May 14th: Logrono to Nagera 28.9 km/18.1 miles
Stretched out lazily in bed after sleeping in, sans early pilgrim exodus and a set check out time of 0800; completely luxurious feeling, with a shameful touch of elitism while I nestled under the covers.
“Guten Morgen Kashi”, exemplified the extent of my Germanic vocabulary, stuttered out of my mouth. I have been lightly chastised for not expanding my Deutsch verbiage, but I align it to trying to teach a fish to fly. In all likelihood, my bi-lingual mastery will not happen in this lifetime as is for most Americans. Europeans must frown upon our lack of communication skills beyond our borders.
The day’s plan had yet to be discussed, whether to move forward or to remain in Logrono as a rest day for Kashi. A country boy at heart, he desired to press on beyond the city limits. I concurred. Accompanied now with an ally that prefers a slow start to the day, we leisurely packed and departed from our quaint hotel. The path leading out of Logrono stuck close to the road, so it took some time to actually arrive at greener fields.
En route out of Logrono a supermarket stop was made. Enjoying the flexible options that picnicking provided, provisions were procured. Gratefully, Kashi proffered to serve as porter of the food bag, which also included items that I had been lugging around. My pack was already a kilo or two lighter with this kilo- portaging kindness.
My Camino was about to change. Camino wisdom whispered that the pilgrimage should be done for oneself, not another. How could one fully respect this implicit soul searching rule while traveling with another? My people pleasing, caretaking personality was about to be challenged in respect to this pearl of Camino wisdom. We sauntered through the day. No destination set.
A coffee stop was made in Ventosa, a quaint village that diverted off the Camino. Decision made to call it a day and find a bed for the night. The options were few as I walked through the village making inquiries. The bonus of two travelers is one sits with the packs while the other forages. Unfortunately, our slowed pace for the day left us without an option in Ventosa. Rooms were completo. Our coffee stop now evolved into a wine stop as we fortified ourselves for our next option, ten kilometers down the road. We had time to hopefully arrive before sunset.
Singing helps at these times. In fact, 10 minutes of singing a day is said to reduce stress and clears sinuses. Assured that Kashi would enjoy songs from the Austrian story that evolved into the Hollywood movie, ‘Sound of Music’, a few bars were belted out. If only he had worn his lederhosen, (traditional leather breeches worn in Germany and Austria) we would be in the running for a film remake.
On arrival to Najera, my friend, “Eagle Scout” from the Pyrenees Crossing was hanging outside one of the hostels in town. Interested in catching up on our Caminos, home for the night was decided upon. Informed where the supermarket was we hurried there before closing time, as Europeans don’t believe in 24/7 store hours.
While stirring up a lentil concoction on the hostel two burner stove, we swapped stories. Eagle Scout was suffering from fairly severe, painful foot blisters. He was washing down the pain with the 1 Euro box of vino tinto sitting in front of him. At this moment he was feeling no pain. The Polish hosteller from the Logrono hostel joined in the conversation with his low, slightly grumbling voice. The gathering felt like home with Kashi and a few familiar faces.
Truly one of the beautiful things about traveling is how quickly friendly bonds form.