Not long before I get to the French border and today’s modest 50 km nudged me a little closer. The destination was chosen because it has a campsite where I arrived in the early afternoon amid the noise of various groups of Spaniards who appeared to be in celebratory mood. It will be interesting to see whether the 11pm curfew for silence is observed tonight. I’ll be out with my clipboard taking down names if it isn’t. This could be Olympia all over again…
But what of the cycling? (I hear you cry.) Well, as you’ve already seen from this morning’s post below, Rioja is a very beautiful region of Spain. It’s actually a very small one – the smallest by the looks of things – and if you had asked me to locate it on a map six months ago I would have guessed somewhere much further south. But no, here it is in the north west. Within minutes of leaving the campsite I started to see vines in the fields – the first that I’ve seen since leaving Tarifa – and they’ve been a dominant feature of the landscape every since. I noted below that most of the vines near the road were newly planted after the not inconsiderable disruption involved in building the new motorway and the adjacent (and almost deserted) N road that I followed for the first third of the ride.
Just before the town of Nájeta I chatted with a couple of old guys from Belgium who were cycling the Camino. They hadn’t used much of the route itself preferring to stick to the road. Just after Nájeta however, I spoke to two young Germans. They were happily following the Camino and said it wasn’t a problem. Given the short distance to Logroño I decided to give it a try and it was OK. A stoney path for 90% of the time it didn’t give me and Reggie too many issues. You just need to watch out for the signs.
More frustrating was negotiating my way along the cycle paths of a leisure park to the west of Logroño. A few signs saying something along the lines of “Logroño in this direction” wouldn’t have gone amiss. My Chaucerian language was certainly being put to good use sandwiched in between the language of Cervantes: “Buen ******* Camino” was uttered out loud but you’ll be relieved to know not within earshot of any of the pilgrims. Via the second Decathlon in as many days to buy those steel pegs (see yesterday’s post) I was in central Logroño by 2pm.
So that’s about all for today folks. I’ll post another pretty picture of Rioja before heading off to find a supermarket to buy ingredients for a sumptuous feast back at the campsite. I have in the past three weeks (nearly) cooked more campsite food than on the first two European cycles combined. Perhaps book 3 should be a cook book. That said, I think someone has beaten me to that niche in the market… Bon appetit!