Friday, May 19, 2017

Nájera - Day 13

Ok, so it is two steps forward and one step back...  seems there is a spanner in the works keeping me from getting photos uploaded into the post, so I will write the blog and may need to post without pictures for the moment.  *sigh* technology...

As you might have guessed from the title, I am in Nájera.  Yesterday, as promised, was a cold and rainy day, at least it was full on rain until I finished up at Navarette about 1 p.m.  My Altus raincoat is fabulous, it keeps me and my pack dry from the knees and elbows up despite several good long torrential downpours. I discovered the hard way that my boots are not very rainproof and in fact have a two inch tear on the uppers which lets the rain or puddle water free admission to the boot.  It felt like I was walking in a mobile cold water foot bath. I arrived with prune feet and impossible to dry out boots.  I also had to stop using my poles as the rain was running up my arms.

This morning I walked in my Keen hiking sandals and discovered that the money I'd spent on custom orthotics for my boots were well worth it.  I can't use them in my sandals and after walking without them today I have the beginnings of a blister on my baby toe - same spot as last time. Tomorrow my boots will be dry and hopefully all will be well.  On the plus side, I am sure I was more comfortable in my hiking sandals than wet boot.

I have found the most amazing little keyboard that weighs next to nothing and is tiny tiny. Sadly, when it comes to technology, nothing is perfect but it does solve some issues I have when using the viritual keyboard with the blogging software.  I noticed that the keyboard was a Spanish one - that is with spanish letters and symbols, but discovered upon use that it is marked as a Spanish keyboard but the keys do not match the markings, and there is no evidence of Spanish letters e.g. the ñ and it isn't North American either so when I use it it is a bit of a hunt and peck exercise for special characters. It is really cute though and despite the downside, it is still better than the iPhone viritual keyboard which pops up on top of the text I am writing on my blogging software making it very difficult to see what I am doing. Did I mention that my preferred offline blogging software was abandoned by the developer when Google bought out and shelved the essential photo software (Picasa) which was used to house the blogs's photos?  Google also bought out Blogger, my online blog software and while I can still use it it is now as buggy as hell.  oh well.

My walk today was just 13 km long - I am settting a slow speed record. The weather was cool and partly sunny.  Nice walking weather.  There are a lot of people walking these days, and today we had an extra lot - some 20 or so students from the University of La Rioja, who were out for a 1 day jaunt.  I chatted with a young man from Taiwan who explained that they were International Students from all over the world who were studying Spanish and Spanish culture at the University. They were skipping down the trail as only possible for someone out only for the day.

You may have noticed that I didnt blog yesterday as promised.  Meeting a new cohort of Perigrinos takes time and lots of wine to both tell and be told the obligatory "bonding stories"  (you will recall that my previous Pilgrim "family" as moved forward).  Once you fall into the same pilgrim's company a number of times, you need to swap stories of origin, motivation and feet/leg/knee injuries.  Having slowed my walk, I am now with the walking injured of my cohort and the regular walkers of the cohort which was once days behind me.  I heard someone state today "I can't believe that I am 11 days in already".  That is n-2 days from my start.

The other reason I didn't blog was that I spent an hour or so in joyous contemplation of my "transfer credit" report from York University. A brief explanation is in order for those of you who are not aware that I am in my 1st year of an undergraduate degree in English Literature and in the midst of a process to transfer to a different university that does not charge seniors tuition.  I was amazed to discover that they granted me 45 transfer credits out of the 120 required for  an honours degree. The rub is that I am not sure how many of these credits apply to the English courses in my program. The admissions office granted me 1 3 credit course with a promise that the English department may decide to give me more.  We shall see. The did say that they waived all the general education courses so it seems that I will just need to take the English courses. I am very happy with this news.

I am staying tonight at the Puerta de Nájera albergue.  I chose that one over the 90 beds in 1 room municipal abergue I stayed in last time.  It is a vast improvement. Once I can add some pictures you will see why.  Last night I stayed in El Cántaro.  Not recommended.  While the room was fine - 5 beds (no bunks) in a room but it was in a 2nd floor unit of an apartment building with the living room covered to a bedroom.  For 10 EU I expected better - at least a common room. Today's was 10 EU as well, but it is far nicer.

Tomorrow I will walk only about 16 km to Circeña. It is a little bit of a climb and about 6km short of the next large city - Santo Domingo.  More about that in my next blog.

If you haven't read my blog from my last walk of this section (or want to see some pictures from the wonderful  La Rioja wine area, go hereL:

Buenas Noches mes Amigos!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Logroño - Day 10

I arrived in Logroño yesterday. This is the view that greets you as you enter the city.  Not too shabby. Logroño is located on the Ebro river and is the capital of the autonomous community of  La Rioja (as in the well known wine region). Population 151,000.  

I am staying at the Entresueño Albergue, right on the main drag, on Portales. It is a wide boulevard filled with sidewalk cafes and shops in the centre of all the action. Just perfect. I am sitting at a cafe with a glass of local wine while I write this. I took today as a "rest day", meaning staying in place, walking the city rather than to a new location. I spent most of today trying to sort out my blogging software and after mucho hours I seem to be in business.  Well, as best as I am going to be anyway. I could bore you with a long description of the challenges in getting this together, but I can feel your eyes gloated over at the thought.  I have to catch up with the blogs, but I will start with today and try to both keep up with future days and slowly catch up with those I have missed.

This is the crowd I have been loosely travelling with. We all met in St. Jean Pied de Port and for the most part have pretty much kept together (minus 2 losses due to injury) for the last 10 days but  yesterday the group seemed to come undone when time pressures and other priorities resulted in a divergent path for many of us. I am in no rush as I have plenty of time to mosey down the camino trail, but others are on tighter schedules. So it seems I am falling behind.   The good news is that I may have more time to blog. That said, my blogging software is not working well and taking me a long time since it is screwing up regularly. Hopefully I can get things sorted out. 

We got to see some performance art in the main plaza yesterday. Apparently this is what happens when you have too much "informatíca".  Looked like a disaster practice for the Red Cross in the war of the boat anchor PCs. LOL 

I am heading to Navarette tomorrow - about 12 km - and according to the weather forecast I will be walking during a full day of rain. Good thing I brought my Altus raincoat, which covers my pack and keeps me dry above the knees. Perhaps tomorrow's picture will be me impersonating a drowned  rat.

Well it seems that the rain is almost upon us so I will need to abandon my courtyard and seek cover.  Will post this and try and sort out some more software wrinkles before posting again. Buenas Tardes.

One thing you may wish to check out is my last blog when I walked the Camino in 2015. I have been dying to catch the town's I missed last time (hence Logroño), last ime I walked from Viana to Navarette from Estelle. This time I will  walk tfromn Logrono to Logroño.  Anyway, if you want more Camino blog of a similar time of year in a place about 10 km east, go here>

Saturday, May 6, 2017

A New Camino Begins

Just testing this new manner of creating blogs - having just discovered that my blogging tools from my last trip don't work.  Before writing more, I will upload this photo showing the albergue I have stayed in these past 2 days, to acclimatize prior to my bus ride to St Jean Pied de Port today, and camino start tomorrow. Got to head out now into this gorgeous day so will put up a proper post sometime in the next day or so, presuming this works,  

Unfortunately, the google software blogging software is not available offline, so I may not be able to post as often. We shall see.