Day 9 (to Ventosa): On The Road Again

I hit the road at 6:20. Mick and a …

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Spanish guy with a bike are slightly ahead. But by the time I’ve gone out the door, I saw them returning and reporting the lack of yellow arrows. I convinced them we are on the right track and sure enough we spotted the arrows soon. For the next half an hour or so I’m tossing “mira” back and forth with the Spaniard (mira means look! in Spanish) pointing yellow arrows showing the route, in pale dawn light.

The streets are empty as the city slowly awakens. As we exit the city other peregrinos are slowly catching up.
My feet don’t feel rested this morning, in fact they feel almost as tired as yesterday afternoon, so again I’m wagging like a duck. And in the nearby park I hit on some actual ducks and swans. I throw them some old bread. Swans don’t pay any attention to it unless you throw it right in front of their beak but ducks … they zero in on bread like torpedo boats.

Onwards I go …  I can’t seem to shake this city loose … no end in sight. After a while come across a paved promenade with benches every few hundred meters and with first joggers of the morning . Uh … its easy to run when you aren’t carrying a backpack. As the promenade ends I finally I leave Logrono behind me.

A small forest beckons ahead, and around I first corner a Dutch lady and a German guy catch up. The German’s mother is from Croatia … small world.
A clearing comes up with a small shrine and a funny looking statue … at first glance it looks like some Aztec figurine.

The path winds around a lake and lots of people are pole fishing, lined up along the shore. A kind of picnic area comes up next where a kid is unsuccessfully chasing a squirrel. A German girl is going the opposite way … she isn’t lost but going back home. For her it was a hiking holiday … Santiago is not her thing.

I am getting slower and slower, so I take another break, combined with a foot massage. I re-tied my shoelaces to reduce the pressure a bit, and I feel better already.

The path winds through the vineyards.
A group of cyclists passes me by, followed by two Austrian ladies from Salzburg.
Then another wire fence decorated with small crosses made of wood.
Then a hill with a large statue of a bull.
Then its through the vineyards again.

Then I finally reach Navarette. Although its only 10,30 my feet are engaged in serious protest. After a resupply at the small supermarket and a longer snack break I decide on continuing onwards. The way out of town is marked by yellow shells on the buildings.

Here come the vineyards … again.
A Dutch couple from diner a few days ago passes me by.
I chat a bit with a German couple from nearby Stuttgart who initially confused me for a German.

Its been cloudy all day and now a few raindrops make their appearance. By the time I took out my raincoat it started pouring. Fortunately it didn’t last long.  Megi catches up in a while and tells me its another 4 km to Ventosa. Hmmm … I must have missed that small town that is supposed to be in between. Well … if its only 4 km … what’s that but a tiny pebble of eternity.
Here comes a familiar finale … you see a town in a distance … it seems soooo close … and it feels like its taking forever to get there. You walk for ages until you finally reaching the albergue door.
Which appears to be closed.
But not for long … by the time I started to join the Dutch couple sitting on small wall, the hospitalero opened the door to paradise … a place with chairs where you can take of your boots … indescribable pleasure.

After a now familiar routine which includes showering and laundry. I figure out the nature of the problem with my feet. (It took me another week more to figure out the solution, but hey … every problem-solving starts with a first step).  My left ankle is quite swollen, that’s why my feet have been protesting so much. After a good soaking of my feet in cold water and applying compress bandage I feel a bit better.
As we rest in the albergue courtyard Koreans girls are surprised at my blister-free feet … both Ginny and her friend have their feet bandaged like a mummy.

Returning to my bed, I just started to realign myself to a horizontal position when I hear a voice calling my name … the Brazilians have arrived.

As the albergue slowly fills up, I go outside looking for a place to eat. The first bar is not too far. Caesar salad, veal with french fries and pudding. My dinner companions are Koreans and Louis the Frenchman who is camping the Camino. Koreans are attempting to teach me their names … which I promptly forgot … and a few words in Korean … likewise.

That was day no. 9.