Camino de Santiago Day 7:
Los Arcos to Logroño
Anna’s last day of walking was our longest day yet.
A bit daunted by the distance, we decided to get up and hike in the dark.
We left at 6:15, after downing a cup of coffee and some toast at La Casa de La Abuela.
Because we were leaving from a smaller town, I was surprised by how very dark it was.
And once we got to the edge of town, we couldn’t really see at all. We used the phone flashlight for the better part of half an hour.
I’m really not a fan of hiking in the dark, so it was a good reminder to me that I would rather plan for shorter days if I feel like a longer one is going to require night walking.
Fortunately the path was flat and wide leaving Los Arcos, and we appreciated the cool air. We were imagining those who had gone on and done this stretch in the previous day’s afternoon sun. Yikes.
Streaks of light started to break through the clouds behind us as we walked.
By 7 we could see enough that Anna spotted a turn we nearly missed.
How sad it would be to get up so early and then to get lost.
We moved fast through the early morning. Partly because we couldn’t see much and partly because we were just sleepily marching on.
It seemed like everyone else was out early as well. We passed some folks while others passed us.
Our Scottish friends always start later but walk so much faster, but then there are others who start earlier than us but we catch up to them.
A full week into the Camino, everyone seemed to have found their rhythm.
We passed through a couple of smaller villages, but we were trying not to stop much in order to keep up our pace.
I love every part of a day on the Camino.
But maybe the morning light is my favorite.
I love how it paints the world shades of orange and yellow.
We did continue to stop for blackberries of course.
We picked them every day, especially in the morning.
And we took a quick break at a man’s forest table for a banana and hard-boiled egg.
My dad is the king of hard boiled eggs and so we said how we could imagine him here setting up a table for hikers with exactly what this man had on offer.
A few snacks.
Chairs to sit down in.
And an encouraging word.
We continued on through more vineyards and olive groves.
So so beautiful!
I took MANY vineyard photos as we passed officially into Rioja land this day.
People kept asking Anna if she was sad to leave.
So many folks are here for over a month walking the entire Camino. It can take close to 40 days if you add rest days, which you might want if you’re hiking 500 miles.
Of course she would have loved to walk further but since she already had her head around getting home, she was ready to go.
And I was trying to soak up the day knowing I would miss her when she left.
But I think mostly we were both just feeling grateful.
The gifts of a week of walking together had been MANY.
And it’s always special for me to share the Camino with someone I love and for them to love it too.
It didn’t hurt that we were really fortunate with weather. (I’ll take the heat over freezing rain any day.)
We made it to Viana before 11 thanks to waking up at dark-thirty.
The Way goes right down the middle of the town, so you run into anyone else who has stopped.
We ordered iced coffees and sandwiches.
Then we even took off our shoes and put our feet up a while.
Some folks hang sandals or flip flops on their packs and change into them at every stop to give their feet a break.
But sometimes when I take my boots off, it’s hard to put them back on my now swollen feet.
We had just over 9 km left to Logroño. They were a bit of a slog after the 19 we’d already done, but if course we eventually made it.
The outskirts of Logroño had some city bike paths and gardens.
There was a display of ‘Camino roses.’ Apparently the Camino has its own rose.
We reached the old town right at 1pm.
I was feeling super proud. We made it through the first stage of this Camino.
We went to the cathedral. I lit a candle in gratitude for the journey.
The last time I was here, the church was covered in scaffolding so it was fun to see it unveiled in all its glory.
Then we had a bit of a hike to our hotel. I had booked us near the bus station because I was taking a bus at a crazy time.
But that meant we still had a bit of a haul after the church. We made it though!
We rested and got cleaned up. Then we headed straight for the best gelato in town.
Anna had mojito and mango. The mojito even had little bits of mint in it. I had a super unique fennel almond flavor that was actually really delicious.
After gelato, we found some lunch and Rioja wine, of course. We sat outside at a table in the middle of everything. It was harder to spot the pilgrims in the sea of city folks but there are a few tells.
Then we went back to our room so Anna could take her Covid test in order to fly out the next day.
She got her negative results and we went back out to meet friends for drinks and some dinner. We had pintxos and more wine.
Pintxos are little plates. We had tuna and calamari. Olives and peppers. Something with figs. Tiny thimbles of soup.
It was all lovely. And we sat laughing and talking until almost midnight.
Then we all said our goodbyes and Anna and I went back and packed up. I rested my eyes for about an hour before telling Anna goodbye and heading for my overnight bus. The next day I’d be starting Stage 2 of my Camino journey.
It’s easier to say goodbye at 2am. No tears at that hour. And of course I’ll see Anna again when I go home in a couple of weeks.
But it’s goodbye to this sweet week of taking a long-dreamed of journey together. It will remain with me for always.
If you’re following along on our Camino journey, I would love for you to consider giving to the Move for Peace. Read more about that here.