Struggling through the challenging times to arrive at the good ones.

I’d seen more wheat fields in the last week than I had in the previous 30 years of living in and around South Australia’s agricultural hub of the Barossa Valley. While I wasn’t entirely sick of the sight of them, I did need a brief intermission. Built into the hills along the Rio Tirón, the town of Belorado provided a much-needed respite on Day 10, offering a hearty selection of regional delicacies and an Albergue with a garden-encircled swimming pool.

Camino de Santiago Diary – Day 10

With a mellow light streaming through the morning’s threatening clouds, we departed our charming chapel accommodation and set out through yet another passage of prosperous greens and yellows. At some stage along the road on Day 9, the region’s wheat fields had overrun La Rioja’s iconic winemaking region. We wouldn’t see another vineyard for two weeks; grain crops would cover much of the agriculture-laden terrain until we reached Galicia in the country’s north-west.

Hot Air balloon Granon Camino

Hot Air balloon flying over Grañón

A cool morning breeze, a sweeping stretch of Hobbiton-like scenery and the presence of hot air balloons wafting over Grañón eased us into our day’s work. It wasn’t long before we entered Castilla y León (our third Spanish autonomous community of the trek) and thus began our expedition through Spain’s largest region.

The Camino Francés passes through four autonomous communities (Navarra, Rioja, Castille & Leon and Galicia) and seven provinces (Burgos, Palencia, Leon, Lugo and La Coruna).
caminodesantiago.com.au

Several friendly hamlets dotted the day’s manageable 16 kilometres, but, for the most part, an all-too-familiar cultivated view saturated our retinas. The final walk along the dusty service road into Belorado was as uninspiring as anticipated; however, a glistening paddock of white opium poppies delivered us some much-needed contrast from the near-constant wheat.

Belarado White Poppies Field Camino

We arrived in Belorado to find a growing assembly of pilgrims lined up in front of our planned accommodation, Albergue Cuatro Cantones – it appeared the hostel’s famed swimming pool had garnered plenty of interest. This was the earliest we’d arrived at our overnight Albergue, and we were glad to be sandwiched somewhere near the front of the line.

The riverside village of Belorado ticked all of the pilgrim-pleasure boxes. We feasted on delicious pinchos, sipped on aromatic wine, chatted with bighearted locals, admired rustic architecture and, of course, spent an hour soothing our overburdened bones in the pool. By the time my head hit the pillow that night, my mind was finally at ease.

Camino Belarado Town

The plant-lined walls of suburban Belorado

The Camino had served up some punishing challenges over the last week, but the past few hours had made the struggle all worth while. Day 9 proved a prime example of how battling through the tough times would, inevitably, lead to the good. I was excited to see what Day 11 had in store for us.

I snuggled into my quilt, gently closed my eyes and let out a satisfied breath. This is why we hike. Then, like a God-sent reminder not to take anything for granted, the thunderous trumpet of a night-long snore-fest filled the 20-bed dorm room.

All the details.

Trail distance covered

16.1km

Accommodation

Albergue Cuatro Cantones

Price

€10

Terrain

Short, cruisy, easy. The peaceful downward stroll out of Grañón leads to a flat uncomplicated stretch to Belorado.