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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Well today's walk from Navarrete to Logrono was in sharp contrast to any days walking we have so far experienced on the Camino Ignatian. After breakfast in a little cafe beside the old church we walked through the still sleeping town and soon found the orange arrows that symbolise this walk. The orange arrow was in directional opposition to the familiar yellow arrow of the Camino Santiago going from Logrono through Navarrete to Najera. We were retracing past familiar ground. The scenery was bright, colourful and of course Rioja was celebrated in the abundance of vines and bodegas. Whereas we have become accustomed to having the way to ourselves today there was a constant stream of other pilgrims but they were walking in the opposite direction to us. The once familiar sounds of Buen Camino echoed along our progress and several times kindly pilgrims stopped us to point us in the direction of Santiago. No we are not lost, we might be mad, but our Camino goes to Barcelona. Soon after passing the San Juan de Acre pilgrims hospital, established in 1185 we entered the Parc de la Grajera and we could see down below us the famous and picturesque lakes of Logrono. Rounding a bend and there he was, the long haired, grey bearded hermit looking man who sits in a wooden shelter selling Camino trinkets and stamping your passbooks. Memories flooded back, was it really only three years ago that Mary and I stopped here with our friends, Austin and Pauline Patterson, on our way to Santiago from SJPDP, and here we are again getting the same stamp only walking in the opposite direction and with our daughter, Aisling. We had a very pleasant and easy walk through the park paths until we arrived at the lakeside cafe where we sat and chatted with three other pilgrims.  Micky Ravins from Tipp had teamed up with Jocelyn Muscarelband and Misty Vogtritter, both from Arizona, and all three were making their way to Santiago.. After a lengthy stop, talking and then watching the swans and their cygnets we made the final 4 or 5K into Logrono and our accommodation. Because we had made such good time today we were able to spend time exploring the city. It seems that Logrono in common with many Spanish cities has a vibrant cafe culture and numerous parks where people can just sit and watch the world pass by. Today we took the opportunity to join them and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon sitting in a park just watching people. A visit to the cathedral was a must and dinner in the old part of the city was equally relaxing before we enjoyed an open air jazz concert. Well tomorrow is another day.

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