I left Logroño at 7:07 a.m. with hordes of other pilgrims, our hiking poles clicking on the pavement as we followed the brass scallop shells out of the city. Maybe the endless hard surface was why my knees, feet and toes were hurting so much.
Logroño to Pasarela ferrocarril (railway) (2.0 km) – the tunnel under the A-12 Ruta Mural Jacobeo (Jacobean mural route).
Pasarela to Parque de la Grajera (3.9 km)
We came to our first Spanish reservoir at Parque Granjera. There I had an unpleasant experience. At Café Cabaña del Tio Juarvi, pilgrims converged to use the bathroom and have a “second breakfast.” In the bathroom, a cute younger lady with long blonde hair and a leather brimmed hat introduced herself as Beck from Perth, Australia. She asked where I was from and I said I was embarrassed to say I was from the U.S. She asked why. I made a face, “Because of Trump. He’s an embarrassment.” She said emphatically, “Oh I’m an ardent supporter. At least he stands up for you guys, which no one else does!” I said, “Ugh. I hate him with every fiber of my being.” And then I walked out to the café to get in line.
As we stood in line, she was being relatively friendly to me and I was friendly enough but not overly so. She was vying for her place in line with a Chinese man and being quite rude about it. Outdoors, when some other Aussies and a lady from California sat at a table, Beck swatted away, very rudely, the Chinese man who tried to join the group. I hate that kind of behavior and was determined once I left the café to keep a good distance from her. I wanted to say to her, “Luckily you’re not an American! You have no vote in our politics!” But of course, I didn’t.
I’d talked to many people, both Americans and other nationalities, who were definitely not Trump supporters and were in fact shocked and appalled by him. I’d been trying to disconnect from politics while walking, so I left the group and went on my merry way.
The good thing about that gathering was that I met Ray and Tony, two stocky older Australian men (well, they were probably my age!). Tony was doing the Camino for his third time, introducing Ray, his best friend of 40 years, to the pilgrimage. I walked for a bit with them when they caught up with me.
Parque de la Grajera to Alto de la Grajera (3.3 km)
Later Beck passed me by. I did what I was learning to do when I didn’t want to walk with someone, which was to stop to take pictures, or stop to rest or take a nature break, whatever I could think of. Other people did this to me too. I found this was quite common on the Camino and later heard fellow pilgrims talk about their attempts to shake other pilgrims.
I stopped at the table of Marcelino, with long flowing white hair. He manned an “ermita de peregrino pasante,” offering various snacks and trinkets for donations. Later, I climbed the path to Alto de la Grajera, where we had a good look back over Logroño. We walked on a dirt track alongside a wire fence covered in crosses made from strips of bark from an adjacent sawmill. This path, which ran above a highway, seemed to go on forever. We descended through forests of pleasant oaks and holm oaks.
Alto de la Grajera to Navarrete (3.5 km)
We approached Navarette through acres and acres of the vineyards of Don Jacobo, which, though pretty, didn’t offer much shade. Pilgrims are allowed to sample the grapes as they have been invited to do for centuries. I sampled some but they were filled with seeds so I ended up spitting the whole mess out. Under the relentless sun, it was miserably hot.
Approaching Navarrete, I passed the ruins of the medieval monastery of the Order of San Juan de Acre founded in 1185 as a pilgrim’s hospice. In Navarrete, I stopped at Bar Deportivo for an orange Fanta. I paid a visit to the the 16th century Church of the Assumption, with its over-the-top altar. It sits atop a hill commanding a position overlooking the square. I made it a point to stop in open churches to be awed and to pray; I’m not usually a religious person so for me this was unusual. I came to love these sacred moments.
The lady at the Navarrete Tourist Information called ahead to confirm my bed with Refugio San Saturnino. I had called myself several days before, but I wasn’t sure if the person on the other end had understood my mangled Spanish. Luckily, they confirmed they already had my name. The woman told me the Spanish name for backpack: mochilla. I could now add another Spanish word to my limited vocabulary.
Navarrete is a historic town with original period homes whose doorways are topped with family crests and armorial shields. It is also known for its pottery; a statue in the main square commemorates this art.
I knew Darina would be stopping for five days in Navarette to meet with some teaching colleagues of hers, so I wondered if I would ever see her again. I hoped so, but five days was a long time for her to be off the trail.
Navarrete & Church of the Assumption
Navarrete to Opción (detour) to Ventosa (3.6 km)
I continued on through the outskirts of the town and past the cemetery with its splendidly carved 13th century Gothic entrance gateway. I followed the detour path to Ventosa rather than continuing directly beside the roadway. After that, it was a long slog through more vineyards.
Detour to Ventosa (2.1 km)
I finally arrived in Ventosa in the early afternoon in the pounding heat. My usual routine after checking into an albergue was to: 1) shower because I was drenched in sweat; 2) hand wash my clothes and hang them to dry; 3) relax in my bed for a bit or go out to join other pilgrims for a beer or wine; 4) relax some more, and do foot care or knee care; 5) have either a pilgrim meal or dinner with newfound friends; 6) study the route for the next day; 7) get everything ready for an early start in the morning; and 8) go to sleep by 9:30-10:00. Up again at 6:00 a.m. Repeat day after day after day.
I shared a very small room, barely bigger than a closet, with a Korean couple on one bunk bed and a German couple on the other. I had a single bed up against a wall near the window. Someone had closed that window, making the room incredibly hot and stuffy. The German couple slept all afternoon. The Korean couple sat on their bunks in that stuffy room, looking at their phones. After my shower, change, and laundry, I escaped the room as soon as possible to walk around the town and get some fresh air.
I ate dinner at the local café with a large group of pilgrims, including the Aussies Ray and Tony who were from the Blue Mountains near Sydney. I especially liked Tony as he had a very gentle way about him, asking each person about his/her life and why they were doing the Camino. It was nice to get below the superficial with him. I think this happens more on the Camino than any time in real life. I met Bev from Houston who admitted to trying mushrooms once, and loving the experience. My tagliatelle with funghi was just okay; I believe it was a frozen prepared meal heated up. We encountered many of these types of meals on the Camino.
When I returned to the room after dinner, the window was still closed and it was close and sweltering. I argued with the Korean guy that it was just too miserable to keep the window closed, so I opened it up. At first I felt bad because, though the open window cooled the room, dogs outside were yapping and Spaniards walking past were talking loudly. I was afraid I was going to lose the battle if the sounds outside didn’t quiet down. Finally, hallelujah, the streets quieted, the window remained open, and I was able to sleep happily.
*Day 12: Saturday, September 15, 2018*
*30,273 steps, or 12.83 miles: Logroño to Ventosa (19.8km)*
You can find everything I’ve written so far on the Camino de Santiago here:
On Sundays, I post about hikes or walks that I have taken in my travels; I may also post on other unrelated subjects. I will use these posts to participate in Jo’s Monday Walks or any other challenges that catch my fancy.
This post is in response to Jo’s Monday Walk.