I arrived in Logrono in the middle of a wine festival. Thousands of people all walking the streets, following bands and large processions. A teaming mass of vibrant colours and excited Spaniards. A few pilgrims I had bumped into before could not find accommodation and had to walk on to the next town, the festivities carried on till the early hours of the morning and none of us got to sleep much. Sleeping in the Albergue’s makes me think of my youth as there is a curfew, lights off and doors locked by 10pm. When you spend hours walking everyday you tend to pass out by 8pm so unlike my youth the curfew suites me quiet fine.
Early the next morning as I set off for Najera the streets where filled with cleaners attempting to clean uf the broken glass, dirt and debris from the festivities of the night before.
Najera was also celebrating some festival and all the shops had closed early to join in the festivities. The Spaniards definitely do not need an excuse to party. I met up with some Aussie Pilgrims and we decided to buy some snacks and have a picnic at the river. Nothing better than dangling your tired, aching feet in the icy, clear water of the Najerilla River listening to Richard a fellow pilgrim singing and jamming his guitar, oh and let’s not forget a sipping on some delicious Rioja. At 5.30pm we got dragged off to watch the bullfighting – a heart breaking, gut wrenching experience that I will never forget. Young and old, dressed up in the most colourful outfits, cheering, shouting and absolutely loving every moment of this cruel cultural past time.
The town was heaving with tourists, foreigners and locals, Bands where belting their music and laughter filled the air. Celebrating was the order of the day and when walking home after dinner through the narrow cobblestone alleys I suddenly found myself in the arms of some well-dressed elderly Spaniard who wouldn’t take no for an answer – I had to give myself up to the moment, throw my hair back and dance as there was no way he was letting me go till he had taught me his Spanish number. Nearly didn’t make the curfew today but fell asleep still hearing the laughter, music and joviality coming from the streets below.
A day filled with so many conflicting emotions, a day I will remember for ever, a day in the life of a pilgrim…