We originally scheduled a rest day in Logrono but cancelled it so we could change two long days of walking into three shorter days. It all turned out for the better, but Logrono tugged at us. We instantly loved it and we would have enjoyed a full day of discovery.
On Day 1 as we began our epic walk on the Camino de Santiago and as we began to ascend the pass over the Pyrenees (and I was barely breathing) a man came up from behind us, greeted us with the international “Buen Camino” and passed by. But then he turned back and asked where we were from and the conversation went a little something like this.
I think when pilgrims begin their journey they are all pretty much naive as to what’s to come. You can do your homework, read blogs, books and websites, take in as much as you can in an attempt to ready yourself for such a journey. But the reality, my friends… the reality is so vastly different than the best of any words of any pilgrim who has walked the way.
On the morning of day 14 of walking the Camino de Santiago, we had decided to ride the bus for about 15 – 17 kms, stop at a village alongside the highway, and then walk 4 kms to Atapuerca, our next planned destination. My feet needed a very short day. As we were checking out of the hotel, in Villafranca, the desk clerk asked if we were going to have breakfast and we said, no, we have to catch the bus.
When your husband looks at your feet and asks, “How is it that you’re even standing?” you know it may be time to give it a rest. Not throw in the towel, just give it a rest. I will spare you the graphic details because quite frankly I’m sick of writing about my sick feet, but suffice it to say there was no longer any question that we needed to stop for a few days in an attempt to heal.
For a multitude of reasons we hopped a bus out of Leon to a sleepy little village about 19 miles outside of the city, our next planned destination. We stepped off the bus and quickly realized the entire town was closed up tight because May 1 is a major holiday in Spain – didn’t see that coming.
Left, right, left, right, one foot in front of the other, onward we walk to Astorga and Ambros. We walk in sync, although my stride is a bit shorter than Abi’s. We walk in silence. We jibber jabber when one of us has something profound to say. You know, deep thought-provoking ideas, something along the lines of, I wonder what kind of tree that is or those purple and white flowers sure are pretty. There’s a lot of deep thinking between us while walking to Ambros.
We sat basking in the warmth of the afternoon sun at a table on the Plaza Mayor in Villafranca. Every village on the Camino has a Plaza Mayor, I think it’s an unwritten cultural law. I’m joking, but every village seems to have one. Abi with his cerveza and me with Sangria, we sipped the cold refreshing drinks and desperately tried to keep our eyes open. We ordered mixed salads and another round. It was the perfect ending to a good day. Today. Day 25.
Making our way toward Galicia, we walked from Vega de Valcarce to O Cebriero on a soggy sodden muckity mucked trail. Up and up and up we climbed, for hours. Horses use this section of the trail. Do I need to say more? The redeeming grace was the gift of spectacular views.