Checking into the municipal albergue is now old hat. The one in Logroño was staffed with more unfriendly, unsmiling volunteers who speak a rapid Spanish that none of us can follow. What it boils down to is, we need to show our credentials and show our passport, then take a shower and come back to pay. We received throw-away sheets and pillowcases, which is what some albergues do now. We had arrived so quickly that we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. The 9 kilometers were so easy, but I was still tired. We tried to find a notary for Cameron and a grocery store.
This albergue has a nice big kitchen, but the two stoves have been removed and only a slow microwave exists. We bought veggies and salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, and chorizo, and bread, of course). I haven’t eaten so many carbs in a long time. But there’s absolutely no choice. I wonder if the veggies are sprayed. I am so far off my diet, I don’t even see it anymore. My energy level is down, and I would even consider eating meat just to get something of substance into my stomach. I bought two large, lovely red peppers to eat on the way in case there were only the uncovered mayo tuna tapas.
The guys took off to do business, and Marie Anne and I went to a café in the square. We were people-watching while we had our café con leche and mousse. It’s a lovely afternoon and people are busy going to and fro. Most of them are very nicely dressed. The more mature women as well. Their hair is coiffed, clothes match, nice shoes. We don’t see many overweight people. There was a beautiful cathedral with an ornate façade.
After washing our clothes and arranging the service to take Quasimodo to the next village in the morning (who has been replaced by a fat-baby daypack). We had another salad for dinner, and I went to bed to read for a while. There are three dormitories and probably 36 people in each. There were only two toilets and two showers for women, and as many for men. Toilet paper is a rarity, and one had better bring one’s own or be caught with one’s pants down. I hear people speak Spanish and laugh, some in broken English, and finally lights are out, and all is quiet . . . until midnight.
The snoring concert begins, and it’s awful. I went to the bathroom and then tried to go back to sleep. The Irish guy who was up a little while ago, tending to his injured foot, is now talking in his sleep. At two o’clock I’m still awake, and all four snorers are snoring at the same time. Nothing helps. I even contemplated dragging my mattress into the kitchen.
Even though I had only 13 or so kilometers to hike the next day, it’s a lot when you’re tired.
The flax (which I call “my dirt”) started to work, so I was up again. Finally, I took ibuprofen, and slept one-and-a-half hours before the plastic rustling began. I tried to go to the bathroom first, so I could take care of my dental issues. I snuck back to my bunk and retrieved coffee. There was not a pot to heat water.
A young Spanish man pantomimed that I should place a glass of water into the microwave. “Ahh,” I said. “Good idea.”
And then I decided to take my flax in the mornings, because I believe it will work much better, and won’t give me so many colon issues.
Logroño to Navarette
Marie Anne, Carrie, and I left Logroño while it was still cool so we could arrive before the hot noon sun caught us. Cameron and Julio were once again dealing with the notary. We made decent progress, and only stopped several kilometers out of town. The landscape changed back to being hilly, with lots of vineyards. We stopped at a bar, luckily open, and had our morning café con leche. I had to take of two blisters on my right foot. It was a beautiful spot by a pond, surrounded by green hills.
Then we started again and the Camino ran along the highway, divided by a chain-link fence. Every link had a hand-made cross in it, some made of wood, others of plastic bottles. I fashioned one from yellow flowers and placed it there as well. I remembered my visit to Oklahoma City, where people had done the same thing. I tried to explain that the bombing had hit the sangre de couer of the people of Oklahoma City, and she understood.
I was thinking as we were walking about the ancient pilgrims, and their hardships. How they were often robbed, and if they didn’t have enough, they might be beaten and thrown into the river. So in spite of all my issues, they were much worse off.
I was also having a food obsession: where to get it, what I would do with it, if they didn’t have what I wanted, what we’d do instead. Once that problem was taken care of, then came the bathroom obsession. Where to put it all, when there was not even a tree.
Everywhere the harvesting of grapes had begun. The weather was still perfect, and I’m sure they’re very happy to have such a great year.
We arrived in Navarette early, and the albergue was still closed. We waited at a nearby café, where other pilgrims sat, and got sleep in the warm noon sun. Soon, we saw Cameron and Julio. Both made the 13 kilometer trek in 2 hours – a serious butt-kicking. “Cheesus Crise!” Julio said as he sat down. “Jour son is trying to keel me.”
We heard some music that sounded like from an ancient time. We hurried to check in, but there was no hurrying the process. And so we got another lesson in patience.
I had had two blisters between my toes, so the going was a bit tough. When we reached the square, situated right by the church, under some very old trees that shaded a stage, we saw children in elaborate, very starched white dresses with colorful flowers on them. They danced some old folk dances while throwing shy glances at their beaming parents. We were starving, but found out that everything was closed due to the fiesta to come. I would have thought that a priest or two would care for these hungry pilgrims. What are pilgrims to do on days like this? I had read about locals coming with water or food to greet the pilgrims. Well, I don’t know how long ago this was, but we sure haven’t seen anyone, except hungry feral cats. We did find a restaurant open and ate a fairly decent meal, but it cost 50 Euros. As Julio says, “the fleecing of the peregrinos”.
Carrie is catching a cold, and I hoped wasn’t getting worse. I can feel my throat tickle, and I groaned inwardly about yet another malady. We showered and changed, washed clothes, and arranged Quasimodo’s ride to the next town, since I really can’t carry mine with all these issues.
We wanted to visit the church, but due to the fiesta, it was closed. This is a smaller town, and rural, so I would imagine they would take their fiesta pretty seriously. During the fiesta, I had two bowls of the best soup ever!