50 Days of Camino

Kevin Soltysiak's travel log of the way of St. James, the "Camino de Santiago"

Los Arcos — Logroño

In spite of the long and exhausting previous day, I woke up very early, around 6:30. I went in town to get a coffee and breakfast and waited for Loïc to be ready, and we left town around 8. On the road to the next town, Torres del Rio, we met Jean-Louis, a fellow pilgrim who was born in the same region as Loïc and I live. After spending hiw whole carreer in the french navy, he was now retired and enjoying life one project at a time.

We took a quick coffee break and started again. Loïc was busy eating grapes on the road, so I ended up in Viana slightly before him. I used the delay to perform my duty and made my weekly phone call to my family, then it was time to step inside the town. After walking around a bit, we had coffee (again, I know) with two other pilgrims, Oana and Jem.

Jem told us a bit about Cesare Borgia, a historical figure burried in Viana, known among other things for his cruelty; Jem compared him to Ramsay Bolton from Game of Thrones. Then he left, and the three of us wandered in smaller streets to find a place to eat. And while we were enjoying our bocadillos, Jem came back to add that Cesare Borgia would be Ramsay Bolton, but living in King’s Landing. Funny how he walked all that way back and managed to find us just to add this one detail.

The three of us then made way to Logroño, our goal of the day and the end of the road for Oana, who was finishing her camino there due to time constraints. We met Jean-Louis again before the end of the day, along with a friend of his, and the five of us walked until we reached the city.

I was in touch with Ilay so I knew he was in this city and in which albergue, but Loïc wanted to go to a cheaper one, so we separated for the time being. After we had split in Puente la Reina, I didn’t think we would be meeting Ilay again. But I forgot that he was not walking long days due to an injury, and after our 45k-in-one-day it was only a matter of time. I didn’t expect it to be so soon though! It was nice to see him again and annoying-yet-funny to hear his lousy puns once more.

He introduced me to a few friends of his, including Saula and Krista whom have been walking with him for the past couple of days. We bonded over our mutual boredom of his neverending puns as well as cheap pizza slices. After visiting the town, we went back to our albergue and spent the rest of the evening drinking, laughing and bantering with other pilgrims, Edouard and Monica.

That day, I noticed that Logroño was pretty much half way between Toulouse and Santiago. It brought mixed feelings: it was a milestone, an achievement, but at the same time it took us almost a month to get there and I felt that it should have took us less time. But I shoved those feelings aside quickly: I was enjoying the walk a lot more than I thought I would, and the endless meetings made for very interesting days.