Day 7 : Los Arcos to Logrono

Steve : Today is the first of two long (c 30km) days, back to back.

Paul Simon once wrote “I can gather all the news I need from the weather report”. The Camino is one place where that is true.

Thunderstorms were predicted and the sky looked like something from the ‘Twister’ movie.  Beautiful and deeply threatening.

We left Los Arcos and headed west…

Thunderclouds to the east. Thunderclouds to the south. Thunderclouds to the west. But blue sky above us, which is what matters as we still haven’t got any raincoats.

We strode out at a good pace. H has a new app that tells us that we’re averaging over 5km an hour. And, without wishing to brag (ok, allow me to brag a little) we were not overtaken once on this particular day.

20km of walking found us in Viana, another simply beautiful Spanish hilltop town. An early lunch of goat’s cheese salad and we were off again, 10km still to go.

The walk into Logrono took us through the outskirts of town, something most people zoom through in their car.  This hinterland between the picture perfect country side and the ancient medieval town centres has become a common feature.  Let’s just say they are never the favourite part of the day’s walk.

We arrived in Logrono and went for a wander to find raincoats and a cheap bag for us to fill with all our rubbish that we want to forward.  That done, plus some ice-cream and a visit to a rather splendid photography exhibition about Chicago.  We were overwhelmed with the visuals of Spain and now we were immersed in Chicago for an hour.  Surreal…

Donativo, with church on right.

Today we booked into a donativo. These albergues are free and are run, usually, by the Catholic church as a service to the pelegrinos. There is a rather different ethos to these places.  There is a simple communal meal for dinner and for breakfast the following morning. Today was a vat of pasta and tomato with salad and red wine for the 25 or so pilgrims. The priests welcome us, offer a grace and help get the conversation going. Sitting around us were Mexicans, Germans, French, Koreans and Bulgarians.

After dinner and a communal washing-up (where we fought to help) …

…the priest led us through some tunnels under the ancient donativo building into the equally ancient church.  We crept through the huge dark sanctuary into a back room. There we had a short service of blessing and he stamped our pilgrim ‘passport’ with the official albergue stamp.

Service and stamping. Priest at the back centre in red.

As you’d expect by the name, donativos, are kept going by donations.  But at no point did anyone even mention money.  As we were leaving the next day I had to hunt down the donations box.  And when I found it, it was open, with money in it and was just sitting there.  As I’ve said already the Camino does things to your sense of honesty.  Good things!

I think the donativos are the best albergues.  They preserve the original intent of the Camino.  This is supposed to be a pilgrimage, and a pilgrimage isn’t just a long walk. You are supposed to think about life, the universe and, indeed, everything.  Even if all you can really think about is how much your feet hurt…

A good, if immensely tiring, day.

A postscript.  Some quality graffiti in Logrono

Day 7 : Stats

Los Arcos to Logrono

  • Steps 43,748
  • Distance covered, according to Brierley
    • 27.8 km direct, 29.3 km actual walking
    • 615.6 km to go
  • Other Fitbit stats
    • 39.4 km walked (based on 0.9m stride length)
    • 385 ‘active’ minutes
    • 5,538 cals burned