Los Arcos to Logroño
I love the movie, “The Way.” The movie created a spark in me that led to this season in my life.
The problem with the movie, in typical Hollywood fashion, is it over-romanticizes the journey and omits some of the more difficult parts. Not once do we see Martin Sheen lancing a blister with a needle and thread and then dressing the wound with three layers of Compeed. And never do we see him step on a small rock that penetrates his hiking shoe at just the right place and moment to make direct contact with the recently treated blister. And we don’t hear the subsequent speaking-in-tongues, creative cussing that only comes from sharp, stabbing pains in your feet. The movie doesn’t show Martin and his squad making the 27.8km trek from Los Arcos to Logroño.
There are times when the Camino is a grind…this stage is one of them; it’s long, lots of ups and down, and there’s only about one square yard of shade on the whole trip. That was tough on this warm, sunny day.
What propelled us onward was the thought of a rest day. Our bodies – muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, blisters, and the great distance between our ears – were beginning to adjust to the reality of pilgrimage. All we needed to level-up on this pilgrim journey was a chance for our bodies to heal. All we had to do was make it to Logroño.
Viana was the highlight of today’s slog, it’s about 2/3 of the way into the trip. Dragging into town, we stopped at the first open bar for an Estrella and a reconnoiter of what was left of the day. After the beer, we struggled down Calle Mayor. Here I encountered the ornate relief in the entry to a church in the center of town. It depicts the story of ultimate struggle and reminded me of the reality of struggle as we walk through this life.
Not far from this relief was the grave marker for Cesare Borgia, this might be of interest to you if you’ve read “The Prince” by Machiavelli or have watched one of the two Borgia mini-series on Netflix. I’ve been interested in the story of Cesare Borgia and his father, Rodrigo Borgia (aka, Pope Alexander VI) for a while. It’s a fascinating story of church failure, spiritual abuse, and the capacity of man for good or evil.
Before the trek to Logroño, we stopped for a meal with some of our pilgrim family. Always time well spent.
On the way out of town, there was a young family piling into a minivan. The youngest child, about 3 years old, was already strapped into his car seat. As we passed, the child shouted out in his 3-year-old voice, “¡Buen Camino, peregrinos!”
It’s interesting to think that this kid has grown up every day of his life seeing strange people with backpacks walking through his town. And his parents grew up the same way, and their parents, and on and on down their lineage.
We trudged into Logroño in the late afternoon and made a beeline to the hotel we had reserved for the night. For the sake of rest, we opted out of the albergue scene for one night and treated ourselves to a night in the local Marriott.