Logrono was quite a large city with a new town - wide avenues, smart shops, fountains etc and then the old town with narrow cobbled streets and old stone buildings. We went shopping in the new town for my sandals and I found a pair at Desportes Ferrar a smart sport shop something like Total Sports. They cost me 42 euro but I have been able to walk more comfortably than in the Crocs. We couldn't find a place that serves dinner before 8pm so we sat outside a bar with an assortment of tappas - patata tortilla, a salad (which the guy assured me had NO fish or meat but was full of tuna) and a plate of olives.
The refuge was in a large municipal building and we were allotted beds in a tiny cubicle with 2 double bunks. We had a snorer in our cubicle and a sleep talker close by so we didn't get much sleep.
The pilgrims starting rustling plastic bags at about 5am so we were up and gone by 6h30 yesterday. We walked through the quiet city streets for about an hour before finding ourselves on a runner's path (a bit like the beach walk in Cape Town) that led around the outskirts of the city into a forest. We walked in moonlight - 98% illumination according to my list - and we took photos of a truly beautiful sunrise on the way through the forest. The forests borders a fairly large recreational lake and the path follows it around the edges where we saw cormorants, geese, ducks and a few Moorhens. There are little 3-sided shelters scattered about so we chose one and had digestive biscuits, black chocolate and water for our breakfast break. The last 3-sided hut before one exists the forest has been appropriated by a very famous pilgrim - Marcileno - who has walked numerous caminos and has written 5 books. He has a long beard, wears a medieval pilgrim's robe festooned with scallop shells including a large white shell on the upturned brim of his pilgrim hat. He has signs attached to the hut offering help to pilgrims, biscuits, figs, apples and nuts - for free. He has a 'visitors' book and in it I wrote that he is the male equivalent of a Felisa who offered 'higos-agua-amor' (figs-water-love). He read it and started to cry and hug me. Very emotional man! When he heard that we were from South Africa he wanted a photo with all of us and got emotional all over again.
On the way to Ventosa we passed a timber yard with a high diamond mesh fence between the path and the main highway. Pilgrims have pushed small and large pieces of wood between the mesh to make crosses. We all added our twig crosses and continued walking past thousands of simple crosses pushed into the fence. Some are quite artistic with bows of straw tied in the middle or flowers, berries etc.
We arrived at Ventosa before 1pm (short day at the office!) and waited outside for the refuge to open. As we sat there, I had a feeling of de-ja-vu and told Marion and Anneliese that I thought it was one of the refuges I'd stayed in when I walked with Clare and Georgie in 2004. At that time the hospitalero was a young man with long hair, an Indian shirt and lots of chains and crosses around his neck. Georgette was convinced that he was a priest but I suggested that he was a hippie! The volunteer hospitalero this time was a young woman from Austria and when we entered the refuge I knew that I had been there before. As in 2004 there was incense burning and soft music floating through the small building. We bought salad ingredients from her small supply room and after having a lovely hot shower and treating our feet, we made a salad and had bread and cheese and salad for lunch.
We had a really good sleep - no snorers - and started walking at 7h30 this morning. Anneliese had a German on top of her, Marion had a Fin and I had an Austrian - no snorers thank heavens! We are now in Najera, a fairly large town on our way to Azofra where we will spend the night.
We stopped here for a coffee and then sat in the park where Anneliese was able to re-plaster the blisters on her feet. We are both wearing sandals instead of boots and just hope that the weather holds long enough for our blisters to heal so that we don't have to wear boots too soon.
We are truly in wine country and every day walk through acres and acres of vineyards.