What a beautiful morning it was today. I stayed in a great modern albergue with Kitty and Wilma in a town called Sansol. The albergue was brand new practically, and also served as the town restaurant and meeting place.
The village is very cute. They also have a great sense of humor to put this right on the road to greet me at the beginning of what would be a long day:
Har har, Sansol.
The neighbor village was literally 2000 feet away and has a Templar church still standing.
I tried to time my morning so that I could be at this church for Sunday service. The strangest thing is that it was locked up tight and no one seems to want to get in. I have walked by over 100 churches that I would have loved to have seen the inside of, but they have all been locked.
Once I cleared the two villages, this was my view.
The first part of the trail was very steep getting over yet one more mountain. For the record, back home near the Cascades we would call these monsters “foothills.” Except no one just walks over the Cascades. These are marked as “altos” on the map here, and they sure feel like altos as well.
Climbing hills sucks.
Passed an old 12th century hermitage:
The ascents were really something else again this morning. There was one point where I was tempted to follow the highway instead of the trail. I decided to take a picture and commemorate this moment to remind myself not to be tempted again.
On the map below, the yellow marks the highway and blue is the Camino trail. You can see the terrible error I almost made. Thank goodness for my GPS map of the trail.
It’s hard to show the heights accurately in photos. Trust me: this is very far up.
The descent was a bit dodgy, so I decided to put on music again. Besides, with my earbuds in it was easier to get the WSU cougar to stop talking to me. One friendly hello, one friendly “where are you from?” and we end up in the same old WSU versus UW conversation. It did remind me of the friendly ribbing I have been engaging in with Casey and Melissa back home for years, so picking the playlist was easy. Short, but it helped me keep my feet light so I did not trip over any rocks.
My Seafair family can guess which short playlist got me off the mountain:
“Can’t stop this feeling”
“Roller coaster of love”
Instead of thinking about the steep rock path or the fact that my mortal enemy the sun has come out, it gave me the opportunity to reflect on my time as a leader in 2016 and 2017. There are some things I wish I could have done differently to save the year. I try to never have regrets in my life but I really wish things had shaken out differently.
This Camino reflection process is tough!
Atop the final killer hill of the day. Or so I thought. Here is a view of where I just was:
And here is my final destination for today, way off in the distance.
Ooof. There was very little time for screwing around today.
There were a large number of people walking and even more bicyclists. Eventually I figured out that there must be a bicycle race somewhere. 🚲
The blisters on my feet are as monstrous as the hills. I tried to take as many breaks as possible to let my feet dry in the air. I’m so glad I brought duct tape with me! Instead of bringing the heavy roll, I wrapped about 12 feet around my water bottle. Whenever I need it, I just rip a piece off my water bottle. I don’t remember where I read about that trick, but I’m really glad I tried it.
Found the bike race in Viana. It was actually a… oh… what is it called when it’s bicycle and running? I doubt they were swimming anywhere.
The finish line was literally on the Camino. Dude, you’re blocking the way! (I’m kidding)
Viana was a lovely and lively town, especially for a Sunday afternoon. I would have loved to stay here, but something happened that made me want to push on to Logroño. More about that later.
Two more hours of walking and I’m no longer in Navarra! Too bad I’m allergic to red wine.
There was a very sweet elderly lady at the end of this path right at the edge of the city. She had a folding table set up filled with Camino trinkets and souvenirs, plus her very own stamp for credentials. I stopped to get a stamp and bought a little bracelet from her. She stood up and said a prayer in Spanish with her hand on my shoulder, then kissed my cheek. It was a very sweet way to be welcomed to Logroño. Gracias, Felisa!
I find that I’m taking a lot more photos in the morning when I’m fresh. Once the day gets going and my legs get tired, my feet start hurting, and I start getting a little desperate for the finish line, I stop taking out my phone and taking pictures. I didn’t want to take a picture of the sweet lady because it was very touching moment. I’m also finding a lot of experiences are such that stopping to pull out my phone would ruin the moment.