Day 7: Time in Logrono & Logrono to Najera (Italian day)

Afternoon in Logrono: visited the beautiful cathedral and unsurprisingly had some Rioja in one of the many bistro’s on the main square. I bumped into two girls I had already encountered on my way from Estella to Torres del Rio. They are swiss and have decided to throw the towel on the trip as one of them has problems with blisters and can’t find good shoes to continue the journey.

 while enjoying red wine I also received an email confirming that my good friend Guelane will join my trip next Tuesday. Now that will be an adventure. Pilgrims beware – Lebanon is about to arrive!

Walking on from the square I met Fredrik from France again. he keeps sleeping outdoors most nights and is hence hard to find in hostels. He met Thomas the Texan the night before, but wasn’t sure if he will arrive today. I left after a brief chat, but we met later I the day on the well know calle laurel for some good Rioja.

it was really strange (in a good way) to walk through the city. So many known faces almost like a celebrity. New faces I met back at the hostel including a German girl from Kiel and a bunch of italian guys.

After a quick tapas dinner (or pinchos as they call them here) there was life music on offer. I sat down for a beer tougher with two austrians. One walking from Salzburg (Hubert) and one by bike to celebrate his full recovery from 24h full time care after a complete burn out. Fun was guaranteed as these long term pilgrims aren’t short of stories!

What a duo!

At 10pm it was time to return to my very strict hostel. I felt like a 12 year old boy again (and let the guy running the hostel know that as well!). Light out, sleep. Tomorrow a 30km walk awaited me and my still swollen left leg. No pain, but still swollen.

Despite best efforts to continue to sleep I folded at around 6am and got up. the noise didn’t help. the deodorant the Italian or Spanish biker sprayed through his underarms into my face also didn’t. there was no breakfast, so quickly pack all the stuff and off I went at 6.45am.

right after my hostel I met the italian girl from la spezia that walks very slowly due to foot problems (and her 12kg rucksack!). soon after four more italians, which i followed on the camino out of logrono. it turned out to be a nice old town after what looked like a pretty industrial city first glance.

after leaving logrono one passes by a lake and here I met two young Parisian guys that were about to return home. we briefly talked yesterday on the cathedral square. the countryside was breathtaking and walking much more enjoyable than the way into Logrono. in a wooden shed about 1h after I left the hostel I met the funny Austrian (‘call me Herbi’) sitting next to a similarly grey looking Camino legend. I couldn’t miss that stamp!

 Just before arriving at the breakfast stop after 13km I met the next two Italians. One didn’t speak english, so I chatted away with Barbara from near Venice. they started the walk one day after me, but covered 35-40k a day (driven by two Italian guys I would meet shortly). Walking was still fine and we all happily collected our free coffee at a bar in Navarrete. I had an apple and a ham & cheese baguette on top. finally some food!

the church in Navarette is yet another breathtaking one. loads of gold inside especially once you switch on the light by way of donating 1 EUR.

I continued my conversation with Barbara. She is a vegan, works in communication / HR and is currently undergoing an education in alternative healing / medicine. Our topics covered a broad range of subjects from work, to private life, to view on food, health, education, media, travel, family (especially the topic of parents with new smart phones …). it certainly never felt like we run out something to talk.

some 25k in to the stage, both her and my legs began to complain a little and the last km into Najara were pretty slow. at least the weather was on our side at felt 25-27 degrees and reasonable cloud cover to prevent being grilled. yesterdays 35 degrees would have been a little more challenging undoubtedly.

once in Najara, she caught up with friends and I was called into the first hostel in town by Allan (South Korea). it had been recommended to him and was clean and not as crowded as others (the free of charge municipal hostel accommodates 90 people … thanks, but no thanks).

Italian wine thief in action

after some refreshment and relaxing, I walked into town for some food. the old town is some 5mins walk from my hostel near a bridge crossing a small river. trip advisor recommended ‘Meson El Buen Yantar’. I was handed a pilgrims menu and service was simply put very poor. maybe its the spanish or maybe its me being a pilgrim … it was just way too slow and they appeared a little understaffed. i ordered meat stew & pork ribs alongside the standard bred basket, water and wine.

after 20mins of waiting and not even water served I left. shocking service. I headed back to a restaurant where earlier a spaniard sat and he helped to get some food quickly (I was 4pm by now). beans and trout were on the menu. both delicious though I do lack skill when it comes to remove fish bones! lets see what the evening holds! still waiting to see Mr Texas again.

Barbara from Venice
View from Najera bridge

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