Saturday, 21 September 2013

The way of the way

Yesterday in Viana two Australians from Perth asked me to take their photo. On the way into Logrono there is a little house where the lady has sold drinks and stamped creenciales  for years. The lady died a couple of years ago but her daughter, who is 80 herself, still keeps up the tradition. I arrived at the same time as the two ladies and they used me as an interpreter. They wanted to know how I had such good Spanish. When I told them about my 11 years in El Salvador one of them could not believe it  saying that her son is on a gap year trip to Central America and is currently surfing in El Salvador!  That is what happens on the way!
Marcos the Swiss chocolate maker was staying in the same Auberge. It was very clean and a single dormitory with 32 beds. Whilst being quite functional the spirit of the Camino showed . I was doing my washing but discovered that there was no outside drying facilities . A lady whom I had not met previously offered to put my washing into the drier with that of her group.
Whilst resting on my bunk I overheard the lady at the desk telling some other pilgrims  that Logrono is in fiesta. I set off around 5 in the vain hope that I might find Carlos. I had asked about eating and the girl told me that the best thing in Logrono were the tapas. She indicated the best streets. I asked her whether they were tapas or pinchos. If they are on bread she said that they are tapas, if not pinchos!
I was not prepared for what greeted me in the street. They were packed with youngsters who had clearly been enjoying the fiesta. One girl was vomiting violently, two boys were urinating in the street. The cathedral was firmly closed. I headed up a street and passed one of those which is good for tapas. It was packed. I came out at a plaza and was getting some cash from an ATM when I heard a familiar voice it was Geoff one of the two men from Belfast that I had first met in Estella. He said that Rick was sitting on the edge of the road. I wandered over relieved to see a familiar face. I bought them a beer and a Rioja with olives for myself. We had a lovely conversation. Geoff' s wife had received the MBE at the same ceremony as Pete Pos!  They asked me what I was doing for supper and I said that I was heading for tapas. They said that they would be pleased to join me. Before we set off a convoy of cleaning wagons passed by. In the street for the tapas the crowds had gone but their debris was everywhere. We didn't fancy the first place but the offerings in the second looked attractive. Geoff and Rick were amused when I asked to taste the wine!  I had just gone in to order a second lot of tapas when the whole convoy of cleaners appeared in the street. When they had passed by the street was immaculate. Geoff had noticed that another shop had now opened so we went there for our final choice. We parted company and I looked into the cathedral, listened to some panpipes and then headed back to the Auberge.
It was a noisy night with plenty of evidence of the fiesta. I was ready for off at 7.00am. The streets were still full of young revellers. I felt a little vulnerable. One or two of them wished me Buen Camino. I became aware that one young man was following me. At first I wondered if I was being set up for a mugging!  After a few minutes he asked me where I was from and then explained that he had done the Camino last year. I asked him about the fiesta. It is usually the wine harvest he said but the bad weather this year has delayed the harvest by two weeks. Before he left he told me that his name is Ygnace. He also showed me the route out of town.
Eventually I was on a long road heading westwards . There were a whole series of road junctions and, at almost every one, the vehicles stopped to let me cross . Many flashed their lights as a gesture of support . It was a fascinating insight into the pride of the Spanish in the Camino.
 At Navarette I met Carlos taking photos in the Church. He was a little disgruntled that I hadn't found him in Logrono. I said that I hoped that we would have better luck in Najera.
Throughout the walk we were passing through grapes. When I arrived at Najera I went into a bar to find out where the Auberge is. The girl showed me up the stairs and wanted to know why it was that I could speak Spanish so well.
After the shower I went out for some lunch. I had just arranged a place when I saw two grinning faces. It was Amede and and Matthieu the two French graduates that I had first met at Aroue. I think that they were as pleased to see me as I was to see them. Amede gave me a huge hug. Apparently Matthieu has been really suffering with his feet and is leaving the Camino tomorrow. Amede asked if we could walk together. Later as I was finishing my lunch they came and had a beer. 

1 comment:

  1. Just to show that Fr Basil is not the only one enjoying multi-national experiences I thought I would recount a funny incident at Mass at Prinknash Abbey this morning. Sue and I were sitting as usual in the next to back row in front of a tall elderly man and his wife who were visitors to the church. It became apparent during the Confession that they were Irish but didn't sing the Missa de Angelis. However as we sang the only hymn of the Mass, he joined in with spectacular gusto. His phrasing was pure showband!! I was transported to the pub singers of Dingle and began to smile and then noticed Sue was having some difficulty that required the extensive use of her hankerchief. I realised that in fact she was in hysterics of laughter!! Happily we did regain control by the end of the preface.
    Next time I will post a more sober comment!!
    Buen camino Fr Basil,