My evening in Logrono turned out to be a lot of fun.
While wandering the streets I stopped to admire the guitars hanging in a music store window. I began learning to play a few months ago and would love to own an authentic classical Spanish guitar. The only problem is I would have to carry it another 600 or more kilometers and my hips ache enough already.
So, I tore myself away from the window and wandered the main street a couple of times keeping an eye out for Andrew. He had mentioned that he was planning to reach Logroño today.
Eventually, I sat down on a bench in front of the albergue, connected my phone to WIFI, and checked for messages. There was a Facebook message from Andrew that read, “Hey, did you get to Logrono?”
I responded, “Yes, where are ya? I’m at Entresuenos. Text me.”
Some time passed and I became tired of being shackled to the bench outside the albergue by the WIFI connection, so I sent one last Facebook message, “I’m walking down the stretch by the bell tower if you are in the area.”
My phone buzzed. It was a text message from Andrew, “Are you in the city?”
I responded, “Yep…going to the bell tower to wait for you.”
I stood in the centre of the spacious plaza, so it would be easy for Andrew to spot me. The two bell towers soared high into the night sky. Who knows how long it would take for him to get my message. Connecting has been a bit of a challenge since WIFI or cell service isn’t always available. Then, finally, he came running across the plaza and we embraced.
We strolled the streets and alleyways arm in arm looking for an appetizing place to devour some tapas and sip some vino while we talked about the day’s events. Tapas seem to be the popular thing around here. They are fancy little appetizers sitting behind a glass case. You choose what you want and the bartender takes them away, heats them up and brings them back to you on pieces of thinly sliced baguette.
It’s also interesting that in Spain it’s quite normal to walk around with an open bottle of wine, at least that was our experience in Logroño. It felt so freeing to do something I would normally be reprimanded for back home. Some Spanish people standing outside of a bar laughed at us as we rounded a street corner giggling and swigging our wine. We waved back at them and Andrew yelled, “Buen Camino!”
Staying out late wasn’t a problem at the Entresuenos albergue since I was given a swipe card to access the building. Andrew had also checked in at the same albergue earlier in the day. Finally, at 12:30 a.m. we decided we should return to get a good night’s sleep before the next day’s walk.
In the morning, I quickly messaged Andrew, “Good morning Andrew…heading off to the post office to send some more stuff to Santiago! Hope to catch up to you at some point today.”
My experience in the post office was challenging. First, language was an issue, so I needed to use my Spanish translation book. Although I could construct questions to ask, I couldn’t understand the answers well – or at all, actually. Finally, I figured out they were trying to tell me that my parcel wasn’t there. What? Where was it then? Apparently it was still in France and would take a few more days to get there. So, I discovered I’m actually faster on foot than the mail service between France and Spain. Wow!
I was beside myself trying to figure out how I was going to collect the parcel. Using charades and my Spanish translation book, I explained I was walking the Camino, so I couldn’t wait around.
The conclusion is that my parcel will be re-routed to Santiago when it finally arrives in Logroño. While I was there, I boxed up four more kilos of items and mailed them off to Santiago, this time including a fleece, a pair of pants, my other pocket knife, some more toiletries and my sleeping bag. Yes, I even gave up the sleeping bag since the albergues all seem to have blankets.
It’s interesting what the Camino can teach you about letting go – not just letting go of the material things and comforts that we think we need, but also about letting go of our emotional attachments.
Andrew messaged back, “Good morning. I’m leaving now. I slept so long! I will catch you. My destination will be Nájera.”
It was 9:45 a.m. when I finished at the post office. I still had to walk 30 kilometers to get to Nájera, so I stopped at a bakery, picked out a chocolate pastry and ate it while I walked.
Again, I walked without music. I thought about what Andrew had told me. He said listening to music while you walk can take you away from the here and now, that it can distract you from the purpose of the journey. So, I walked quietly for much of the day.
A veteran pilgrim was stationed by a lake outside of Logrono. He provided information, fruit and a credencial stamp to passing pilgrims.
Eventually, I walked with two women, Shelly and Jane from Vancouver Island before bumping into Andrew again.
We stopped at a little creek so I could cool my feet, however Andrew didn’t partake because of his blisters. He thought it would make them worse since we still had a few more kilometers to walk.
Finally we made it into Nájera, however none of the albergues had vacancy. Instead, the four of us had no choice, but to book ourselves into an old hotel.
We had a relaxing evening of tapas, drinks and interesting conversation about our countries before retiring to our hotel for the night.
One of the interesting things Andrew mentioned is that many Germans have difficulty displaying patriotism because of the horrific events of World War II. Even now, so many years after the war has ended, showing national pride is uncomfortable for many, although it’s become more acceptable during sporting events.