It was a long long walk leaving the city (Logrono) Through the centre, then the’burbs. It was just getting light when, at the edge of town, the route took me through a park. There was a fountain there with the strangest sign. “Don’t clean fish” Wha…? I didn’t have any dirty fish to wash so I just refilled my two water bottles.
Ten minutes later I came across a cafe in a big recreational building just opening for the day. It’s about 7.00. Great. Coffee. I was the first customer. When the waiter brought it I couldn’t resist. ‘Is there anywhere nearby I can wash my fish,’ I asked
‘Que?’ said the waiter, looking a little puzzled.
‘I have some fish I need to wash. Is there somewhere I can do that?’
He stared at me. ‘No entiendo.’ he said, meaning he didn’t understand. Weird that, as I had asked the question in Spanish. He understood all right, he just didn’t want to be involved with a nutcase this early. I left it.
I was joined from the trail by Evelyn (Ireland)
‘I hope you have no fish to wash’ I said, and showed her a picture of the sign. She confirmed that she was fishless and we finished our coffee and left the waiter with a story to tell over dinner. The fast moving Evelyn was too much for me and I fell behind at the first uphill section. It was a long walk to Navarrete where I finally got some breakfast. It was a nice town with an interesting old centre. As I sat outside of one of the many cafes a lot of my camino ‘family’ rolled in and by.
That’s the thing about this undertaking. You’re all like slow moving traffic on a busy motorway. You see someone you know, lose them for a while and then catch up again. Some gain a full day on you and some fall behind a full day, but the majority you will meet again and again.
Eventually I got to Najere, kind of on schedule. I headed for the tourist information office. It was well signposted. Five or six signs led me through the town to a … carpark. The carpark had a sign proclaiming. “Tourist Information” but that’s all it was. A sign. No office. Nothing. Nada. I asked a local, who sent me to the bus station where the tourist office was. He was unable to say why the signs led me up the garden path, only that the signs had always been there, and the office never had been.
When I told the woman in the tourist info office of my discovery she was uninterested and just shrugged. ‘Ayuntamiento’ ( the local council). Great that had just put another kilometer on my day. She was also uninterested in recommending an albergue for me so I settled for a map with available accommodation marked on it.
I picked a random one overlooking the river. Beautifully appointed lobby/lounge but overcrowded bunk rooms. To find my allotted space I went through a room of 10 bunks, then a room of 8 to my room of only four. Man it was tiny. No window, triangular shaped and four spaces where even with one bed it would have been crowded. An earlier arrival was fruitlessly trying to change his shoes. No chance. It would have been easier in a sack. You would have to leave the room to change your mind let alone your shoes.
I dumped my stuff and got changed. No shower or shave. My German buddy Rhino was there and ready to go visit the church. He invited me along. He seems to like churches. Not me. More of a bar man. We met up later for dinner. Another pilgrims menu. Eleven euros for three courses and wine. It was ok.
We were back fifteen minutes before lock out. Rhino went to bed and I sat in the lounge. That four person room was going to be a problem. Too claustrophobic. At ten the owner, putting out lights, told me it was time for bed. She was locking up and I had to go. I went upstairs and hung around. The heavy outside door slammed shut. I gave it five and went back down. Luxury. A nice big couch and no neighbours.
People started leaving shortly after 5.00 am. Traipsing right through my lounge! How dare they. I pushed off early too. No choice.
I saw two distance markers today. The second one is apparently further away from Santiago than the first one I saw. Hope I’m going the right way.
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