Another amazing day.
Out early. Gorgeous sunrise over the city of Viana.
Shortly out of town came upon parked van & tent of Dave, a Brit who did the camino in 2005. He now comes back every year for two weeks during his holidays. He parks his van on the camino near a bird refuge and serves hot tea and coffee and biscuits to the pilgrims. Hot tea! Made with real boiling water! Stack of European bird books on the table. Sat and as they went by said good morning to the 20 or so pilgrims who passed or stopped. Uli, who I haven’t seen since Pamplona and who gives massages stopped. Also Maarten, the Americans- Brian & Lauren, Guylène. Just on the outskirts of Logroño there was the tradition of stopping at the house of Felica, who also invites pilgrims in for coffee toast & marmalade. The original Felica did this until she died at 92 and Uli said her daughter does it now. Her motto “Higos, agua y amor”. Works for me. Empty when Uli and I arrived, we all piled in one by one until the front porch was covered with packs and the table full.
Coming out everyone told me that I had left my travel towel at Viana, but Rory and Sara, a couple from New Zealand, had it and were bringing it. From that point in the day until I ran into Rory and Sara later in the afternoon everyone told me they had it!
Going through Logroño was the most unpleasant part of trip to date. It was hot and much of the way was on hard pavement and the path was intermittantly marked. The good of this was that I had to ask several Spaniards for directions which resulted in some very friendly interactions. At a cash machine the two Bretons – Hélène & Philippe – came up with my Tilly hat which they had found in the street! Obviously a day for finding (and losing) things!
Blister on bottom of foot slowing me down. Angelo (German from dinner in Obanos) came buy as I was giving my poor feet some air, and we ended up walking all the way into Navarrete together. I had originally planned to go to Ventosa, but thought I should hang around until the pharmacy opened at 5 pm and get something for my feet. Today is the first time all the albergues in town were full and so about half of the people I normally hang out with in the evening have gone on. Maarten and I sat and drank beer and ate olives on the little town square next to the albergue. He was trying to decide whether he wanted to go on to Ventosa or stay (largely predicated on whether Carmen wanted to go on to Ventosa or stay).
Took advantage of Uli’s presence in the albergue to have the most wonderful foot and shoulder massage.
Have I died and gone to heaven?
Carmen (who decided to stay here) is in fine form, relishing her last day on the camino. And I am enjoying meeting some other Spaniards – a Basque mother and daughter walking together – Olga and her daughter Edurne (Edurne means “Snow” in Basque). Quitterie doesn’t ‘really’ speak Spanish (she is French), but she is doing a fantasic job of slowly and clearly speaking French so that she is understood, picking up the Spanish from the responses and modifying what she says next to Spanish. At this point she is quite fluent. It also means as she is interacting I can understand what is going on.
Now we are at a village fete. Fiesta de San Miguel. Just as I arrived in town about 1:00 there was a procession through town, past the cafe where I was sitting. Girls all dressed up in white dresses with their hair pulled into buns.
Now it is a village feast of migas and wine for dinner, cooked in huge pans in the same little town plaza where I sat this afternoon with Maarten. Everyone dancing! Michel & Michelle, Carmen & Maarten, Uli & Quitterie – the polka, Michelle & Eydie with Valentine from Burgos. Romayne, Kaye, Olga, Edurne, Gloria, Marie-Josée, Bertrand, moi, a small child holding hands with Eydie. Some of the 7 lively Finns and of course other Spaniards from the town. Everyone conga-dancing, weaving their way through the crowds and trees on the plaza.
C.S. Lewis wrote a book called “Surprised by Joy”. Never read the book, but I can’t get the phase out of my head as it so perfectly describes my experiance thus far.
29 Sep 2009