We are in Lorgono - capital of the La Rioja region of Spain, the major wine-growing region. It was an easy 20kms here but we hardly slept last night because we had the snorer of all snorers in our tiny 6-person room - three double bunks squashed into a room the size of our spare bedroom.
It was very hot so we all slept on top of the bed cover, out of our sleeping bags. Sunrise is only at about 7.30 but the full moon gives sufficient light to start walking before sun-up. Today the camino path was described as "sharply rising, very hard climb on rough earthen tracks". Because of my bandaged, raw heels, my dear peregrina amigas (pilgrim friends) agreed to walk with me on the tarred road. We saw that the camino path roughly followed the tarred road all the way to Viana and it was a pleasure to walk on the tar for most of the way. Viana is a small town with a population of about 3,500 - not so Logrono, which has a population of over 125000.
Those of you who have read the Blog will know that I was carrying a little brag book photo album with photos of Felisa Rodriguez a well-known personality on the camino who died in Oct 2002 at the age of 92. Felisa sat at a trestle table outside her ramshackle farmhouse on the road into Logrono. Her table was under an enormous fig tree and her sign read, "Higos-Agua-Amor" (figs - water - love). When she died her daughter replaced her mother at the table and most pilgrims stop at the "Felisa" table for a stamp in their pilgrim passports.
When I saw the familiar ramshackle farmhouse and the woman sitting at the table under an old striped umbrella I got a lump in my throat. When I gave the little book to the elderly woman sitting there, she cried out, "Mi madre! Oh, oh, mi Madre!" It was a very emotional moment and she kept thanking me and hugging me. We bought a cold drink each and sat opposite her table whilst other pilgrims came down the track and stopped for a 'sello' (stamp) but as soon as they moved on she turned the pages of the photo album and kept wiping her tears. We took a few photos of me with her and with us as a group and I have promised to send them to her. As Anneliese said, Maria probably doesn't have many photos of her mother and now she has a small album full.
We are staying in a large refuge that sleeps 80 people - 4 to a cubicle. It is runhe Amigos of La Rioja and costs 3 euro. We have all had a shower and washed our clothes and will go into town to find food. It is now 4pm and the sun won't go down until about 8.30pm. We want to find the church of Santa Maria (another one with that name!!) where there is a huge statue of Santiago as Matamoros - the Moor Slayer.
I told Anneliese today that she is no longer a pilgrim - virgin! That is because today, when we stopped for a break in Vianna, it was the first time that she hasn't said, "Why can't we just stop here? We don't have to walk more today do we?" Every day we walk about 3 hours, then stop for a coffee and a snack and each day Anneliese has been reluctant to move on. Today there wasn't even a peep of protest when we got up, paid for our food, lugged the packs back onto our backs and moved off into the sun.