Yes, I limped into Logrono, after almost 23km. Everything hurt, I can´t even start to describe the feeling. Torres del Rio, by the way, was quite lovely. Sitting on the top of a hill, it - again- looked like it hadn´t been altered since the middle ages. Unfortunately the same could´ve been said about my hostel....... ANYWAYS, the place has something quite special to boost: an octagonal church, romanesque, with a 12th century cross inside. The inner structure was quite similar to the one from Eunate, the Knights Templar church, but the design and the carvings were very different. The ceiling was the most striking feature: from all 8 corners the columns merged together on the top - everyone placed their cameras on the floor underneath the centre of the ceiling to take a picture, me too, of course. One column had a beast with a vicious, gaping mouth, in which a lamb was stuck. (That reminds me: in Estella one of the churches had the entrance to hell carved into the gothic arches: all the poor sinners had to march into a huge beast´s mouth - hopefully I can put up pictures at a later time). Back to the church in Torres del Rio: the crucifix was really well preserved, but while I stood there in admiration, Martha, an older woman from Venezuela (now in Atlanta, Georgia) shouted: "Oy, doesn´t Jesus look like a dwarf?" Ehm, well, on closer inspection he did, cause the proportions were wrong and his head was a bit too big for his body..... She ruined my whole impression! No, I still think he was quite beautiful. Medieval art isn´t exactly known for proportions (Yea, why is that?? The greeks and romans mastered the art to total perfections, and then everything sank..... into the middle ages, making a big step backwards. Odd.)
And another ANYWAYS! I left Torres del Rio in good spirits and in good speed. Shortly around eleven I´d already walked almost 12km and arrived in Viana, which boast a splendid cathedral with a grave of some Lord outside the church. He was the son(!) of some Pope (Alexander??? Don´t have my little, clever book with me....) and such an ass that they didn´t want to bury him inside. Well done.
Then on to Logrono everything started to change. The countryside started to remind me of ...... - oh dear, I´m going to offend people now...., apologies in advance! - ....Co. Offaly. As in: it was just there. Flat. With people driving through it, shouting "Boggers!!" out of car windows. Though later on I decided I liked the Offaly countryside better than this. It all turned to three W´s: wine, wheat and wasteland. And slowly the wasteland took over. And the path turned to concrete. OUTCH! Here came the "I´m a horse on a motorway"-feeling back. Motorways and roads multiplied. And the fact that I came ever closer to a paper factory didn´t help at all. The air hung full of the smell of glue and other chemicals, and my heels decided to act up big time. I think the tourism bureau of Logrono thinks that to tar the Camino is wonderful for pilgrims. Good intentions. In fact, people who carry a shit load on their back want everything but concrete. Soft, natuiral ground, yes, even mud, or stones (they massage the feet at last) is much, MUCH better than unforgiving hard concrete. Since my heels started to hurt quite badly again, I walked very unnaturally, with the result that my calves turned to stone.
The only highlight on the approach to Logrono was the stop at "Maria´s", the daughter of Dona Felice, who for years waited for the pilgrims under an olive tree, stamping their Credentials and selling refreshments. She died in 2002 and now her daughter Maria has taken over the baton.
At the bridge into Logrono is the old custom house converted into a pilgrim´s information centre. They got me a single room for 20Euro and with my last breath I limped to this place, dreaming of a Cafe con Leche on the plaza in front of the cathedral. Despite my pains I fell asleep for a bit, and then, after my shower....., it was lashing rain! And I mean lashing, hammering down! Grrrrrrreat! So I wore all I had, just as if I was crossing the pyrenees in the snow again, and limped through the little calles, where they were advertising tapas and wine on every door. It looked like a brilliant place in warm weather! The spaniards were all wearing big winter coats, scarves and gloves. Every mediterranean person I meet is swearing it´s still winter, not even spring! Since I was by myself, I didn´t feel like hanging out in the bars alone, so I looked in the pouring rain for a place that would serve the local speciality: calamares in their own ink. YES. That´s what I said. I found a place, and it was yummy! I also had the local speciality, asparagus, as a starter. And wine of course. And when I fell into my little room, I discovered that the good people had switched on the heating, yay! So I spent a quiet, warm night and slept til 10am, yes, I have to repeat that: 10am.
This morning I spent a forune at the chemists on stuff for my heels and against muscle aches. Apparently they (the muscle aches) only disappear after the 3rd (!) week. I also found a place with cheap, soft scarves. One of them I´ll wrap from now on around my waist before putting on my pants. The stitching on those pants is so hard that the waistbelt of the backpack presses them into my flesh, and I´ve been fighting blue marks and little wounds since the beginning. The second scarf I´m using as belt from now on, as my pants are starting to slide down a bit - a good sign! :)) On my way out of Logrono I visited the Santiago church, which shows the saint over the portal as a killer of maures - not exactly political correct these days... He rides on a massive horse over heads lying on the ground, pretty impressive though ;) Inside (which was gobsmackingly beautiful!) they had a mass which was more special than anticipated: apparently today is the day of some Saint, who´s responsible for a good harvest, so people brought baskets with fruits and veggies, and the saint was lifted on the shoulders of 4 guys and carried out of the church on a little tour round the town. Have to google the saint, anyone knows who he is?
Then I walked 13km to Navarrete, yes, in the rain, and especially the howling wind. With my rain poncho I looked more like a windjammer than a pilgrim. A couple of times it blew me off the path, kinda funny though. The lanscape was nice, little woods to cross, past a lake, through loads and loads of wine fields, but all on concrete. Someone should tell the tourism offce of Logrono "Thanks for your concern, but no thanks. Give us the natural ground back!" Thank God I went to the chemist! The stuff they gave me did the trick and I could actually roll my feet from heel to toe. Now I´m in this little town called Navarrete, gorgeous little place (again, with a big church) on top of a little hill, all big sandstone again, which always appears orange in my camera. And the computer I write on is in the sweetest smelling shop ever! Guess that is, because it´s full and full of sweets. It´s a children´s paradise: sweets and internet! The two little guys beside me were very concerned I´d spent too long writing (which, indeed, is true...) and they wouldn´t be able to play. But then the woman beside me got up and now they´re very much into their game, and their crisps, and their sweets :))
I, on the other hand, wanted to Skype a bit, but have forgotten my Skype name.... Not the password, no, I have that. To my parents: who am I on Skype????? Ophelia something??
I better head back to the albergue with my bread. Still have to shower, to wash and to cook, and it closes at 9.30pm. And they also want us out before 8am! Well, I need a kick in the bum, otherwise I never get going. Good night all, and thanks for reading!