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Journal

Follow here my journey and stories around the World. 

 

Filtering by Tag: Logroño

Day 6: Navarrete - Belorado

Ivan Blanco

Español aquí

Surprises is what I could call the night in Navarrete.

Followed by pouring rain that almost turned the streets into rivers, we the "Ondiñas" team went back to our albergue to find a few surprises for me: my most favorite T-Shirt, which everyone was loving on the Camino, had decided to take a faster transport method: it flew away with the crazy storm we just had. But don't worry, it doesn't like to travel alone, it took my underwear too as its companion. While, just in case, looking for it in Navarrete's streets, I discovered one beautiful poem written on a wall next to our albergue, but I didn't take any photo nor tell anyone. I consciously didn't want to, because sometimes it's better to keep a few experiences for ourselves and simply enjoy the raw beauty of it. If you're curious anyway, then you'll have to do the Camino and look for it. Hence, two surprises don't come alone, I found a new person willing to take part in my photo interview project too. This time it was a local, Aitor, who runs the albergue and actually also did the Camino, but with one major difference... Barefoot! Yet, another impressive story was added to my project.

Seventh recommendation for the Camino: you don't need a selfie with everything, appreciate the beauty of this World with your eyes first.

Ensuing the stormy night, rain saluted us again the next morning while we were still having breakfast. Maybe motivated by my flying T-Shirt, I also decided to send directly to Santiago all the excess luggage I was carrying (see the Spanish Post's offer here; info in Spanish only), I actually had 5 1/2 kg too much which I could easily go on without. No wonder I suffered so much on the treacherous route de Cize on my first Camino day!

Best wine grapes ever!

Saying goodbye to the pleasant Navarrete, we escaped the rain after only a 20 min. ride and to what would be one really hot day. Crossing again the beautiful vineyards of La Rioja region, I couldn't resist the temptation to take a few grapes and... they are glorious! Their freshness and taste are like nothing I ever tried before. If you're doing the Camino in September, don't pass the chance to try them, you won't be disappointed, but don't have a meal either, remember, it's someone's crop.

The happy and lovely Maurice

Going on after this gourmet experience, at some point I saw a fellow pilgrim that I just wanted to photograph. The scenery where we were and his expression just invited me to do so. He happily agreed and that's what started my conversation with Maurice, who is a Frenchmen from the North. He actually was quite exhausted from the hard sun and the Camino itself, I asked him if he needed something and he didn't have any water nor food left, so I gave him a few grapes I still had and filled up his bottle which he almost drunk in one sip! I was left with just half a litre but I was glad to help out a fellow pilgrim and to meet him, plus, I also had my picture. "Merci et bonne route Maurice !"

Not long afterwards, we were going to make another Camino friend. At some resting point near Santo Domingo de la Calzada, we met Jürgen from Germany. He was doing his own Camino, starting from Hameln (Northern Germany) and heading later to Portugal. Thanks to this moment, his 4 weeks pedalling story is now part of my photo project too and we added a new member to the "Ondiñas" team that day. If you wish to know more about "Jürgen's Weg" and check the other beautiful places he visited, you can read his German blog here.

Bendy paths of the Camino

Riding along with the biggest bike group I've ever been till, we all had Belorado as our common destination. We stayed at the first albergue that had a whopping swimming pool, billiard, living room, full equipped kitchen and more! (check Albergue A Santiago). Being it also the first town of the Burgos province, we tried to find a supermarket before they closed to get some good wine and the regional cheese "Queso fresco de Burgos". It was sunset and it was almost closing time, so we had to literally run, which was really difficult because of the beautiful town distracting us quite often.

The Boots Bender!

Even so, we did it just in time with the supermarket closing on us and we bought one amazing goat cheese, the fresh Burgos one and an excellent La Rioja wine with an ideal name for the Camino: "Tuerce Botas" (=The Boots Bender).

It was the perfect after-dinner!

Day 5: Estella - Navarrete

Ivan Blanco

Español aquí

Day 5 and a new chapter of my Camino de Santiago was ahead.

