Utah John was gone before breakfast but after most of the others. I had an included breakfast of orange juice, plain yoghurt and American coffee.
I met a Malagan who had already walked from Los Arcos this morning and had dropped in for breakfast. He commented that Malaga was full of English, German and now Russian tourists. Captain Obvious pointed out that it was very cold in Russia and it’s probably the heat that was attracting them.
I bid farewell to Jenni and Lilliana and set off. After Gregs comment about the camera I was determined to stop and take a lot of photos. The camera has a setting where it puts a few seconds from each shot into a movie of the day.
You descend a steep path out of Sansol before crossing a restored arch bridge and rising through the steep streets of Torres del Rio.
Once out of town the path tended to drop into and climb out of a series a valleys and the descents were steep with one marked at 10%.
This is very much wine country with lots of vine planting on the slopes.
At one point I come upon an area of little rock piles with objects and messages from pilgrims.
Near the top of one steep ascent was a large group of peregrinos resting on a flat glassy area. One called out to stop and rest but I said there was an even bigger hill ahead that was mine.
At the top I could finally see Viana and the path joined the tar road into town. I came up on Lilliana hobbling along and we chatted a bit but I pushed on.
I walked non-stop to Viana and made it into town a little after 11.30 taking three hours even and though my knee was tender both my feet and hips were Ok.
I stopped at a cafe in the town square and a lady said ” I know you, you’re John.” It was Catherine who was last in company with Connie et.al. She was concerned for me but I assured her I was Ok. A little while later Canadian Nurse Jennie and Lilliana arrived and looked inside but Jennie was after a salad which seemed in short supply and off they went.
I cruised the length of Main Street but nothing took my fancy and then at the end I glanced left and saw a sign so went to investigate.
The man in front if the bar jumped up and said “Menu Peregino?” And I nodded, so he ushered me inside.
After decombobulating I sat and he sat beside me with notepad and smile. I was the only seated customer. I said “Me sin gluten”. “Si” he nodded. I ordered salad and then said “arroz”. “Paella” he offered. “Si. “. In the postres I heard “melon” so repeated it. Then a drink to which I said “Coca-Cola”. His smile slipped a bit because I didn’t take the vino tinto.
The coke arrived and it was a biggie.
Then the chef bought the salad and it was a meal in itself. Tuna, asparagus, tomatoe olives and cheese with lettuce and onion and a beautiful dressing.
I was well fed and by the time I was finished a large group of pilgrims turned up stumbling Spanish. I told them the meal was fantastic so they sat down. When paying I left a one Euro tip and the manager reached above his head and rang a cowbell and yelled in English, “for ze chef”.
The bar was called “El Villano”
Outside I called Ali because there wasn’t any reception inside.
It was then time to take on the long walk to Logroño. This time it was pretty flat all the way. Just outside town I bumped into Catherine and her German friend. They went by while I was coating up in the light rain. I followed them for a long while but surprisingly overtook them after 2 hours and then pulled ahead. Once I crossed into La Rioja on the outskirts of Logroño the path turned into a brownish-reddish tar road. I could here pilgrims coming up and then Valerie and Agatha from Norway slowed for a chat. They knew me but I can’t remember from where. This was their third Camino and they were about to finish and go home. We said farewell and they took off.
I could see the cathedral now and pulled up at a little stall run by and old lady where I bought a cold coke for one Euro. Had a chat to Tom from Germany who liked visiting Perth.
Off again for the finish and I crossed the bridge and made it to the Albergue. On the way up the stairs a familiar face helped me with my pack and I saw a few others too.
I’m in with a bunch of Italian MAMILS.
Did my laundry and journaling and now to check out the town.
My Malagan friend just stopped for a chat.
I headed out to find dinner but it’s raining heavily. I’m looking for a restaurant I saw on Google but suddenly I’m in backstreets full of Africans. There’s a long line and a policeman standing there. I walk on and veer away eventually finding friendlier locales. There’s a cafe with umbrella’d tables but it’s all gluten so I back to the right and find a wide pedestrian mall. There’s a guy sitting in a kebab shop window that looks western and as I approach it turns out to be Utah John so we shake and I take the recommendation and now I’m full of kebab’d chicken and apple drink.
The hospitalieros have bought my clothes in so I just need something to wash away the salt and it’s beddy bye for me.
Tomorrow is a 30 k stage.
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