Day 8 - Logrono rest day

Trip Start Sep 03, 2012
Trip End Oct 07, 2012

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Flag of Spain  , La Rioja,
Sunday, September 9, 2012

New and deserved rest day at Logrono. The first night had not been programmed but it was imposed after the Villamajor "fiasco". The second night had been booked before I started the Camino, and I really didn't feel like missing out in the luxuries of the city, as well as in the comfort of my own room with a queen sized bed.

As the check out from the first hotel was not until noon, I didn't set any alarm clock and made sure there was absolute darkness. There had been noise in the pedestrian street until at least 2am.

I was on a third floor with double glazed windows shut, but you could still hear the locals enjoying the terraces. Also typically Spanish, young children were running around and shouting until their parents took them home (well after midnight).

I guess it was better than the Danish woman snoring. In any case, my body shut down and I didn't wake up until 10am. I jumped out of bed, stretched and shouted "tapas!!!".

I didn't have to walk far, as basically Logrono has a long series of businesses that have collapsed (fruit shops, clothes, etc), but there was a terrace or bar every five metres.
Each one was reasonably full of people (Crisis...what Crisis?).

I had the breakfast menu: coffee, orange juice (the real one and not that commercial stuff), and a huge piece of tortilla with what probably was half a loaf of bread. 2,70 euros, and given I read the newpaper there (which on Sundays is 2,50 euros), it effectively cost me 20 cents!

The problem with eating so cheap and well, is that you can only do it a limited amount of times each day. Especially with the "smaller" appetite that I have developed with all the walking.

Today was about walking around (yes! Walking during the rest day!) and recovering from some of the blisters to avoid them developing into a real issue.

I checked into the new pension, which was acceptable but smelt badly of cigarettes and had a shared toilet. The latter is no longer a problem as its usually with less than one hundred people!

I put on my flip flops and off I went to the old town. For those who know me, I never wear flip flops when I walk around a city or town. Its simply a risk of getting muck on your feet, or getting trodden on. But my feet needed the oxygen, and the blisters need to stop fighting with the boots.

So flip flopping around Logrono I realised that staying in cities during the weekend was actually a great idea. There is always something going on.

Today I bumped into "La Fiesta del Chorizo" (the chorizo festival), which was only kicking off. The advert however promised "fireworks, local music and general bruhaha" (cohetes, charangas y bullicio generalizado).

While I walked next to the Cathedral I also stumbled into the "Rioja Wine Championship" and the "Regional Red Pepper Tournament" admittedly not the most exciting titles in the calendar, but the main street was packed with locals buying the championship products from the stalls. There was also "general bruhaha" and music!

I finally passed on the way to the tapas area a solidarity NGO festival. They were all promoting their work and selling all sorts of t-shirts, etc. What I found ironic was that they were all showing their good work in Africa, South America and Asia, and, they even had a live radio program on a stage in the middle of the square. However, just behind the radio speaker there was about 20 homeless and drunks lying on benches and under trees.

I tried to have a couple of tapas in the Laurel area but it was simply impossible to move into that area. Families with their children, prams for babies, wheelchairs for the grandparents, it was all fantastically stuffed with Sunday tapas enthusiasts.

I had no alternative but move along and return in the afternoon. Funnily enough I had a bit of a craving for noodles of some sort, or rice. I hadn't had any of those for some time. As I meditated about what to eat and where, it started raining...after a whole week of heat, finally!

Just in the right place and the right time...I came across a Chinese restaurant! Not your usual tapas place, but I still have well over a month to keep trying them. I satisfied my craving with fried noodles, kuda three pleasures (their translation, not mine!) and a spring roll.

With the city humid after the rain, I forced myself to a good old siesta in the pension. I did try to sit down for a coffee in one of the terraces but there was simply no free tables, or tranquility.

I did manage to buy some fruit, a ham and cheese roll and some fruit juice for the early rise tomorrow. Thanks to the arab shops that is, as there were plenty of corner shops open but all the Spanish ones were closed (Sunday). Yes...they did sell ham. Well spotted!

I did make it for a final round of tapas after my siesta, and I wish I could translate their contents, but all I can say is that they were delicious!

Back to the room where I finally could lie down and read without interruption by other pilgrims. As I mentioned before, I have four books in the electronic memory of the Kindle, so depending on my humour (good, better, comedian) I read one or the other. I'm quite enjoying one called "Spanish Steps" written by an English chap who walked the Camino with a donkey. I only read up to the point where he is where I am, which is great and confirms in some cases that "I'm not the only idiot that took the wrong turn".

These days off also give me the extra time to write down a few of the events that happened and which I had not been able to include in the previous days.

The one I remembered today was from the Pilgrim Dinner at Roncesvalles (the only one I have taken, and probably the last one as it wasn't really up to scratch). It was eight of us at the table, four Swedes, one drunk Welshman, an Italian, a Dutch chap and myself. After all the formalities and chit-chat, the Dutch guy asked the Swedish man, that was sitting next to me, why he was walking the Camino.

The Swede replied that he had holidays as he was changing his civil servant job fron the environmental department of one large town, to the division in another one. So he had one month of holidays which his wife didn't.

The Dutchman banged on the table and said "Me too!". He had been made redundant and had one month holiday before his last day in the office. He had also divorced recently so he was looking for some time out.

I had to spoil it for them when I raised my hand and told them I was also changing jobs, but that I was enjoying the last of the six months paid leave, and that I was happily married.

Apart from the comparisons, it was a huge coincidence that three out of eight people on the table were on leave of some sort. I guess that for such a long walk you are either retired, on leave, or a student.
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