Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The walk in to Logroño was fairly short - only 9 km, and as Pilar had told me, I passed by a bird sanctuary on the way. As I reached it, it really was not very impressive, just some wetlands about 1/4 km away, so not too easy to spot or identify any of the birdlife there, but at least there were a sanctuary!
A van was parked at the parking area - it turned out to be the English guy I had heard about, who drives around to various lone spots of the camino and offers free (donations only) coffee, tea, fruit, etc. A perfect stop, and a nice surprise! He had a friend along, an American woman who had volunteered at one of the Albergues in St. Jean Pied de Port, before she was going to walk the Camino. However, she had strained her knee so much, running up and down all the stairs, that she had had to put it off, and rest it, before setting out, so instead she drove around with the "Camino Angel", and served the pilgrims this way, until her knee had healed enough to walk! I thought that was such a great example of what you meet on the Camino!
As I got in to Logroño I found it a bit difficult to find the Albergue. It turned out I had walked right by it without realizing it. When I came to the cathedral in the center of town, I decided it was time to ask for direction, as I was obviously off track. A very kind old Spanish lady practically took me by the hand and led me in the right direction. I have talked with many of my fellow pilgrims since, and we all have many tales of kind Spaniards leading us back on the right track, when they see us wander off in the wrong direction! It is so reassuring to know they watch out for us!
As soon as I was on the right path, I ran in to other pilgrims I knew, and since the albergue didn´t open until aftet 2 pm, I sat down and had some coffee and a tortilla with Doro, whom I had run into also. I found a photo shop that could load some of my photos from my camera onto my memory stick, but I later found that I could still not get them on any of the public computers, so I have decided to give it up, and resign myself to waiting until I am done with the Camino, and have my own computer! It´s just the way it is!
I also found an art supply store, and got myself another little watercolor sketchbook, as the one I had brought along was nearly full. I felt quite accomplished, after also having found out how to get to the train station the next morning to meet my sister Dorte, who would be arriving there, to walk with me for about 10 days. All this before I had even check in to the albergue!
Since I was now in the famous wine district of Rioja, I decided to go buy a couple of bottles of good wine, and when I met Ronald and his Spanish friend Antonio, who also speaks German, we decided they should buy some bread, cheese and jamon, and we would have a party at the albergue, instead of eating out! It did not get any cheaper than eating the usual peregrino dinner, but it was fun sitting in the kitchen, chatting and having fun! Soon we were joined by an american guy from Denver, German Doro, and the two Finnish ladies, who were recuperation from the flu also joined us, so it was fun, and the wine and food were a nice break from the usual fare.