Stage 7 – Santa Maria la Real de Nieva to Coca, 23.4 km

Despite the bunk beds in last night’s accommodation being more like hammocks with deeply sagging springs and mattresses, we all had a good night’s sleep in the tiny albergue and weren’t in any rush to leave as we had a short day today. Eli went off in search of breakfast, and Marilyn and I departed at a very tardy 07:50, leaving Paul eating his porridge.

Again the day started dull, but not nearly so cold as the previous days. We soon found Eli who had failed in her breakfast quest and we continued to a village just a couple of kms away, but none of the several bars were open. We eventually found more life at 13 km in the sizeable town of Nava de la Asunción, where we found Paul ensconced in a cosy cafe drinking a large cafe con leche and tucking into a tortilla. I ordered a fresh squeezed orange juice and a couple of tiny filled rolls before setting off again under the brightening sky.

The promised rain never turned up, although occasionally the clouds were quite threatening. During the first part of the walk, through pine forest we came across a message written in sticks and noticed that someone had written yesterday’s date. It may well have been Carsten or Dave who are a day ahead of us. I updated it and hoped that each passing day would bring a new pilgrim to keep the calendar correct.

We passed a newly planted strawberry field (and both Marilyn and I predictably started singing ‘strawberry fields forever’, but had to take a hop and a skip to avoid the watering system which was also watering the track and any passing pilgrims!

We all played cat and mouse with each other today. Marilyn and I walked together for a while, but I only glimpsed Paul and Eli in the distance, either in front or behind and we all walked our own walk. The second part was entirely through pine forest on very soft sand – rather like hiking on the beach. I needed a bit of propulsion, so plugged in to my camino playlist and zoomed off at a great pace. As I am sure I have said in the past, listening to music with the right beat for a quick pace really helps energise me – all aches temporarily disappear and movement is fluid.

The last ten kms seemed to pass in no time and I arrived in the town of Coca at 13:30. Paul had already found the albergue and alerted the kind hospitalera to our arrival. The albergue is in an unreformed village house and is rather basic, but has all we need. If the 16 beds were all taken, the one bathroom might have caused an impatient queue, but as we are only four, there will be no problem. Cost 5 euros. I was allocated a room with just one bunk bed which I have to myself, Paul is alone and Eli and Marilyn are sharing. The Spanish ladies walked on. I was quick into the shower and did a mound of washing before wandering out to discover the gems of Coca, including a fifteenth century Gothic-Mudéjar red brick castle, a Gothic church and the towering Mudéjar tower of San Nicolas.

There are plenty of bars, restaurants and shops here and we need to stock up on provisions as there are unlikely to be any shops open for the next two days, tomorrow being Sunday, and Monday being the Mayday national holiday.

I haven’t yet tempted fate by mentioning my lack of health issues. I stopped a blister in its tracks on day 2 by use of tape on my heel and Engo patch in my boot. I had the usual issues with my pack straps rubbing and bruising my collar bones for the first few days, but that has already eased, and my pack is generally feeling fairly comfortable and not too burdensome. So, one week in and all is well.

We have lost Carsten and Ralf for the time being and only coincided with Dave for a couple of days. But the four of us who remain are great companions, each enjoying being part of the group when it suits and wandering off on our own when it feels right. Perfect camigos.

Today’s distance 23.4 km
Accumulated uphill elevation 8 m
Accumulated downhill elevation 97 m
Total distance 175.4 km
Average per day 25 km

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue http://www.magwood.me
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17 Responses to Stage 7 – Santa Maria la Real de Nieva to Coca, 23.4 km

  1. Janice Tyler says:

    Great pix as always x

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  2. JoAl says:

    Great report again Maggie. Glad you enjoyed Coca. Its a great place. If there’s a buff inside the ‘berge its mine,left on a bedpost grrr. Stay well and enjoy. X

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  3. Dave says:

    Carsten, Ralf and me are having dinner in Alcazaren, Bar Real, just 25 kms north from you. Carsten is on his second bottle of wine, Ralf is on his mobile and everything is good. We are going slowly now so you will catch up soon and we will drink more champagne together.

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    • magwood says:

      Just finished our bottle of cava! How was your dinner? You will have to walk very slowly for us to catch up with you. Watch out for the rain tomorrow!
      Buen camino!

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  4. David says:

    The weather is not the best but you seem to be enjoying your Camino with your colleagues.
    Have a good nights sleep/rest and I hope the temperature rises tomorrow Buen Camino

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  5. Jacki Liuzzi says:

    Loving reading your blog. I’m feeling the call to go back and do another Camino. Perhaps next year. I envy that you are so close to all these beautiful walks. A long 24 hour trip from Australia. Buen Camino.

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  6. Ellie Hutcheon says:

    So enjoying your posts, thank you. Walked Camino Frances from Roncesvalles to Santiago in 2012 and Le Puy to Conques ( and some of Camino Frances) late 2016. Hoping to walk from Portugal to Santiago de Compostela next year. Will keep following as route from Madrid sounds wonderful too.

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    • magwood says:

      I’m enjoying this camino, although it is very flat for the most part which doesn’t really suit me. Only a few more days on the Madrid and then we join the Frances for a couple of days. Not looking forward to the crowds we will encounter, but we will soon be back in solitude once on the Salvador.

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  7. OzAnnie says:

    A beautiful way – and you’re still a happy little band of 4.
    That castle is magnificent
    Buen camino
    Annie

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  8. Mary Lynch says:

    Maggie I’m enjoying this Camino almost as much as you are. Delighted you have no health problems. I like the sound of your travelling companions they sound like they are very easy company. Isn’t Spain an amazing country with all these hidden gems of towns. Loving the photos as ever. Buen Camino xx

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  9. Henk Slabbekoorn says:

    As usual, I very much enjoy your blog. The words as much as the pictures.
    Without asking your permission I used your “Caminante …” picture for the finishing entry of the Facebook pages I wrote for my children about the VdlP. But, your name is mentioned as the photographer–so you might get famous. In my family. Thanks for the opportunity!

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  10. Hi Maggie,
    Am loving the pics from this beautiful town. I so enjoy opening your blog every morning with my cup of coffee and imagining all you are doing…Continue to have a Buen Camino…
    Cathy

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  11. Alan says:

    This is so majestic! I’m definitely adding the Madrid Camino to my wish list! Buen Camino, Maggie!

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