Camino Diary Entry #16

235 Emails home from the Camino

Logrono to Najera 31kms 8 hours
#16 By 6 am it was out of bed as the singing on the street continued.
Big disappointment this morning with no sign of the missing sock and with sad face, we left town!
Picking our way through the residual shambles, street cleaners hosing debris, piles of rubbish, happy drunks, security guards, puddles of water and we were on our way.
You only need to stand looking suitably disorientated for long enough on a corner and some one will help! A random news agent will step out and yell “hola! Peregrino! Camino!” and with a lot of arm waving you are again on the right trail of yellow arrows.
It was a perfectly pleasant start to the day. An hour and a half getting to the outskirts of Logrono took us on paved trails, rubbish bins every 20 meters and even benches to sit on. We arrived at a stunning lake, watched the fish jumping in the ‘quite early morning’ and soldiered on as the temperatures hit 28 degrees but we somehow had cloud cover.
Navarette popped up on the horizon surprisingly quickly and we stopped for refreshment.
A lovely old town tucked onto a hill (aren’t they all?). As midday approached we were drawn to the cool of the cathedral. The bells were ringing out with a thundering bellow along the lines of ‘bring out ye dead’ but in fact they were preparing for a ‘ceremony’. Organ music filled the air, the altar was alight with candles and resembled a fairy tale castle.         DSC01067Little girls were arriving dressed in exquisite long white dresses looking like perfect meringues, their hair adorned with bows and lace, each clutching a basket of petals. Even the odd young lad was sporting a white suit and headed to the Cathedral.
We still have absolutely no idea what the ceremony was, but a number of them were happy enough to have us take their picture on the way. We spotted a lot of locals dressed up to the nines heading off in response to the summons of the bells – how they don’t break their ankles on those ridiculous heels over the cobblestones I simply don’t know!
There were still another 11 kms to go to the next town of Ventosa and of course a serious ascent of 8 kms to get there.
232No one had fore-warned us of the wind! It hit. With a vengeance! It was in no way the ‘wind beneath our wings’ – this was hard out full frontal head on!
In a matter of moments we morphed from the happy wanderers into the Pilgrim Gangsters. Our really silly hats (and yes we accept that by now we would be looking a lot sillier without them) pulled down below our brows and toggled hard up under chins like boyscouts on their first outing. Sunglasses plastered hard against our eyeballs and bandanas pulled up over our faces to reduce the dust intake as the hot wind whirled the red earth right through us. This only continued for the next 20 kms! There was no need to shave any legs tonight – they were well and truly sandblasted!
The monotony of the journey was briefly broken as a couple of fellow pilgrims caught up with us. The tall thin, very white-legged one introduced himself as being ‘originally from the States’. Of course one then says, ” so where do you live now.?” ” Russia” he replies.
Like an idiot, I say “you live in Russia and feel the need to come and walk across Spain.? Why?”
Tall thin white legged one replies that he too has questioned that over the first few days.
“hmm” I said “don’t we all? And anyway, what are you doing in Russia?”
” Oh, I’m a Priest based there”! Well, that was a right conversation killer! We felt less than worthy with our own objectives and things stayed a bit silent. Quite soon after that they told us to carry on as they couldn’t keep up!
Exactly 8 hours after our departure from Logrono, we reached the outskirts of Najera .

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