Day 16 – Viana to Logroño

  • Distance today:                      6.7 mi
  • Distance Camino 2017:     105.6mi

When we left our penćion at 7:15 a.m., Linda smelled baking bread. We followed our noses in the opposite direction of the Camino until we came upon a bakery that was just opening for business, made an appropriate purchase, reversed direction and ate a light breakfast as we walked out of Viana.

Remains of old church in Viana wall, just before exiting town gates

After our rollercoaster walk yesterday, the rather flat, unremarkable section of Camino between Viana and Logroño was a welcome change. Most of the morning we walked on pavement or dirt paths with fist size embedded stones creating a nuisance rather than a major hazard.

We walked through a number of underpasses while weaving through the roads accessing Logroño, the capital of the wine making region of Rioja.

Graffiti is common on all underpasses on the Camino. They contain the usual religious, political, humor and maybe even gang territorial markings. But today, because we walked through so many, the artwork and writings made more of an impression.

After a moderately steep, paved descent, we continued through a nice park along the Rio Ebro before crossing the 19th century Puente de Piedra into Logroño (pop. 150,000).

The original bridge was built by Santo Domingo de la Calzada in the 11th century and rebuilt by his disciple, San Juan de Ortega.

On our way to finding our room for tonight, we stopped at a nice bar and had cafe con leche and a variation of our usual tostadas, with Jim having a small baguette with chorizo and egg.

We used the bar as a base camp as Jim ventured off, packless, to find our Pencion. Not an easy task, after 15-20 minutes and aid from two pedestrians, a shop worker and two policemen our obscure destination, Hostal La Numantina (60€) was located.

Our double room is spacious, new, clean and has a balcony with clothesline, wifi is strong and has the best shower we’ve experienced thus far… and therefore not too pricey considering its location in city center.

Chores completed, we had ensalada mixtas at one of hundreds of nearby bars for lunch, followed by a visit to Iglesia de Santiago en Real, a visit to a large fresh market, a walk and sitting in the shade at Espolón Square and nap (Jim) and reading (Linda) for the rest of the afternoon.

For supper, we had to wait until 8:00, since all eating establishments close at 4:00 and reopen at 8:00.  There are at least several 100 pintxos bars and restaurants within a three block radius of our hotel. All were standing room only at 8:00 and it’s a weekday evening!  I guess everyone gets hungry waiting for dinnertime.  We finally gave up and ordered at a bar where we stood up while splitting four pintxos with a glass of wine.

That wasn’t working so we moved on until finding another restaurant with a half empty table, sat down and sampled two more pintxos and two desserts, before walking back to our room at 9:30 to get some sleep before our hike early tomorrow morning.