O.K. Guys: I just read your comments and again they made me smile and LOL. I love reading them and they really do keep me going.
I also need to give a great big “Thank You” to Joanne Joseph and my husband Dick for teaching me this Blog Site. Without Dick teaching me the basics of this program the day before we left, I wouldn’t be writing it. And without Joanne and her patience texting back and forth with me, trying to teach me how to get photos into the Blog, there would be none. Thank you both from the bottom of my heart.
Now about the photo where you said I looked good sitting in that plaza having a glass of wine. I have a confession to make! Remember Day One — that awful day of climbing the Pyrenees. And remember when I said I didn’t bring a hair dryer or curling iron? Well that was true. I didn’t. I thought if we stayed in a hotel with a blow dryer that’s all I would need. But I knew I needed more than just a blow dryer to style my hair, and I knew I had nothing. Well, on that horrible 1st day when I was sitting up at Orisson, waiting 2 hours for Dick to come, I went to throw something in the trash. The trash can was this big barrel outside that was 3/4 full of trash. And low and behold, what to my surprise, sitting right on top of that trash was a round, styling hairbrush that looked brand new. It didn’t even have any hair in it! I didn’t even have to think about it — I grabbed it and shoved it in my backpack and hoped nobody was looking. I was elated, now I could style my hair. Stealing that round brush from the garbage was the best thing I did on Day 1 of trekking. See why?
Trekking Day 8 — Logrono to Najera — 19.5 miles
The sun had not yet come up when Dick walked me out of the hotel and pointed me in the direction of the Camino. It was 6:30 a.m. and I was getting an early start because I knew this would be the longest walk I had ever done — over 19 miles. When I woke up this morning I told Dick I might not make it all the way to Najera and that I would text him if I couldn’t. He had already made reservations there and I would need to tell him to cancel them. What other village we would stay in I didn’t know because they were few and far between on today’s walk.
I’m so glad Dick was taking the bus. He woke up with another ailment this morning — one of his ankles was red and swollen — and he hasn’t even been walking. That, along with his foot and stomach problem means he just keeps getting worse. Last night he ate some chicken wings while I had about a third of a dish of Patatas Bravas and he said the protein made him feel better.
The minute I started walking down the cobblestone alley the Beatles song “Help” popped into my head, especially the part about, “Help me get my feet back on the ground” and then “Won’t you please, please help me…” That has never been one of my favorite songs and if you asked me to sing it right now, I wouldn’t be able to remember the words. But this morning I couldn’t shake it. In fact it played over and over and over in my head all day long until I was a mile away from Najera and then it left.
The alleys were dimly lit and I couldn’t see any familiar Camino Clamshells or yellow arrows so I had to stop people a few times to ask for directions. There were also no other trekkers around and that worried me a little, too. After walking through the city for 2 miles I finally spotted one trekker, then another and another. O.K. now I knew I was on the right track.
The next several miles were beautiful and the walking was easy, on pretty flat terrain. The air was slightly cool but I knew it was going to turn into a really hot day so the one thing I had to be sure of was that I always had plenty of water. I made a quick stop in a bar, refilled my water bottle and then was gone again. I did not want to take time to rest.
It was around 10:30 as I was walking by a church in a little village. The side door was open, which was very unusual because all the churches in other villages had always been locked. It was Monday morning and I had no idea why this door would be open. Although I was raised Catholic I no longer attend church. But for some reason I felt an overwhelming urge to go in. The minute I stepped inside I felt like I was in another realm. It was a huge church and very dark inside. The air was cool with the scent of incense and I was all alone. There was no one else in sight. Coming from somewhere high above were soft, beautiful voices which sounded like a choir of angels singing. I looked toward the alter and even though it was dark inside I could tell that it was ornate with inlaid gold from floor to ceiling. But oddly enough there was a statue of the Virgin Mary that was the only thing lit up in the whole church. The strangest feeling came over me, almost like I wanted to cry so I sat down in one of the pews to compose myself. I could have stayed there all day to soak in more of this serene feeling but I finally had to make myself get up and continue on.
Just after leaving the church I passed by a little cafe and sitting outside on the patio were the people we had met last night — the Canadian couple with the 8 month old baby. They were sitting there having a bite to eat and giving the baby a bottle. Wow, had they ever made good time this morning. If they hadn’t stopped to eat they would have been way ahead of me.
As I was walking along, munching on a little cheese sandwich that I had in my pocket there were these 3 Spanish guys ahead of me. One of them started singing and when I passed them I told them I liked the singing and to sing some more. So they all burst out singing “Cantare.” And for a minute or two I was able to get that Beatles song “Help” out of my mind.
I’d walked about 14 miles, the sun was hot, lots of vineyards, the scenery was beautiful and sweat was dripping into my eyes.
This shows the pretty scenery.
And the not so pretty scenery below.
I stopped in one little spot where there was shade and who should come up behind me but Kristine from Italy (the young girl I had walked out of Pamplona with.) She was still walking with that Italian guy (the guy that dropped the camera). We were happy to see each other and her Italian friend said to me, “Theeese girl, she walk so fast.” I agreed and we all laughed. Then they took off walking down the road hand in hand. Excuse me but I think they had just met a couple days ago. Was this a budding Camino romance in the making?
At 16 miles I was spent, when what should appear in the middle of nowhere but a food cart. Normally I would not have stopped but I was hot and tired so I ordered some orange juice. The guy cut and squeezed the oranges and made the juice in front of me and that little glass of juice was the best thing I had ever tasted. Pure sweet perfection. Somehow I had gotten ahead of Kristine and her new “boyfriend” and they showed up and ordered that nectar of the Gods for themselves. Her boyfriend said, “Theeese ez like an oasis een thee dessert. You don’t believe eet ez here.” Oh, he’s so cute. With that accent who wouldn’t be attracted to him.
Finally “Map my Walk” told me I had walked 19 miles so I knew I was close. My legs were tired, my feet were burning, I was exhausted and couldn’t wait to sit down. At 19.5 miles there was Dick. I had made it all the way to Najera and it had taken about six and a half hours, with about 4, five minute rest stops. I really shouldn’t push myself like this.
I couldn’t wait to get to the hotel Dick had booked but when we got there I realized it was not a hotel, it was an Albergue or Pilgrim Hostel and there was a long line of trekkers waiting outside to get in. I had to take off my shoes upon entering and then we carried our stuff up 2 flights of stairs to a tiny little room with a double bed in it. At least we had a private room, not a room with 60 other people in it. The bathroom was down the hall and shared with four other rooms. I slept for an hour, then when I went to shower I had to make 3 trips from our room to the bathroom because I kept forgetting the things I needed to take in there with me. When I turned the shower water on it was nice and hot. But it was like one of those sink nozzles in public places where you push it and water comes out for a few seconds and then stops. So I just kept pushing the nozzle until I was good and clean.
This place actually had a washer and dryer and I told Dick I wanted to wash “all” of the clothes I had brought with me. Great idea but then what would I wear? We were actually getting hungry and wanted to go out to eat and the washing machine was free. But what would I wear if all of my clothes were being washed? The only solution was to put my pajamas on and off we went. If anyone knew I was wearing PJ’s they never said a word. We each ordered wine and split a slice of lasagne and a small dinner salad at an outdoor cafe by the river.
It was 89 degrees and I was so relieved to be here, even if I was dining in pajamas.
Sent from Karen’s iPad