Thursday, November 5, 2009

Logrono to Najera

Boot success this morning Frances got her perfect boots-and they are great-Gortex, light, fit like a glove and cost half nothing compared to Ireland. The choice of everything here is astounding- it would be worth it to fly over to get the gear. I buy replacement over trousers- Gortex for about 20 euro! God bless Decathlon and Katherine for knowing about it. Katherine had decided she needs to give her knees a rest so will stay on maybe for a day or two in Logrono and will rejoin if/when she can. On our way out meet Emily she has taken the bus as to give herself a rest day and will wait for Sean to catch up. Looks tired and I hope she's ok.

Andy Goldworthy eat your heart out! This is my little tribute, one of hundreds of such towers/mounds, to Roland for slaying the giant Ferragut. Who knows if the story is true but the cairns do give the place an air of a ritual landscape. The local authorities obviously don't think so as there is a grander memorial to the event (much closer to the road) a few km further on but my money is on this place.

Roughly painted on the wall of an allotment shed on the way into Najera is the phrase "Peregrino en Najera, najerino" "Pilgrim in Najera you are a Najeran" And that sentiment was maintained by everyone we met in the street, the pharmacist giving us handfuls of little sweets the guy in the hostal being so helpful directing us to a great place to eat and helping with enquiries we had. I loved this town it may be kind of down at heal but somehow that doesn't matter. We are finding out that its the warmth of the locals welcome and their willingness to engage with you as a pilgrim that matters and not the cultural/artistic ratings of a place. In Puenta La Reina, despite its picture postcard prettiness, we met with a cold transactional manner, they could learn a thing or two from Najera.

(thanks to Ana from the forum for this photo as we lost ours)

Dined again with the lovely French couple we met in the Cafe Moderno in Logrono. He grows the grapes for one of the large champagne houses and is a keen 'randonneur'. She partakes in his hobby on a 'part time basis' joining him for a week every now and then. They seem to have got it down to a fine art-he takes off in spring his low season for a month or two and she goes on a cruise when he's busy at harvest time. He was such a genial chap and he told us the reason he walked, and rewalked, the CF was for the joy he finds in people he meets the food and wine he enjoys and the environments he walks through. Beatus vir indeed.

The red sandstone cliffs provide a spectacular backdrop to the town and the storks nesting about the town make a clattering noise with their bills as they settle down. The stone is soft and easily carved out to form shelters, storage, graves etc over the centuries.

The church tower is crowned with a storks nest at each corner.

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