When facetiming home this morning my brother in law asked how far we would walk today. I told him that if I walk anywhere the way my legs feel I may never walk again! So why on earth did we hit the 20km mark?
We set off from Logrono too late as usual (9.30am) as my phone lost all power since finally putting the Spanish sim card in last night. As we headed out of town we were fortunate to have attracted the attention of our own personal tour guide. Lets call him Manuel. Manuel took it upon himself to escort us to the far edge of town where the path to the big park begins. This was all very well but with my limited Spanish it was difficult to alert Manuel to the fact that I am not a fast walker and he was going a bit fast for me. My beloved was okay with the speed but helped me to dawdle a bit and we stopped to take some photos of the big flower arrangement in the last park out of town. Manuel insisted on waiting.
Anyway some time had passed, Manuel had pointed out his casa (house) and just as the long path was about to begin, Manuel had to take what sounded like a very important phone call. As he chatted away we spotted a bench seat in the shade and took leave of his services. He pointed the path out to us and headed on the other way waving to us in recognition of our parting of ways. He was clearly a very nice man. Many locals are very friendly on the Camino – always yelling out “Buen Camino” or directing us when we have clearly taken a wrong turn. Manuel was a perfect example of the Spanish hospitality for pilgrims even if we hadn’t taken a wrong turn!
Anyway we headed finally out of Logrono via quite a pretty lake and recreational park. I think it had taken us almost 5km before we hit the outskirts of town. We sat and had a brief stop at the cafe looking back over the lake and headed off again in the midday sun. The number of people passing us lessens as the day goes on as the smarter people set off at 5 or 6 am and are done by midday.
Anyway we hit the next town of Navarette in the heat of the day and decided we would like to try for Ventosa to make up for our poor showing yesterday. Rather than continue on in the heat to be confronted with a full house we thought we would ring ahead and book a bed if at all possible. A failure to obtain a bed would mean walking another 10kms to the next town – I would never make a 30km day at this point.
After numerous failed calls to the only albergue in town, I decided to call the only hotel in the little village. The lovely lady who answered spoke perfect English and confirmed her only availability was a double bed and that it was no problem for us to arrive in 2 or 3 hours (it was already 3pm) . Let me say this hotel was magical from the minute the lady opened the door but more on that in a minute.
About 2km out of Ventosa (after 18 km or so) I threw my pack on the ground and looked at my beloved with tears in my eyes. “I’m done! I’ve run out of batteries!” I sank onto my pack and peeled my boots off – I was in agony. After a few minutes recovery under the hot sun I rolled off the pack, put my boots back on, and walked another 200 metres. My hercules looked at me with his beautiful big eyes and said “Give me your pack – I’ll carry it for five minutes – we’re almost there.”
Ladies, let me tell you, I’ve said before that every woman deserves a man who can tango, but let me say now, my beloved has never looked more appealing than when he walked down that road with my backpack slung across the top of his. Even though I was near crippled and still hobbling along, this gesture undertaken even when he himself was complaining of sore feet was a light at the end of the tunnel (or a brief recharge to my battery as it were.) Chivalry is not dead – he walked over 2km with both packs weighing over 20kg together. I was still embarrassingly slow. People stopped frequently every day to ask if I was okay – today if any had passed they would have called a medic! Usually I would smile and say “Muy Bien Gracias – Buen Camino” and just keep walking. Occasionally I would ask my beloved “Do I really look that bad?” and he would reply “Yes my love!” Mucho gracias xxxx head!
Finally I hobbled into Ventosa and the hotel we stayed at just happened to be the most beautiful little rural hotel you could imagine. The lady running it had hosted Australian Masterchef last year and cooked a real Spanish meal for 8 of them. We had the best meal we have had so far and enjoyed the company of a French Basque brother and sister who did not speak English and very little Spanish – nevertheless with my little Spanish we learned alot about them and they entertained us with jokes and stories of the fun they have had in the Northern part of Spain. We ate a beautiful salad with local fruits and greens and beetroot, a traditional paella with chicken and a homemade mandarine sorbet to die for. This day could have been written up as one of the worst days on the Camino but instead, it was in fact one of the best!
Bird watching outside Logrono
A little touch of home – leaving Logrono
And now the most beautiful little hotel!
Only the best food and the best company!
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