From the end of May through mid June, Paul, Finn and I walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain. This is part of the recap of that trip. Find more here.
Los Arcos to Logroño was going to be a LONG day. We were determined to get an early start. Our hostel had breakfast (and a tub to bathe Finn…lap of luxury, people) so we left clean and fed.
Spanish breakfasts are pretty small for pilgrims who spend the day walking. Mostly it consisted of a couple of pieces of toast, coffee, and maybe some fruit. Not very satisfying, but we were grateful to have it. A kind pilgrim also ran up to her room just to get Finn a banana to eat while we walked. #spoiled.
Everything started out smoothly. The landscape was beginning to flatten out more and more and we got to walk through farm land and vineyards. There was one climb in the day that was difficult, but we were struggling with the climbs less. The hardest part of the day was the sheer distance. It was almost 30km. We decided the best approach was to take a smaller stop in morning and then a nice long stop and the last town before Logroño.
Finn did great in the morning and we got our walking legs under us. I visited with a fellow pilgrim from Washington whom we had gotten to know a little the evening before. At some point while we visited, however, Finn had a meltdown. There wasn’t a good place to stop and he really needed a nap so we had to get through it. We sang songs and did all we could for some time. Our friend, Jasmine, sang to him as well and made up songs to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus” but with the words of “The ____ on the Camino.” So sweet! Finn cheered up to that for awhile. At some point, he wasn’t having any more though. It was time for his nap and he was just refusing. Paul let Jasmine and I visit for awhile and he tolerated Finn being upset…loudly…in his ear. Finn wasn’t having water, milk, snacks, cookies, songs, games, or his pacifier and was certainly not napping even though its clearly what he needed, so there wasn’t much else we could do besides the usual bounce and rock until he got to sleep. We did stop to check his temperature and dose him with some tylenol in case his teeth were bothering him (classic mom problem-solving: Must be the teeth!). And he went to sleep not long after. WHEW! Thank goodness.
A little later, we reached Viana, where we intended to take our long stop, and it was perfect. There was a nice square where we found a shaded bench and ate an inordinate amount of bread and trick fake nutella (the label just had almonds…not info about chocolate, then when we opened it, it was definitely almond nutella. Hence: fake nutella). The local school kids came out to the square and ran straight to the fountain to play. Finn was thrilled to see more kids and just stared at them until they ran off. And then he wanted in the fountain. So we let him stand on the grate and he played and splashed. I thought he may never leave.
When we finally got Finn away from the water, we sat down for some sangria, which was a huge mistake. Its soooo hard to get going again after sharing a mini-pitcher of sangria!! But, we had reserved a room ahead in Logroño and there was no choice. Onward we had to go.
We had 10km from Viana to Logroño which seemed reasonable when we left. But then….it just kept going. We walked for seemingly forever, and we felt like every time we saw a sign, we just hadn’t covered that much ground. Finn slept most of the way which was great. We met up with some ladies from the United States and talked awhile. We walked on and AGAIN thought we were making progress, but, apparently not like we thought.
Eventually I started to have some real sciatic nerve pain and was just limping along. Paul thought my gait was kind of hysterical. Thanks for taking pleasure in my pain there! We met up with a young guy, Jack, from Ireland and got to visit. That did take my mind off of my pain a little….a very little for a very little while. At some point we noted a 4km to Logroño sign and got excited that we were close. But then, a little while later, we saw another 4km sign. And then, you guessed it, another one just a little while later. We should have covered a couple of kilometers since we saw the first 4km sign! What.the.heck?!?
At that point, it was in pain, hot, and beginning to get a little angry. I mean, where the heck was this town?!!? ugh.
We kept on keeping on and FINALLY got into Logroño. We decided we wanted to get straight to our pension, which was about 1km past the main square. We passed fellow pilgrims in the main square having beer and relaxing, which was SO SO tempting, but then again, so was a shower. After some moaning and groaning (mostly from me), we made it to our pension and did our usual rest, shower, laundry, snack before going back to the square for dinner.
We walked the 1km back to the square to find drinks and dinner. I had broken out in some weird, awful rash on my leg so we stopped at a pharmacy for medicine and to look for diapers. The stash we brought was running low and it was time to stock up. Unfortunately, there was no one-stop shopping because the pharmacy didn’t have diapers. We’d just have to look later.
Drinks were easy to find, but dinner, like diapers, was a problem. For one, Logroño was just a bigger city. The smaller towns catered to pilgrims, but bigger cities weren’t dependent on pilgrims to keep going. So the restaurants were more on Spanish time rather than pilgrim time. There were no pilgrim menus and almost no kitchens open. By the time we found an open restaurant, it was getting a little late. We’d have to eat in about 30 minutes to make mass and that just never happens in Spain. Quick dinners are unheard of. So we sat down with a young couple from D.C., another pilgrim from Colorado, another from Brazil, and a seminarian from the U.S. (but I can’t remember where). It was a lovely dinner. The food was great and the conversation was better. Finn ran around the whole time (outdoor dinners for the win) and got pretty worn out.
After saying our goodbyes, we walked around a little, but knew we didn’t have long since we needed to find diapers. We’d been keeping an eye out for a store while we looked for a dinner spot and a Spanish pilgrim friend had asked around for us, but she didn’t have luck either. Dinner had lasted a couple of hours (probably still short for a Spanish dinner) and we really needed to figure out where to get diapers before the stores closed.
We finally found a Spanish family with a small child and decided they’d be the ones to ask. Paul couldn’t remember the word for diaper, but with a little awkward sign language, they figured it out, took pity on us, gave us a couple of diapers and pointed us in the right direction. We walked to the supermarket a few blocks away, stocked up on snacks and diapers, and then headed back to our pension. We were sooooo tired on the way back, and still in a little pain, that we just did NOT want to walk any further. We were only a few blocks away when we called it. We saw a taxi and hopped in, laughing at ourselves, and with the cab driver laughing at us, but also feeling totally relieved that the other had agreed to the ridiculousness of taking a cab a few blocks! Not our finest moment, but worth it.
All in all, Logrño went down as one of our least favorite days on the Camino. The difficult walk, the inability to find food, the diaper search, the fit, they lying kilometer markers. All of it was just exhausting. And to top it all off, we just weren’t liking the city of Logroño. That’s ok, we weren’t required to have all good days and some bad days gave us some things to offer up and work through.