We started in easy after our rest day in Logrono — about eight miles to Navarette, another hill town. Much of the first four miles was flat, and through parks on the outskirts of Logrono. Locals shared the paved trails with us [A digression — people in Spain walk around a lot, morning, noon and night (but not siesta). Around the cities and towns, there are almost as many of them as there are peregrinos. They are often people who appear to be possibly retired, or with flexible job schedules during the day; at night, it’s a wide variety of families, young people, older ones. Maybe only the people working in the bars and restaurants and stores are not out and about. Sometimes they have dogs, sometimes friends and families — grandma pushing the stroller, mom, dad, kid(s).]
A Camino story — we were standing near the entrance to the park early in the morning and looking at the map to find the Camino. An elderly man came over and started gesturing and talking. Finally he indicated that we should follow him, and we did, for six or eight blocks. Along the way he shook hands with a guy opening up his bar, said hello to a young guy walking along, greeted two or three old men. Finally, we got to a point where he gave us to understand that the way had been blocked by construction and he had shown us around the detour. We thanked him profusely — and then he stopped an older couple going by, who he may or may not have known, and handed us off to them. So we followed them for several more blocks until they turned off, and we had clear yellow arrows to follow. This is slightly atypical for people to go so far out of their way, but most people we see say “Hola,” or “Buen Camino,” or “Buen Dia.” And people often leave their cash registers and walk us to the door or out into the street to physically show us the way to go. It’s such a contrast to the sense we get sometimes elsewhere, where tourists seem to be tolerated, but not at all welcomed.
We got a late start — 8:20, by the time we got coffee and started following the yellow arrows through Logrono. At 10:00 we were sitting at a cafe table on the patio overlooking a large reservoir in the extended park area, with sun and a breeze to brighten the day. Up past the lake, we came across a crusty guy in his 50s with a big white beard seated in a small shelter with apples, a few Camino souvenirs (scallop shells, pebbles with a yellow arrow painted on), and a book in which to write down who was passing by. He stamped our credencials, and waved us on with “Buen Camino.” It’s much cooler today — than when we started out from Pamplona, 15 degrees in the early hours and not much more than low-70s now. Excellent walking weather.
Later — finishing this up quickly because we still have to get dinner which doesn’t start until 7:30 at the bar up the hill, and the owner of this hotel closes the wi-fi room at 9:00 p.m. Another Camino story — I marked my bag for the transport service from our pension in Logrono to the municipal albergue in Navarette. When we arrived in Navarette (and after a beer (Jim and Anthea) and a coffee (me), we went to the municipal albergue. “No, no,” the lady said, “No-one delivers bags to us. To the bar.” So we asked at the bar, and they said, “Too early.” We went back about 5:00, and they said, “No bag. Go to the other hotel.” We went; they also said “no bag.” We headed back to our hotel to collect Anthea to help translate; Jim saw the tourist aid office, and we stopped in. The young man said that this was the last day that the office was open, and he would help. He called the transport office and got someone who spoke English. While I was explaining the situation to that lady, and she was telling me that their company had not picked up any bags from the pension in Logrono that morning, a little girl (maybe 8?) happened by the door and recognized Jim (from having seen him in the albergue earlier) and overheard the discussion of backpacks. She motioned to Jim to go with her, and led him to my bag, which had been delivered after all to the albergue. When Jim got back to the tourist office with the bag (it was about a block away from the albergue), I told the lady “Here it is,” and she repeated that no-one had picked up the bag in Logrono and in any case, they didn’t deliver to that albergue. It’s a little spooky.
Our day of rest did us good, and we are ready to walk a little further tomorrow, closer to ten or twelve miles to get to Najera. We may be getting a better idea of our abilities — around ten miles a day might work better than trying for twelve.
In the past few days, to change the subject, we’ve seen evidence of fires — earlier in the trek, we saw fields that had been deliberately burned (we saw this once in Canada too; apparently it’s done to keep the weeds down). Two days ago, though, we saw areas that wildfires had burned through — some of the weeds right along the Camino were blackened, along with stands of trees, wheat stubble, and vineyards. There was no sign of that today. We were happy to find that the black raspberries were still thriving as we walk west, and available to pick for a bit of sweetness.
[Later still] — Standing at my computer that is on a table in the entryway. The young man of the family closed the door to the breakfast room, so we can’t go in there, and the wi-fi doesn’t work in our room. I’m finishing this up, and will send more tomorrow. At least they didn’t turn off the wi-fi, as the albergue in Los Arcos did.
Dinner was “menu del dia” at the bar across the street — these menus are always a first course, a second course (meat or fish), bread, dessert, wine and water. The bread is either picked up with tongs and laid on a placemat or table cloth (never served with oil or butter, and never with a separate plate), or served in a basket. Water comes in a pitcher or bottle; wine in a bottle. Tonight’s wine was Rioja of course, and we thought it earthy and delicious. For vegetarians, the first course choices were a chickpea and spinach soup, and a vegetable soup with egg in it (like Chinese egg drop soup). The second course for Anthea and me was a big bowl of pasta with crushed fresh tomatoes, olive oil, and fresh basil. Jim ordered the fish which was elegantly presented with a dark sauce — photos tomorrow for the foodies.
The Camino has its industrial side (this company specialized in huge piles of cedar-y smelling sawdust), and it’s cheesy side. Don’t know what the bull is advertising — beer? Football?
Un pulpo (octopus) peregrino. For Regina Carns.
More commercial stuff along the way — an ad for the vineyards across the road.
Grapes in the vineyard across the road.
One last bit of cheesy tourist stuff — this cigar-store-Indian-turned-peregrino holding an ashtray outside a bar. The guy running (owning?) the bar was an aging rock singer. Embedded in the floor of the bar, underneath plexiglass, was a guitar, and a couple of photos of him with a hot young woman and the guitar. There were other photos of him in his rock days around too. We asked for bocadillos (the baguette sandwiches); he asked us to come back in 15 minutes because the bread was in the oven. He served us the baguettes still warm, and gave us a little cup of olive oil to take with us to pour on. So good!
A Spanish cat in one of the streets of medieval Navarette (it is considered a well-preserved example of the time).