For the group’s last walking day we were taking on the 28.5 kms from Los Arcos to Logroño. I must admit I don’t plan for 25+ km days normally, as I know the plantar fasciitis and/or the osteoarthritis could make the last part of the day very uncomfortable. However this wasn’t my plan, and I told myself that I could always get a taxi from Viana, past the last 10 kms or so. I was after all walking on the next day, while they were going back home.
The others in the group were looking forward to the day, they were in this to experience each and every step and had no intention of letting the distance defeat them. And what a display the camino put on for us!
There are marvels big and small if you just look for them.
I didn’t take many photos though, I was busy enjoying the bare-eye views and the company, my new photographer camigo who kept snapping all the landscapes and details (hi, Jim!) so I felt I didn’t need to. We bimbled along at a leisurely pace, had a short stop at a fabulous place in Torres del Rio with templar castle looking insides and tropical bathrooms, and a restorative lunch break in Viana, after the rest of the group were long gone. I decided that if he could walk the last bit, so could I. Walking was what we were there to do and I would be walking on my own the next day, so it was easy to decide to enjoy the day and the company while I could.
And what a lesson I got on the way – a lady who smilingly called herself Calamity Kate was hobbling along the trail on a foot with a potentially broken bone in it, but she never stopped, never got in a taxi, never gave up. Her foot probably didn’t thank her for it in the evening, but she did what she had to do, what she had come to do, what she wanted to do. I hope she let it rest and heal somewhere along the way, but I have to say I admire her determination. And I am glad I walked all the way to Logroño.
Logroño is the capital of La Rioja, so naturally there are vineyards all around and delicious wine to be had everywhere. Jim and I still opted for a clara when we finally arrived, dusty and hot and elated, and sat down in front of the cathedral. Keep your eyes peeled for the left hand turn on the way into the town square – we ended up going the long way round on the exit route!
Colleen had found a flat for us to stay in this last night, with two bathrooms, a kitchen and assorted bedrooms and bed configurations. We all gathered there before going out to test out Logroño’s other speciality: the tapas district in and around Calle Laurel.
In 2012 I missed out on the tapas trail because we had a curfew at the albergue. In 2018 there was a wine festival and the streets were so thronged and busy that we gave up. Finally I was there and could go and graze to my heart’s content! I’d even done some tapas research and really wanted to try the shrimp fritters, which were just as nice as I was hoping.
We bumped into lots of pilgrims we had met along the way, who were also milling around sampling the delights. I’ll admit there was a nightcap involved too. It seemed we had just met, and I couldn’t quite believe I would be leaving them all there and walking out on my own the next morning.