They were so passionate about their jobs, that dogs didn't even care about us. We talked a bit with the old man and he wished us a good journey. Of course, in a herd of white sheep - one was black. Seeing that was a little dream of mine.

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After a while we reached the second town. 15 kilometers done! We meet Alejandro in the first cafe. Turns out he picked the wrong way at the dark intersection and walked an extra 1.5 kilometers. He wasn't happy about that. 

We reach Santo Domingo de la Calzada which is an important landmark. It was built by Domingo Garcia and he built it because he saw how tired the pilgrims were and decided to build it as a shelter for them.

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There are chickens and roosters living in the cathedral. (there's a hen-roost right were the light is)

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Legends say that chickens revived from the dinner table just like the ones sentenced to death. They say that if the rooster is singing when you're in the cathedral, then the Camino will be successful. We tried to get their attention, even by doing rooster sounds - nothing. They did not sing. 

We have a good pace this morning. Up until 20 kilometers we feel amazing. The legs feel rested. Later it gets a little tougher. The meadows are still there, but now they're striped - zebra land!

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As we reach the end of the day, the little towns feel really close to each other. Every 2-3 kilometers. I decide not to fill up my water bottles. Every kilogram on my back counts. In one of the rest stops we are joined by a little friend. We didn't have any meat, but he is not spoiled - he got a bit of our bread.

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The last 3 kilometers were really hard to do. I turned my mind off and went into robot mode. We finally reach the destination of the day, but the trouble doesn't end there. We are deep in the country. The owner of the auberge asks us if we will eat dinner there or somewhere else. After checking out the auberge, we decided to eat out. He warned us not to beg for dinner later, because it is the last minute to order something. We got to the restaurant where we stopped 2 hours ago to ask for directions for the auberge. Sunday nights they're closed. It is already closed. And that is it.. there is nothing else in this little town. Not even a grocery store. Worst case scenario - I got my 2 bananas and the chocolate bar. I could survive until the morning. The only thing the auberge owner can offer us is Bocadillas - the sandwiches I mentioned earlier. A block of bread. A COLD BLOCK OF BREAD. We have no choice…

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And everyone eats them here. At some cafes they put a lettuce leaf between them and heat them up.  

There is a bit of trouble with tomorrows plan - there are no free spots at the auberge we wanted to stay the next night. Doing one stage in a day is tough enough, but now we have to do 4 kilometers extra. Doesn't seem too bad, but remembering the last 3 kilometers of today, I know everything is going to hurt really bad and the end of tomorrow. 

I don't know who to blame for today - the black cat or the rooster who did not sing for us. 

I think it was the rooster. 

Goodnight from the countryside!

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