It was 4am before I closed my eyes last night. I’m not sure if this was down to pre-Camino nerves or because I was close to a bar on the main street. I tossed and turned through the night but I only managed a few hours sleep. It didn’t seem to bother me though. Anyway, I got up and ready around half 5, and I was out the door at 6. There were others in the same hotel walking the Camino as I heard movement just before I got up.
When I opened the door, it was pitch black save for a few lights in the centre of the main street. The sun was peeking from the horizon and a few peregrinos were starting out for the day. Dammit I was waiting for this day for a long time.
Logrono was empty, dark and hardly a car on the roads. Must have been something to do with it being a Sunday. As you leave Logrono, the Camino cuts through a large park, with plenty of green and trees. There were a few locals out walking their dogs, or taking an early morning stroll. It was cold and I couldn’t see a cloud so the day had great potential. It had been raining badly throughout the North of Spain for the last week so maybe this was some respite? It took a while to get out of the city; it is really big but it wasn’t until I got to Planta de Granjera, that it hit me where I was. This is a large man made reservoir and it is home to many fish and birds. Although it was close to 7 at this stage, there were groups of men fishing on its banks. They shouted out Buen Camino as I passed. I shouted out a “Gracias” to them all as I passed. Strangely enough, I hadn’t passed any other pilgrims this morning. Maybe it was too early?
I was picking up a heavy pace and soon after, Naverrete peeked it’s head over the horizon. It is a large enough town on the base of a large hill. That was 10km I covered. I was surprised by that pace to be honest and the last thing I wanted to do was pick up an injury on my first day. I walked through the town bright eyed hoping to spot movement, but there was nothing to be seen. I wanted to stop off here for a cafe con leche and rest my legs. I also wanted a wooden pole for the remainder of my trip but there were no shops open. My back troubled me last year and maybe one could help. I found a cafe and ordered a cafe con leche and tostada con queso. Yum! I had a short stumbled conversation with a pilgrim from Barcelona. He didn’t understand me and I didn’t understand me. We both laughed and wished each other a Buen Camino.
I left Naverrete and the sun was out in full now. It was pretty warm and out came the hat and off came the fleece. Out came the earphones also, I needed some music. Again my pace was getting faster and I was getting close to Ventosa which is 1km off the trail. At the start of the day, I was in two minds whether to stay here or continue to Najera. I went in for a coffee and hoped to meet some people. There were quite a few there. I met a man from England who had a large backpack and a strong laugh. He was fun. There were also people from Germany, Italy and a few college students from the States. There was also Colin from Singapore and we walked for a bit. Next stop Najera 11km ahead.
I felt a hotspot on my foot but I decided to wait until I got to Najera to do anything. It wasn’t causing me too much bother. Colin was good fun, he had great english and I had hoped to tag with him until I reached Najera. We walked together for a bit but he was a little slow so I wished him a Buen Camino and walked on. I hope to see them all tomorrow at some stage. Eventually I arrived at Najera after a grueling day in the sun. It is easily an hour to get there once you see the city in the horizon. I passed a funny looking dome of some kind and scrolls with verses in Spanish written on a wall. I took a few photos and moved on. I had booked a pension called Hostal Hispano for the night. It’s a nice place and dinner came with it. No shops or pharmacies are open though. Again, they take their Sundays very seriously here. The town is on the banks of the Najerilla, a rather large river. I ventured around for a while until 6pm and settled in for the night. Tomorrow I’ll be on the lookout for a wooden pole, an open pharmacy and more peregrinos to talk to.
Next stop – Santo Domingo de la Calzada. A shorter day.