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Logroño to Nájera

image Today should have been a straight forward 30 km walk, but it turned into quite a journey. image I am pretty well used to rain now, but the weather has been exceptionally wet this year in the Navarra and Rioja regions. Not only has there been a lot of rain, there has also been a lot of snow. The combination of rain and melting snow is overloading the irrigation sysems in the vineyards causing paths to turn into rivers, and rivers into raging torrents. The first problem I came accross was just before I got to Navarette where the path crosses a drainage system The water was about a meter deep in places, but I managed to get through it with dry feet! image I popped into the church in Navarette and paid my euro to turn the lighting on. I wasn’t dissapointed! The path from Navarette to Ventosa was really beautiful and without inccident. The last section from Ventosa to Nájera though, turned out to to be ever worse than the section earlier in the day. This where I ended with a drop of water in my boot. Dispite all the rain, I have really enjoyed the walk today. I covered rhe last 11 km  in under two hours, cosidering the weather and the terain not bad after walking 20 km with a short break in the church abd a half hour coffee break. I am now at the free municiple albergue in Nájera. And have covered well over 200 km since Saint-Pied-de-Port. image

Logroño

image Yesterday was one of my friends last day on the camino, so we poped into town for a couple of farewel pinxos (Basque, pinchos in Spanish). We also ran into a fellow pilgrim who is usually is in the same albergue as we are, but stayed elsewhere last night. image Its another 30km day in the rain today and its to get colder. I let somebody wear my gloves yesterday and got them back more or less ruined. They are so soaked on the inside they weight a ton and I will not be able to wear them myself. This means extra weight on my backpack until they dry, which will probably be several days considering the weather forcast for the week. Still, look on the bright side. The weather is to improve on Saturday so I won’t need the gloves and they should dry out. image Its a really pity it rained yesterday. Both Viana and especially Logroño are beautiful placed and I would have liked to have gone walkabout to snap a few more photos. Not to mention the lively Spanish streetlife and bar culture when the weather is fine. image

Los Arcos to Logroño

image Todays walk was the longest distance so far. I was expecting rain and got a surprise when I woke up to a covering of snow on the ground, during the whole walk to Logroño it rained. image The walk from Los Arcos to Viana was particularly beautiful. After Viana the terrain becomes fairly flat as you enter Spains most important wine producing region, La Rioja. image

Estella to Los Arcos

image Had a really good walk today, the first two thirds alone, the rest with a Spanish pilgrim from San Sebastian with whom I spend quite a bit of time, and a Spanish girl from the Basque capital Vitoria Gasteiz. After climbing out of Estella past the wine fountain (yes, really!) the path splits in two, giving the pilgrim a choice, a longer, but easy and quicker path or a shorter, more demanding path through a forest on Montejurra. I chose the latter. image The path passes through a small forest and through the small village of Luquin where I stopped for coffee, milk and a thick delicious slice of mushroom an pimento tortilla. (Mmm tortilla (Homer Simpson gurggling sound here)). image A couple of km after the two routes are reunited I joined up with with my Spanish camino friend and we arrived in Los Arcos at around 12:30. Lunch consisted of chickpeas with tripe and paella followed by a well earned siesta! image

Puente La Reina to Estella

Looking back today has been a good day. Yes, it was a struggle and our feet hurt. The important thing is that we all reached Estella. The ‘group’ that leaves the hostel each morning is becoming more coherent and more determined. image The day started as any other. Wake up or be woken a bit too early, get you gear together, maybe eat something and then. set off. Hoping that your feet won’t get any worse. image I made the mistake for the second time of thinking I would walk for an hour and drink a cup of coffee in the next village, only to discover that there wasn’t a bar open when I arrived. With swolen toes I walked to the next village, and the next… Only after 4.5 hours walking did I find my first cup of coffee of the day, it wa absolutely delicious I may add. My point is why bother focusing on something that may not be there. It only creates tension, hardship and dissapointment. This brings me back to the words of Niebuhr. image

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