Today was a day of reunions! I have not and probably will not catch up to the folks who powered ahead of me the day I had to call it a short day in Lorca, but there was another group of my original Camino family that was behind me because they took an extra day in Pamplona.
My cold seemed to be under control and thanks to whatever it is that the pharmacist gave me, I was feeling good. The day was split into two roughly equal segments of 10k each. The first would take me to Viana, and the second would get me to my ultimate destination of Logroño.
On the way out of town, was able to see the outside of an eight-aided church that is believed to be built by the Knights Templar, a military order of the Catholic Church that operated between then 12th and 14th centuries. Their primary role was to protect Christian pilgrims in both Jerusalem and Europe during the crusades. They amassed huge fortunes in their roles as protectors. Unfortunately the church wasn’t open so I didn’t get to see the inside.
The sun was just starting to rise as I left Torres Del Rio and I was excited to see a vineyard where grapes were being harvested!
I was feeling great and was thrilled when Stanley and Esme from Singapore came up behind me. I probably hadn’t seen them since Pamplona and have fond memories of walking up the foothills of the Pyrenees with them on our first day.
We caught up on who was where and soon were separated again.
Because pilgrims carry everything they need on their back, most have very few pieces of clothing thus you see people in the same thing every day and, honestly, it helps remember who people are.
I have been pretty amazed at how well I have been able to remember everyone’s names. It isn’t because I have a gift for that kind of memory because I don’t. I think it is because I not only remember the person’s name but also their story. They have gone from being just another face to a real human being.
I have come to depend on little stands set up by locals offering drinks and fruit. And, they always seem to appear just when you need a break.
This rest area was particularly interesting because of the huge number of cairns or small rock structures the proprietor had made.
Most of these stops are donativo meaning that you pay whatever you can or feel it is worth.
I was really intrigued with the patterns of this field with the interspersing of grape vines and olive trees.
The stacks of hay bales always make for a great pictures. I just cannot figure how they stack them so high??
Look closely to the right side and you will see Viana!
But of course, just because you see a town, doesn’t mean that you are going to be there soon. Often they are miles away as was the case with Viana. Sometimes you feel like you are just walking and walking and never make any progress!
But then, from behind be I heard a pilgrim coming up quickly and turned around and it was Henry from Florida!
He had stayed an extra night in Pamplona so I was ahead of him for a few days.
Then we ran into the group I hung out with in Lorca and got a picture of them all together.
This is Kira, Kyle, Damion, Angela, Urban and Hughs. They were excited because they had booked an Air B&B apartment for the whole group for that night in Logroño.
We walked into Viana before noon and found a cafe in the square in town and I had my first Spanish Tortilla because my mom kept insisting I had to try one. It is very similar to a frittata, but it has a lot of potatoes in it and, at least the one I had, was cooked very nicely so it wasn’t dry. It was delicious!
That square was amazing because as I sat there in walked many people I knew! Above is Stanley and Essa and Dion (who I also hadn’t seen since Pamplona).
After lunch we headed out the pilgrim gate on out way to Logroño and the Rioja region of Spain.
I found the snail behavior fascinating (hey it gets hot in the afternoon and you need something to take your mind off of walking).
Until you look closely you just assume the white puffs are some type of flower on the plant, but they are actually hundreds of snails!
Logroño is in site, but as a big city there is a lot to walk through to get to the old part of the city.
And then the fun started! With about 2k to go Ray texted me to say out mail server was being flooded by a Chinese hacker submitting hundreds of forms from our website every minute. Hmmm, I hadn’t planned for this problem.
I sat down in a park on my way into town and Ray shared his screen so I could see it on my phone and we managed to find a temporary solution until I could get to my Alburgue and come up with something permanent to stop the hackers.
Whew! Disaster averted!
Logroño is a fabulous city! The Alburgue I stayed at was right next to the Cathedral which is an amazing structure with an equally impressive interior.
It also has a little known secret! There is a painting by Michaelangelo behind the alter. For 50 cents you can light it up to see it.
I was hanging out with Henry and Dion when Gerrold and Natalia, also from our original group, showed up and joined us for a drink.
They are from New Zealand now but Gerrold is originally from England and Natalia was born and raised in Russia.
We hit a few taps bars and called it a night.
And, I just had to include this picture because this guy reminded me of my favorite Dalmatian – Nickel!
The best laid plans…the server problem we had was serious and needed to be fixed. This is one of the few downsides of our business; we are tethered to our computers. Before I left, I had spent a lot of time documenting how to solve problems should they occur, but problems like we had with the Chinese hackers cannot be anticipated. They need to be dealt with when they occur. But we got through it and Ray did a great job “driving” as I guided him through the software to fix the problem. Thank goodness for technology like GoToMeeting!