Today’s stage on the Camino de Santiago is Day 8 Azofra to Viloria del Rioja, another quiet town on the Camino Frances.
If you haven’t stayed in a ‘donativo‘ albergue read on to find out about our first stay in one.
Camino Frances Day 8 Overview
- Distance – 32km
- From – Azofra
- To – Viloria del Rioja
- Min/Max Elevation – 539m/798m
- Elevation gain – 520m
- Steps – 45,000
We had a wonderful stay at the Azofra municipal albergue and left early at 5.30am with our head torch on at the ready. It is pretty dark this early in the morning and very quiet.
The Albergue in Azofra is fantastic and I would recommend anyone stay there. It has small rooms made out of plywood and all based on 2 people sharing.
Each floor has a good shower block and there is a plunge pool in the courtyard to chill after a long days walk.
The weather forecast has scheduled a very hot day today. Most Pilgrims will get up this early in the morning to avoid walking in the baking hot sun and this is exactly our plan today.
We left so early we managed to see the sunrise and it was truly breathtaking along with most of the other Pilgrims.
We’ve been walking 8 days on our pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela and we’re feeling fitter and healthier.
All this exercise is amazing but I’m really thankful for all the pre-training I did before leaving.
Santa Domingo de la Calzada
We decided to walk the whole way to Santa Domingo de la Calzada before stopping for our breakfast and managed to make it in 3.5 hours.
We were really cruising !
We stopped in this lovely small city and had the obligatory cafe con Leche and a rather large Danish type thing. It was gorgeous !
We also found this great water fountain next to the cathedral. Someone had to jump on and it was my mate Pilgrim Bob. A great picture.
The small old town streets and cathedral are fantastic to walk around and a great way to waste a few hours if this is your last stop of the day.
There is also a tree lined streets with bars and cafes which is really pleasant and it was full of Pilgrims on the Camino.
Santa Domingo de la Calzada - The Miracle of the Hen
Santo Domingo de la Calzada is also famous for the so-called ‘miracle of the hen’ one of the the most famous myths along the Camino de Santiago.
According to the legend, a German young man, called Hugonell, and his family were traveling as pilgrims to Santiago. They stopped for the night in Santa Domingo de la Calzada at local inn.
The Innkeepers daughter liked the young German man but he rejected her advances. The young woman was very upset and that night hid a silver cup in the young pilgrim’s bag, who would be later accused of theft and condemned to death by hanging.
Before his parents left for Santiago they went to say a final goodbye to their son and heard him say he had been saved by Santa Domingo de la Calzada.
This was down to the intervention of Saint Dominic who knew of the young man’s innocence.
The parents, suprised by this miracle, went to the local authorities to let them know. The local Sheriff of Santo Domingo was very skeptical and replied that their son would be as alive as the roasted cockerel and hen he was going to eat that very moment.
As he pronounced these words, the cockerel and hen instantly got up off the plate, their white feathers grew back and they started to sing.
To this day, in memory of the event, there is a white hen and cockerel kept inside the cathedral in Santa Domingo del la Calzada. The pair are replaced every month by donations from local devotees of the Saint.
If you get a chance to look around the cathedral there it is well worth it.
This stage of the Camino Frances takes us from small village to village and walking through fields of wheat for hours on end.
It was pretty boring but the views and scenery are amazing. The picture below I took specifically for my daughter, Grace, as she loves pictures of all the old doors on the Camino.
Our afternoon section of this Camino stage took us through Granon, Redecilla de Camino and Castildelgado and after a very hot 32km we arrived in Viloria del Rioja.
This village is a stop between stages according to the John Brierley guidebook.
We had decided not to book an Albergue and wing it, and had a choice of 2 Albergues. We decided to try out a ‘donativo‘ albergue as we havent tried staying in on of those as yet.
Donativo Albergues are maintained exclusively with donations from Pilgrims on the Camino and don’t receive any public funds.
They are mainly operated by veteran pilgrims who have walked el Camino de Santiago multiple times.
A lot of these pilgrims have bought properties on the Camino and run these albergues for the love of the pilgrimage and to help pilgrims currently walking to Santiago.
They are also sometimes run by local parishes, churches, monasteries or local people and are sometimes the best Albergues on the Camino.
But remember Donativo doesn’t mean free !
How do Donativo Albergues work ?
Donativo typically means that you pay the price that you find fair and reasonable – what the size of that amount is, is up to you, and your ability to pay. It doesn’t mean its free !
Sometimes there will be a suggested rate for your bed for the night.
I suggest you leave it as clean as you found it. Your ‘donation’ will help fund the running of the Albergue and also to feed the Pilgrims arriving the next day.
This is how it continues….. Pilgrims on the Camino arriving day after day.
Viloria del Rioja
Viloria del Rioja is actually a really small village and the choice of Albergue was small as there are only 2 in the village.
We chose the Parada Viloria albergue. It is a ‘donativo’ and the suggested rate for the night was €8 per person which included a pilgrim meal as well. Fantastic value.
It was an old barn and a brilliant place to stay. The rooms we’re comfy but a bit basic and the beds are pretty close to each other.
We’ve been on the Camino Frances for 8 days now so we’re used to it now. Let’s hope the food is good.
We sat with other pilgrims chatting about the Camino and made some good connections with other Pilgrims.
Eventually the hospitalero brought out an amazing Paella. Pilgrim Bob really wanted to cook some food on this Camino so was keen to get up and serve to the other pilgrims but someone got there before him.
We’ll get to cooking food in an Albergue on another day.
The Paella was delicious and washed down with a lovely Rioja was a perfect end to the evening.
Tips for Pilgrims walking the Camino
Accommodation in Viloria del Rioja
There are a couple of albergues in Viloria del Rioja and are there to mainly service pilgrims. One is bookable and the other is reservable via telephone.
If you haven’t tried a ‘donativo‘ on the Camino Frances yet, I recommend you give it a chance.
The Parada Viloria Albergue was very good.
Refugio Acacio y Orietta
Parada Viloria albergue
I hope you enjoyed reading about the walking stage on Day 8 Azofra to Viloria del Rioja. It was a great walking stage on the Camino Frances.
To follow our journey read about our travels on Day 9 Viloria del Rioja to Villafranca Montes de Oca