Camino Day 5 - Sat 1/6/2002:

28 km today
165 total
Memento Mori

Sore going! Slept until 7, when Richard and I set off. Passed by Los Arcos graveyard which has an interesting inscription above the gate: "Yo que fui lo que tu eres, tu seras lo que yo soi." Or, using my pidgin Spanish, "I was once as you are, you will be as I am now."

Viana looked OK -- the church of Santa Maria, with the tomb of Cesar Borgia outside it, looked more like a cathedral. The town looked OK, but we'd gone through it and walked out the other side without seeing an open café, so we stopped at a shop, got bread and cheese, etc., which we ate at a handy nearby seat. I practiced my Spanish on the lady in the shop -- asking for the nonexistent "quesa" instead of "queso" (cheese), which produced a laugh when she finally realised what I was asking for.

Graveyard inscription

Los Arcos (960x720, 64K)


with git in the foreground (43K)

Church of Santa Maria

Viana (720x960, 78K)

Logroño in the distance

(960x720, 55K)

The walk from Viana was flat in the main: we passed from the province of Navarra to La Rioja -- "Mmmmm... wine" was running through my head in the heat. We finally made it to the refugio at Logroño around 2pm where there was already a huge queue; this was made easier for us by (surreptitiously, I hope) ogling an incredibly cute young lady from Italy in front of us. This refugio is purpose-built by the parish of Logroño for use of pilgrims, and it's not bad at all, what with clothes washing facilities, and a foot spa to rest those aching feet!

Inside, we signed in, paid over our 4 euro and got assigned to our beds in the fairly crowded dorms. I ended up next to two redoubtable Norwegian ladies in their late sixties who regaled me with tales of their other trips and really liked licorice allsorts, especially the tubular ones with the white stuff inside and the licorice "coating"; nonconforming allsorts were ruthlessly discarded. Richard ended up getting the bed next to the cutie and was smiling from ear to ear! Jammy shagger. (In an interesting aside, I was later to bump in to a very nice father-and-son-and-girlfriend from South Africa in Astorga: they'd been in my dorm in Logroño that same night and were witness to some shocking carryon that night between Richard and the cutie, who apparently didn't speak a word of English. And I thought pilgrims were meant to be pure of heart! Heh. "Camino Juice" as the father memorably put it.)

Catderal de Santa María Redonda

Logroño (720x960, 56K)


Logroño (720x960, 50K)

Wedding Party

Style! Logroño (960x720, 57K)

Santiago Matamoros

Church of Santiago, Logroño (56K)

I had a shower, washed my clothes, and headed out to grab un bocadillo y una cerveza (and finally, a place that served chocolate con churros which is very thick hot chocolate served with deep-fried strips of dough which one dunks. OK for breakfast, but not so good in the heat of the afternoon. I went sightseeing: The Church of Santiago has a massive statue of Santiago Matamoros, St. James the Slayer of Moors, with his horse trampling on decapitated Moors' heads underfoot. Gory times.

Logroño's historical quarter has some impressive sights, but my overall feeling was that it was recently a bit run down (improving quickly, mind you.) I saw three or four weddings in progress during the day -- these Spanish ladies certainly have style! And thinking about that, I realised I hadn't seen a badly-dressed one. They put my lightweight hiking clothes to shame...

Had a superb dinner in a local restaurant: I asked for "typico" food and was recommended Patates a la Riojana for starters and Pimientos Rellenos (de carne) as a main course. I drank 1.5 litres of water during this meal, which shows you how dehydrated I must have been. Patates a la Riojana was the highlight: a spicy broth with big lumps of potatoes and chorizo with peppers and onions in it. Yum.

Back at the refugio, snorers kept many awake, but my experiences in Puente la Reina stood to me and I got a good night's sleep.