The Camino has proven quite tiring on our bodies, especially considering our expectations seeing as we walk 4 miles every day, and have been taking practice walks for up to 16. Apparently you can´t replecate a mountain nor an uneven Roman road. That said, in spite of the sore bodies, we are having the time of our lives. Kepa´s mama thing is continuing (though worst at night when tired), but otherwise he is crazy happy. In fact that seems to be what shocks the other peregrinos the most.....how happy he seems all of the time. It makes me want to ask, do you think we would have tried this with a baby who wasn´t so easy going and laid back? I wouldn´t have, that is for sure!
May 24 Estella to Torres del Rio (29.1 km)
Long, long day. We took the high road (by choice) and it paid off. Yes it was more climbing but it cut off a 1.5 km, and it also was a more gentle climb over soft dirt paths under the shade of a forest. Everyone we know who took the lower route took longer and looked more tired. After climbing that mountain it was a long descent through a pretty city called Los Arcos, then on to Torres Del Rio......a tiny medieval town on a tall hill above a river. It´s name means Towers on the River. The town had 2 hotels and 1 bar, but we had a really good time. Very memorable.
|A beautiful day coming off the mountain in Monjardin|
May 25 Torres Del Rio to Logrono (La Rioja) (20.1 km)
Today we left the Basque region crossing into the great wine region La Rioja (see our post on Places We´´ll Go, Things We´ll See). Shorter, but our most tiring day yet. Logrono is beautiful but very sleek and modern. Logrono,as well as most of Rioja, was pretty well bombed out in the Spanish Civil War. Logronians had the money to rebuild pretty, but still rebuilt.
|We saw a rainbow as the sun started to drive away the morning rain.|
|In Viana we happened to be there for a Basque festival. Lots of|
boys and girls in traditional Navarese dress. Bands too. Purty cool!
May 26 Logrono to Najera (29.4 km)
The opening 10 km was around a beautiful lake. Then 10 killer km across an open wine desert. But then a beautiful 10 km over a small mountain and descending to the rivertown of Najera (pretty next to the river, dirty otherwise.....whole spanish civil war meets poor area type of thing). We stopped at a lovely bar for sandwhiches and cerveza before the final 10 km. After the killer day we broke down and ate pizza in Najera. We rarely eat inauthentic while in Europe, but after 30 km we NEEDED it :)
|Rioja is COVERED with wine regions, in the flats and the mountains alike.|
We awoke to drizzle, checked the weather app, and thought we had a chance to chase some sun. Kepa was well covered (we have a whole thing to cover his pack, plus his rain jacket) but the plan didn´t work out so well for the rest of us. In the first 6 km the drizzle turned to downpour and all of the adults got drenched even in our raingear. We took shelter in a cafe in Azofra (pretty, tiny town), drank hot chocolates, ate, warmed up, and then took a taxi to Santo Domingo de la Calzado. We feel like we were cheating a bit, but we just didn´t want to do anything stupid with a baby. And I don´t think St. James will blame us for 9 little miles :) :) Now in Santo Domingo, sun now shining (of course), doing laundry and about to go see the chickens!!!!!
|Walking toward Santo Domingo de la Calzada (before the rain)|
|Kepa finds this all very exhausting|
|The square in Santo Domingo|
|On the left you can see the inside of the cathedral,|
the live chickens are in the bright area to the left.
Above you see our chocolate chicken. Yum!