Tuesday 2nd April 2013

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

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Where I stayed
A massive hostel full of Spanish tourists

Flag of Spain  , La Rioja,
Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The rain from the night before has now stopped.   Its very sunny and feels good to get a bit of sun on my old bones.  We have a lovely breakfast and start the walk.  I realized my camera battery is dead, it has a battery saving mode so I do not know what is wrong as I charged it the night before.  I will charge it again then look for another camera if the problem persists.
The rolling hills are now changing from the vines of Rioja to wheat fields.  Its very green and looks just like England.  The clearer days have finally shown the beauty of this fantastic country.  However we can see clouds with rain falling in the distance.  The clouds touch the mountains, its hard to see where the earth stops and sky begins.  Laura has blisters and is in great pain from her foot but even she is struck by the beauty of it all. 
We come to a town built around a golf course.  Its time for first lunch and refreshment!  The Golf club bar is on the edge of town and is full of walkers not golfers.   We run into some Italians having a glass of red wine.  They are my age, as nearly all of the walkers seem to be now as the younger ones are heading home after the Easter break.  The Italians do not speak English but tell me I should be drinking the red wine, not the beer, as its good fuel!  I like the Italian Camino, it also seems a very refreshing way to do it.  Laura's is in a bad way now so takes a taxi to the next stop, so Sabina and I walk on.  The town around the golf club is deserted.  Its all new blocks of flats that are up for sale.  Its obvious that its some sort of development that has gone wrong with the economic downturn.  Its really eerie and feels like the end of the world, I wish I could have photograph it.
We arrive at the hostel in a lovely old town.  The hostel is a new one that has been made from knocking three old ones together.  It has about 270 beds in dozens of rooms over three floors.  Its full of Spanish holiday makers.  It does not charge but takes a donation of a few Euros, I suspect its used as cheap accommodation by the Spanish.  We run into an old friend Eve, he is a Swiss guy who has an easy charm and is fluent in several languages.  He talks to everyone and is known to all on the route.  He wears only sandals, as he damaged his foot on the first day up the mountain from France.  He waddles like a duck when he walks, it would be comical if it was not for his pain which we all share now as his friends.
We try to get an early dinner but the restaurants do not open till 8 at the earliest, which is crazy as we have to be in by 10 and they do a 3 course Pilgrim menu that takes hours to serve!  We find a place to eat but it has only Spanish menus.  We are not sure of any of the food so order 3 of each course and hope for the best.  Its not bad and only 12 Euros but we only just get back to the hostel by 10.  I am tired so go straight to bed but a woken around two by the bloody snoring even with ear plugs.  The Spanish have partied hard and are snoring harder, I never thought I would say it but come back the Germans!
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