The day before I was reluctant to stay in Estella or continue on, luckily, I didn't leave and had the chance to see the beauty of this town, have an awesome burger for dinner, the best ever alioli sauce and chips (check Restaurante Aljama), a really big beer and I even experienced the first rain drops of my Camino. 

But best of all, one my longest and strongest Camino friendships was about to start.

The Ondiñas Team!

While I was checking the nearby albergues at the tourism office and was almost about to leave, I met there 3 more bike pilgrims, they had just arrived from Ordizia (a little town in the Basque Country) and they were looking for an albergue too. After a quick chat, Maitane, Carla, Marta and I ended up looking for a place together. That's how easy one Basque, two Catalans and one Galician ended up heading together to Santiago de Compostela.

After a good night's sleep, we, the "Ondiñas" team (stay tuned to future posts to discover where this name comes from) left the magnificent Estella in search of some breakfast. Considering we were in Navarra, what better choice for breakfast than some...Wine! Yes, you've read it right, wine!

Keep reading, keep reading!

Yes! A wine fountain!

The Designation of Origin (D.O.) Navarra may be overshadowed by the more popular Bordeaux and Rioja ones, but this region's red wines have nothing to envy them and is actually one of the hidden gems of the Spanish wine growing tradition (more info here). Therefore, there's no better way to show it with... a wine fountain! Yes, you've read it right again, there's a wine fountain for pilgrims and visitors on the Camino, it's hosted by the Irache winery and there's no better start of a day when you're invited like this: "Pilgrim, if you wish to arrive at Santiago full of strength and vitality, have a drink of this great wine and make a toast to happiness" (click here for more info of this wine fountain). 

Sixth recommendation for the Camino: open up your eyes and spirit, and the Camino will reward you with plenty of surprises!

Following our "toast to happiness" we headed out to Arcos where we stopped for some credential stamps and some refreshment. It was also the moment where I did another photo interview with Carla and where we remembered the moving story of Cliff and his wife and Carla's own one. Keep fighting guys!

Bulls on the Camino

Arcos was also the first attempt to meet a friend of mine who lives nearby, but we had to keep going, so we went on to Viana, where to our surprise, the town was in celebration! Actually, one street path of the Camino was a bit occupied by... bull running! Yes, you're reading right again, bulls instead of pilgrims and bikes. We accidentally barged into the town's annual festivities with the typical white clothing and red scarf dressing, a great party mood where everyone was joyfully dancing, singing and drinking water (see below). 

Happiest drinking child ever

Destiny somehow made it that my friend Mireia called me that instant too and she was heading to Viana to meet me! I couldn't wish for a better place and moment to reunite with an old friend, she even brought me a gift, local homegrown asparagus, mmmm!

"Muchas gracias Mire y espero volver a verte prontico!" 

Having to go on, I bitterly had to leave this nice reunion and continue on my own to Logroño (the bike girls headed out while I stayed in Viana). There, I just did a quick ice cream stop and continued to Navarrete, where Maitane, Carla and Marta had already arrived. I specially enjoyed the ride from Logroño to Navarrete because it was a natural path along the Grajera reservoir and river, ending up through beautiful wine yards that produce, in this case, Rioja's excellent wines (more info on the DOCa Rioja wines here). 

After some strolling around in this marvelous scenery, at some point I had to hurry a bit because some angry clouds started to show up... some people don't like them, specially the grey ones, but I just love 'em, I couldn't do some of my best landscape photos without, check it yourself on the pic below!

Yin Yang weather over Navarrete

Since I wasn't looking to get wet, destiny struck again and made me arrive to the town's Albergue in perfect timing, it started dripping just when I got there. I caught up with the girls, we went to a casual wine and ham tasting held in Navarrete's town square and we went for dinner, just in time to watch on TV the amazing entry of the Spanish Vuelta into our own final destination: Santiago de Compostela! (watch it here and click here for more info of this cycling competition). 

Do you remember the angry clouds?  Well, they finally decided to join the show! And boy did they do it through the big door: thunder, storm, pouring cats and dogs and wind took the scene, thank God we were covered and enjoying our meal!

Unfortunately, once we went back to the albergue, a few surprises awaited for me...

Curious? Then watch out for my next post to check them out.