Sunday, May 20th … 20 kms … 14 miles
Originally the guide book says to walk to Najera, which would have been an 18-mile day. As we were sitting in the room going to bed last night, we pulled out our guide books and made a group decision. We would only walk to Ventosa, a short 14-mile day! A much-needed shorter day. The only thing Cale and I had to watch was our arrival date into Leon. This was where we had a rest day and reservations. We needed to arrive on June 1st. We have shared this with everyone and it looks like they all might take a rest day there as well!
This morning had a little sadness in it, today Merci and Anna had to return to their jobs. We were able to enjoy breakfast with them at the church. Such an amazing place. After we did the dishes, we gave our donations and headed out. Once outside we said our goodbyes. It was weird watching them walk in the opposite direction. We all waved one more time and turned to begin our day. Nice thing about social media, you can always stay in touch!
As we made our way out of Logrono, all you could hear was hiking poles clicking on the pavement and the chatter of the many pilgrims. We followed the brass scallop shells out of the city. I was ready to be on something other than pavement. Pavement is hard on your knees, feet and toes.
I was glad we planned for a shorter day; you could tell everyone was tired. Usually by morning we are all recharged to 100% but I think today we all might have been at about 60%. Yesterday, taught us an important lesson. Watch your time and plan ahead for a room. With the number of pilgrims walking the Camino nowadays, you need a reservation when walking into cities with limited hostels, especially the larger cities.
So today, we definitely wanted to know we had a bed. We were walking into a town with only a few hostels and didn’t want to have to continue on to the next town. That would mean an additional four miles and today we did not want to feel rushed. So again, as a group, we made a great decision!
*Hostel and reservations: certain hostels/albergues don’t take reservations. But some will hold a spot until a certain time, usually around 2 or 2:30. So if you don’t get there by then, your spot is given away. Private hotels will take reservations.
As we were walking on the city streets out of Logrono, a lady was walking really fast and she was weaving her way around and through all the pilgrims. We all thought, why is she in such a hurry? She must be new on the trail; she is walking perfectly. But as she passed me, she said, “excuse me, pardon me, nervous energy coming through!” I replied, “why so nervous, slow down, enjoy it” As I said this she turned and laughed, saying. “I know, it’s just how I am.”
After that she continued to walk with us for the remainder of the day. Her name was Marcia who was also from the USA. She actually was walking to Burgos alone and then meeting some friends who will walk to Santiago with her. She ended up walking with our little group all the way to Burgos, five days. We gave her the nickname, Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!
Just as we left town, we entered a beautiful park! It was a little busy…with it being Sunday, the locals were out, running, walking, and riding bikes, it was great! A beautiful reservoir, trees, shade and yes, a bathroom, just what I needed.
We wanted to walk to Navarrete and stop there for our first café stop. It was now 9:30 and we should arrive there around twelve. Perfect! Lunch time! We did have a great breakfast and of course we had snacks and water on us, but by twelve noon, we would be ready for our lunch.
The morning consisted of acres and acres of vineyards. No more wheat fields, we are now in the Rioja region.
It was another hot day. The sun was strong and there wasn’t a lot of clouds in the sky. Vineyards don’t offer much shade, but we made our way and rested when needed.
I was excited to stop in Navarrete because I wanted to visit the Church of the Assumption. It is a 16th century church which sits atop a hill, commanding a position overlooking the square. I love going into the churches during our day, stopping in, finding rest in the cool building and saying a prayer. Big or small they are all special. Some of most favorite ones are the small chapels that look like they are going to fall down and once you enter you are in awe!
Navarrete is a historic town with original period homes whose doorways are topped with family crests and armorial shields. It is also known for its pottery; a statue in the main square commemorates this art.
As we were arriving into Ventosa, a thunderstorm was brewing on the horizon. We were not sure it was coming our way so it was the perfect time to arrive especially since the sun was getting hotter. This town was so small if you blinked you might have missed it. So, finding the hostel was not a problem.
It was a neat little place; it had a small kitchen and three or four rooms, each with about eight bunks. My favorite part was the outside courtyard in the back. Chairs, tables and plenty of places just to hang out. I was hoping the rain would miss us so we could enjoy this patio.
After we showered and washed our clothes, the sun came out and we were able to hang them on the line. All perfect timing. We made our way into town for another little snack and the grocery store. Cale and I were going to cook but Minh decided he wanted to cook. Of course, I didn’t mind that at all.
We arrived back at the hostel with time to relax, play card games and spend time with our pilgrim friends. The thunderstorm did bypass us!
It was perfect! Our batteries were being recharged, which we needed because tomorrow was going to be a long day…eighteen miles.
Logrono to Ventosa, Sunday, May 20th … 20 kms … 14 miles, Sunny and hot
Sojourners Pray ~ Thomas Merton
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and that I think I am following your will does not mean I am actually doing so.
But I believe the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all I am doing. I hope I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
What a prayer to read in the morning before my walk. Perfect for any day of your life.
Yes, it was sad to see Merci and Anna leave but I know we will see them again. And then we met Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! She was walking quickly and we started to talk. God is so good! She was needing a friend. She told me that she was nervous about being alone. And here she is walking with us now.
As we were walking, I was thinking about this, so many people walk this by themselves but everyone will talk about all the wonderful people they meet. And so many find someone they end up walking together with for 30 days. Just like Cale and I walking with our little group. We all need love; we all need companionship and friends.
Ok, I get it God! I hear what you are saying to me. Even though we have been hurt, we still need companionship and friendship. I feel my heart is open, I feel like normal again, I feel healed, but I will take the lessons and reminders. Thank you Jesus.
Tonight, was fun on the garden patio at the Albergue. So much friendship, kindness and laughter!
Again, thank you Jesus!