Update from August 29. Surprise! We woke up to cooler and breezy weather, again left in the dark, and easily walked to our next destination, Logrono, the bustling and modern capital of the province, La Rioja.
Graffiti and street art are all over the Camino, a mix of creative, artistic, political and occasionally offensive and disturbing. I am an outsider and don’t know the political meanings of much of the graffiti I pass. This is one of the voices on the Camino. I am a witness and a guest, as well as a peregrina. I did not paint my name on the wall, but IRENE is the name of a Saint, a town St. Irene and also means PEACE in Greek. I posed in front of Graffitied “Irene” in many places on the Camino.
We walked over a long bridge to Old Town and our accommodations. Logrono is a university city with a population of 155,000, the capital of La Rioja, a wine-growing region, and a blend of medieval and modern.
We found our hostel, Hostel Los Entresuenos, that is open to the public. Peregrinos are charged significantly lower prices. Lots of Spanish tourists stay here. I wanted a private room, but the dorm was 10 euros and the single 40 euros, so this was my choice.
I wanted to research when and how I would take off on my own and walked from the charming old town into a very busy and modern city. After days in small villages and quiet trails, I was shocked by the noise and traffic. First I walked to the bus station, asking for directions along the way, and found out that I would have to take multiple buses to get to Sarria or any stages before. Then, on the edge of the city, I walked to the modern train station and an offer of a bargain train fare, if I bought the ticket right now. I took out my credit card and again the Camino Provided. I was taking another step out of my comfort zone of walking with a friend to walking solo, and that would begin now.
Walking back to my hostel, I noticed many Lottery Booths and stores here, as in squares and shopping districts in the towns and cities we had visited. Is this a sign? How people take chances in different ways? I don’t know.
Craig and I shared a special meal at the highly recommended Cafe Moderno, our celebratory dinner together before we each embarked on our separate Caminos. Kudos for the good service, but food not that great. Of course we were already on our own Caminos, from the day this journey entered our soul, way before we purchased tickets in the states.
So today turned out to be the day that Irenie and Craig made plans to walk different stages of the Camino. I think I surprised Craig and myself by buying the ticket and not waiting another day or two, but there are limited places to take trains and I might have had to wait much longer than planned, so this was adios for this part of my Camino. Craig will continue on his way to Santiago through the stages.
As preplanned at the beginning of our Camino, tomorrow, (or the next day) after a 1:00 am TrenHotel train to Sarria, I hope to begin the last stages, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 and 33, possibly splitting stages to arrive in Santiago and stand in line for my Compostela. Then I hope to visit and hike in Muxia and Finisterre, I love the sea and Finisterre, The End of the World, is on my Camino map before I return home.
I arrived at midnight for the 1:00 a.m. train and was alone in the huge station with only the security guard. It was a little spooky, in the dim light with echoing train music from the tracks below. Less anxious passengers began arriving at 12:45 p.m.
To continue following Craig’s Camino, check out his posts on Facebook. I am editing this a day or two after writing and I already miss Craig. We planned for a year to share some of the pilgrimage and began with St. Jean Pied de Port, then the hike over the Pyrenees and stages 1-7 of the 33. It’s a long journey. How special to be watching out for each other. We will continue to call and text and share our experiences and concerns while away from home.
And so Part 2 of the adventure begins. Buen Camino and Ultreia, to my amigo, Craig.