My evening at albergue Santiago apostle in Logrono – Bedbugs, ok, scratchy, creepy and bitey, but OK, I can handle it. Cockroaches, pretty gross, but OK, not like I’m afraid of those critters living in Barcelona as I do. Drunken, screaming Irish women at 2am, like I say, I live in Barcelona so, par for the course. But what I couldn’t cope with, was the never ending, pneumatic drill volume, boorish snoring of the 20 stone Spaniard whose bunk was one foot from mine last night. I’d yet to encounter a heavy snorer, but judging by the amount of people sat up in their bunks clutching their heads and rocking back and forth or reading their Iphones, nobody had encountered a snorer quite like this.
By 3am, I’d had enough, I’d enjoyed not one wink of sleep so I picked up my belongings, hurriedly put together my rucksack, sleeping bag and poles and marched out into the night of Logrono, preferring a park bench to the animal house if needs be.
They say, ‘the camino provides’, so I was confident I’d find somewhere better to sleep. So of course, as I’m on camino, the first hotel I came to, not 50 steps from the albergue had one room left at a ridiculously low price. I immediately took the room and made my way to my cool, peaceful, clean private room to catch 4 hours shut eye.
Lack of sleep makes me very sad. Weeping sad! End of the world sad!! And I feared a full days walk on so little sleep and what it may do to my temperament. Upon closing my eyes in my camino provided hotel room I was already contemplating a rest day in Logrono, when I woke, the decision was made for me.
My ankle, said the pharmacist this morning, was incredibly swollen and she had to break out the XL ankle brace. I asked her if I’d be fine to walk tomorrow and she gave a hearty chuckle. When she realised I was serious she said it would be fine but as soon as I felt pain to stop. The heat rash on both legs is now the least of my worries.There are worse places to spend laid up on a Saturday rest day on El camino than Logrono, even if I do feel fat, bored and chomping at the bit to walk on.
Logrono is a fine Spanish city. A foodie haven and home to the wines of Rioja and a burgeoning gourmet (part Basque-part Spanish inspired) scene. I partook liberally of its hospitality at both breakfast and lunch but have sworn myself to a salad dinner or I’ll gain every pound back lost on camino.The cathedral of Logrono has such a beautiful and peaceful interior that it moved me to prayer (which is not a natural act for me), kneeling at the front of the church, I was amazed to find that when I arose, most of the pain in my ankle had fallen away. I did not pray for healing, only in thanks for the incredible journey so far and to give thanks for how far this body has taken me and how, whenever there has been a fundamental need, for sleep or for water, help has always come. I can still feel the clicking of the ligaments, but the pain, for the moment, has lifted.
Im booked into a different Logrono hotel this evening, with a gym and pool so at least I can move the parts of me that aren’t busted up. I pray that I’ll be well enough tomorrow to make a short (and slow) 20km walk to Ventosa, but, if that fails, Navarette is only 8km down the road.
Camino Do’s & Dont’s
Do share food and medicine. It’s amazing how often good deeds come back to you when you’re in need. Many pilgrims are here on a very limited budget, help them out where you can.
Do take the time to walk alone but accept company when it comes. You never know what you might learn.
Do use sunscreen! Tape your feet, stop the moment anything hurts, thread blisters, compeed hotspots, change socks and air your feet every 5kms or so. Treat your feet well. Take your time over loose ground, the stones down from Alto de Perdon are the likely culprits of my sprained ankle.
Try to keep up with those much younger and fitter with stricter timetables because you enjoy the company of your new camino family. I walked 4 days with Jana and Ceasar but had to let them go here in Logrono. Both had to get to Santiago by a set date, Im fortunate to have no such pressure and while I enjoyed their company, it’s now time for new friends from Logrono to Burgos. Or not. Let’s see.
Make a racket or turn lights on in the albergue because you want to leave early. Put everything together before you go to bed and take everything out to the hall or bathroom and get dressed there.
Take the first albergue you see. Im particularly sensitive to the heat and do not enjoy albergues with no window or a/c. Check out the conditions for your own needs firstly rather than take the first one you see just because you’re tired. You already walked 30k, whats 100 meters for a peaceful night?