Saturday 30th March ,2013.

Trip Start Mar 23, 2013
Trip End May 05, 2013

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A Hotel at last....

Flag of Spain  , La Rioja,
Saturday, March 30, 2013

I am now in much pain with my ankle, knee and hip so I paid 6 Euros to ship on my bag to the Hostel in Lograno.  There is a business that takes bags between hostels for the old, lame and lazy, sadly I am now lame and its a 30 km walk that I could not make with a pack in the pouring rain. 
The weather has been bad for much of the week.  Every river has overflown its banks and the pathways terribly muddy.  The next thirty Km are very hard, even with second and third breakfast I am in great pain.  Eventually we stop in a town called Viana for lunch.  We end up in a cafe with loads of other walkers, we would have missed it if a kind Welshmen had not come running after us as we started going the wrong way.  You did not know the other walkers but there was now a bond that made you help any you could. A lovely English lady called Nikki came into the bar and told everyone about a Pharmacy that had strapped up her ankle.  I popped over there and joined the que of walkers getting strapped up.  The Pharmacy had one wall dedicated to blister plasters and various joint supports, the kind Pharmacist administered to us all and I am sure got very rich for her efforts but greatly deserved it!  I think well over half the walkers were now strapped up or had bad blisters, the muddy tracks and hilly terrain really takes it toll. 
We stop for lunch on a hay bale that we share with an American couple.  Sabina and I notice a smell but say nothing, we are looking around and so are the Americans.  We all think that someone had farted but realised it was a dung heap behind the hale bale.  We laughed and then chatted like long lost friends for ages, I started to understand why they call it the way
We walked on but the weather was terrible, we walked the last 10 Km in the fiercest rain that filled our boots with water.  We met an American mother and daughter on the way, they were charming and commented on the lovely weather.  I was soaked through to my underwear and said so, they laughed and said it was too much information but admitted they were as well!  We looked a really sorry sight!
On arriving in Lograno the rain had stopped.  I had to go to the Hostel with Sabina to collect my bag, then onto the hotel to meet Ian.  It was lovely to see a familiar face, even if it was only Ian!  He had been joking about me taking a donkey to carry my bag.  As my birthday present he had bought me a blow up donkey?  He named it oaty, Donkey-oaty!
Anyway, the Saturday night was very refreshing as Logrono is the capital of the Rioja wine region.  There is a few streets behind the Cathedral with 20 tapas bars.  Each has slightly different tapas and seems to specialize in wines, beers or the odd cider bar.   There is a cider region to the west, Ian tells me its very good cider but tastes so dry its appalling.  I love the white Rioja and even Ian admits its good.  We bump into two very pretty Spanish sisters who I had met on the walk. They had met up with their Father and a few of his friends for a vino or three.  They were amazed I was drinking white wine, they were from Rioja but had never tried it.  They also admitted it was very good but still could not see the point of white wine when the red was so full bodied.  The Father insisted on buying us a drink, it was the typical kindness and hospitality I had come to love.
The bars serve you a small glass of wine for about a Euro.  Therefore you just have one and move onto the next bar and try some more Tapas.  I don't believe we went through the whole 200 bars in our two nights in Logrono, but we gave it our best shot.  I will definitely return to this very unspoilt Spanish city with its wonderful Rioja.......
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