The early morning departure from Viana was bittersweet…we so wanted to stay longer! But we continued our walk, taking our time leaving, following the yellow arrows that led us out of town. We had a bit of a steep climb, but nothing too difficult. We entered the Province of La Rioja and the vineyards were everywhere.As we approached Logroño we saw the distinctive black Osborne bull that graces many a hillside in Andalucia; I had never seen it in the northern landscape. It was a majestic sight that loomed over us as we approached the hillside. I wonder why it is called “Osborne” and what it advertises since it appears on many t-shirts as well as on ads for Spain.
We walked along the highway that leads into Logroño; for miles on end we walked by a chain link fence full of crosses that pilgrims have left behind as a testament of their passage.
We entered the bustling city of Logroño and had lunch at a contempo café La Granja on the main street–all black and red decor with chrome everywhere; we then walked on calle Portales following the yellow arrows that marked the Camino out of the city. We were looking for the post office so as to send some more foodstuffs ahead to León and asked a woman who was not able to give us directions, but asked that we pray for her and her child when we get to Santiago.
We arrived at the albergue El Cántaro in Navarrette where we wanted to spend the night, but there was no answer. A tailor who saw us walk by came out and told us that the man was there. And sure enough! A neighbor came and opened the door and went in. The hospitalero was asleep! It is a private albergue and charged the same as Alberdi, 10 euros, but it is vastly different: heat, hot water, quiet, clean, and a well-equipped kitchen. We did some laundry, performed the liver cleanse ritual and were grateful for our good fortune!
MEDITATION FOCUS: I ponder the miracle of being alive and walking on the Camino. I remember that a year ago, snug in my bed, not encased in my sleeping bag, I was thankful and I recall talking to Becky about how December 28 es el Día de los Inocentes and how when I was a child this was our April Fool’s Day. Today, I reflect on why I am sick. I ask: what is the lesson? I think I know that there is another answer, not just the obvious one that everyone reminds of: Slow down! Rest. Enjoy the present. Could it be that being vulnerable I succumb? I didn’t get sick on the Camino, but here in cozy, warm, sunny San Antonio, I come down with a cold!