Stage 11: Alfaro – Tudela (24.6 km)

I woke this morning feeling better in my legs but not yet ready to recommence walking the Stages.

The grace we are praying for: Today we are praying for a greater intimacy with and love of Jesus as we contemplate his birth.

Saint Ignatius invites us to: “see the persons, namely, our Lady, Saint Joseph, the maid and the Child Jesus after His birth.  I will make myself a poor little unworthy slave, and as though present, look upon them, contemplate them, and serve them in their needs with all possible homage and reverence.”

I invited the pilgrims to walk with the contemplation of the nativity: to be present as Mary gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Our special intention today is that people will respect and preserve the environment.

After the rest of the pilgrims had left, I hobbled up to the San Miguel Collegiate Church, and waited until it opened just after 10.00am.  I spent an hour there praying on the nativity scene. I also prayed for the pilgrims on the road.  I prayed at this beautiful side altar which features Our Lady.

The side altar at San Miguel Collegiate Church

The side altar at San Miguel Collegiate Church

After my prayer I looked for a Farmacia in order to purchase a compression sock for my lower right leg.  A man who was playing soccer with his young son in the square in front of the Church showed me the way. I was very touched by his kindness and how welcoming and helpful the people in the Farmacia were.  The compression sock has given me much relief from the pain.

I walked back to the Hotel Palacios in time to catch the bus to Tudela at 11.30am.

Geraldine Naismith wearing the saftey vest

Geraldine Naismith wearing the saftey vest

Our system on the open road. As a group we have developed a system when walking on the open road. The two designated navigators for the day walk at the front.  Michael Bertie and Larry Naismith have GPSs, and Peter Walden has the downloaded the maps from Wikiloc onto his iPad which he carries with him.  One of the two wears a bright yellow safety vest.  The person at the back of the group also wears a bright yellow safety vest and makes sure than no one is inadvertently left behind (at a toilet stop for instance), or takes a wrong turn. We walk in single file.  If a vehicle is approaching from behind people call out, “Car back!”  If a vehicle is approaching from ahead people call out, “Car front!” We are very careful to get right off the road when cars drive by.

Today’s walk:  Peter Walden writes about today’s walk and has emailed me these photos:

         “We walked 27 kms despite the documentation saying 24.6 km. Some of this can be attributed to the hotel being  1km from the finish of this Stage of the Camino. We arrived safely as one group and we were blessed with slightly cooler weather despite the forecast saying it would be hotter than yesterday. 

There was very little shade today

There was very little shade today

For most of the day we followed the Ebro River and we were rewarded with excellent views of the river. 

Today we followed the Ebro Rover

Today we followed the Ebro River

A bridge over the Ebro River

A bridge over the Ebro River

We were struggling to find a suitable lunch site as shade was at a premium again today.  Then before us was a run down house and shading it was a lovely Aussie gumtree, and it even had a tree house. 

Lunch under an Australian gum tree

Lunch under an Australian gum tree

Farming and harvesting was again the theme for today.  Peaches, tomatoes and apples. It was pointed out to us today that the Spanish farmers do not build their houses on their land, but instead live in nearby villages and towns,  and even park their tractors under the house or at the back or their houses. The group covered 27 kms today and they were thankful to reach the hotel in Tudela at 3:45pm.”

About Tudela.  Founded in 802, Tudela is one of the most important cities of Muslim origin in Spain and Europe. For more than 400 years, Muslims, Jews and Mozarabs coexisted, making the city a cultural melting-pot which is reflected in its historic buildings, winding streets, alleyways, walls and watchtowers.

The architectural gem of the city is the 12th century Cathedral of Santa Maria, built over the remains of an old mosque. It features a beautiful doorway, Romanesque cloister, and light-filled Gothic central nave.

2 thoughts on “Stage 11: Alfaro – Tudela (24.6 km)

  1. Dear Michael,
    I am a West Aussie who just happens to be following your Camino by reading your daily entries. Last year I walked from Granada to Santiago and then on to Finisterre, so your Camino is rekindling all my memories of beautiful Spain. I am so sorry about your shin splints, but so pleased you listened to your body and had rest days. I feel your disappointment, but walking a Camino presents us with many unexpected lessons. Hopefully your shin splints have now greatly improved.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and the other Pilgrims, and I look forward to your continuing posts, as you continue your Camino to Montserrat and Manresa.
    Buen Camino.

    • Dear Sandra,
      Thank you for your comment. I am afraid there is nothing I can do to hurry the healing process along other than to rest. But this IS my Camino. It strikes me that Inigo himself was forced to rest when he was recuperating after being wounded at Pamplona, and that it was in this period of inactivity that he began to reflect on his experience more deeply and gain spiritual insight. Perhaps there is something for me to learn from this enforced rest? I hope so!

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