Singin’ in the rain …

I’m singing in the rain
Just singing in the rain
What a glorious feelin’
I’m happy again
– Gene Kelly, 1952

Camino Day 7, Sabado 12th September. 163 klms. Muy largo day today. Muy muy actually. 28 klms. Rain, cloud, sunshine.

My closing comment yesterday was that our accommodation yesterday was not my most inspired choice. And so indeed it turned out to be. The room itself was more than adequate; it’s just that it was a 2klm walk out of town on a trucking route with no/minimal footpaths. Which of course we had to either repeat in the dark this morning or somehow get the hotel man (who was also the service station attendant – did I mention that the hotel was at a roadhouse on a major trucking route??) to organise a lift into town. Anyway, eventually that came to pass and we headed into town for breakfast – café con leche y tortillas would you believe? So, after that ever so slightly bumpy start we hit the road at 7:55 am.

And then came the rain. Not heavy, and not all that unpleasant, so indeed there was some singin’ in the rain. And then the rain stopped and the humidity went to about 500%, where it stayed for much of the day. Did I mention it was a very long day? Actually, apart from the last 5 klms or so into Logrono it wasn’t too bad. Just long – we eventually got into our hotel here around 5pm.

The Gene Kelly movie was made in the year of my birth, and that little anniversary ticks over again next week just by coincidence. (And that day, just for fun, is a 29klm day.)

But we’re softies actually. We talked briefly to a Canadian bloke who walked 42klms yesterday, and because of apparent accommodation shortage here in Logrono was needing to do the same again today. And then a Kiwi bloke who’d walked 46 klms yesterday. And these were blokes a bit older than me I’d guess. Maybe as you get older got get even crazier!

Our first stop was the town of Sansol, 7 klms out of Los Arcos. Here’s the road to Sansol, with it and its sister town Torres del Rio just visible in the distance on the left.
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After coffee #2 for the morning at the lovely little albergue Sansol, we headed for Viana, some 12 klms away. We passed through but didn’t stop at the neighbouring (to Sansol) town of Torres del Rio and its 12th century church associated with the Knights Templar. A bit of research needed here.
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Unknown to us we were about to stumble unwittingly into day 1 of the Fiestas de la Virgen Nieva at Viana. As we approached the town, maybe a kilometre or so out, we heard a very loud bang. Like a very loud gun, or even a cannon. And shortly after a few more. They kept happening, and at last I saw small flashes of light in the sky followed by the bang a few seconds later. They weren’t normal fireworks, and I thought that they may have been flares, but there was no smoke trail to speak of. This continued for a while, and by now we were in the outskirts of the town. And then it dawned that something communal was happening, as firstly a few, then dozens, of young people were everywhere fully dressed in white with red scarves or bandanas. And as we turned the corner into the main street, Calle San Pedro, all of a sudden there were hundreds of people, nearly all dressed in costume. And then we saw that there were big heads and giants too, and a small brass band. It’s had to tell, but this long street must have had several thousand people in it, all enjoying the Fiesta. And the cafés and bars were doing a roaring trade. We were always planning to find a quiet park in Viana to sit and enjoy our lunch of bread and sardines and the last remaining pimiento from the fields a couple of days earlier. Instead we chanced upon a table full of people were knew, so took the opportunity to sit and chat with then for a while in the midst of the mayhem. It was all very special.

We eventually made our leave (we still had some 9 klms to go). Then we chanced upon the gardens in the ruins of the old church of San Pedro, so we had now found our peaceful spot for our lunch on the run. All up the whole Viana experience was quite wonderful. Some photos follow.
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But after all the fun and frivolity, the reality of a further almost 3 hours on the road struck. We got into Logrono around 5pm, by that stage walking pretty slowly, and I’d changed out of my boots and into my sandals for the last kilometre or so. Nothing all that outstanding along the way; a few interesting signs and murals.
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After a bit of a freshen up it was party time. The Logronons certainly know how to party. We had arranged to meet some others at 7:30 for a meal, and found the chosen place. The street was large deserted, and the place was closed. So we decamped to a nearby bar. And then over only 30 minutes the whole area transformed. Thousands of people arrived for drinks and pintxos. The mushrooms were a favourite, but I’ll let the pictures tell the story:
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The last is a group selfie of our party mob: me, Rich (US), Clare (UK), Patty (US), Janet, Steve (UK, and whose son lives in Dunsborough!) and Veronica (Perth). Amazing that we’d not met any of these people before just a few days ago, and as 3 of them are continuing walking tomorrow (we have a rest day), may never see them again. But in this electronic world, email addresses, blog and FB pages have been shared.

Lovely hotel not far from the centre of the old town. I like the little I have seen of Logrono so far. Rest, washing and exploring day tomorrow Logrono marathon is being run.

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