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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

A great days walking which finished with good company

Today's walk didn't have a great start. We, quite literally, couldn't find our way out of the old, walled, town of Laguardia. Did I mention yesterday that a glass lift takes you from Laguardia down to the plains below? Well it does, quite scarily, and at the bottom we found that the start of today's walk coincided with the walk of the three Lagoons and then the Route de Vino. This will give you a clue about the walk.  Walking around the lagoons on a dusty path was to experience the bright, colourful, flora and fauna that is so characteristic of this region.The sun was shining as we then made our way through row after row of Riojan grapes with colourful roses at the head of each row. The bodegas were plentiful as we got a crash course on Riojan wine. Our first coffee stop on this idillic way was the small town of lapuebla, with its lovely, flowered plaza just down from the large, customary, baroque church. The scenic route, mostly along dusty paths, intertwining its way through vineyards, under a cloudless sky was a real joy. Crossing a railway line and following the equilivant of a senda we were directed to Feunmayor which we were expecting to be a small hamlet but turned out to be a vibrant town with a colourful square where coffee culture must have been invented. Hundreds of people, of all ages, sat around tables, under the shade of olive trees and enjoyed a lunchtime drink and the company of friends. For us it was a pleasure to watch this community spirit as we also enjoyed a cool refreshing drink. The last part of today's walk was about 5K along a dusty senda that ran flat and parallel to a main road before the customary climb into the town. After showering and changing into dry clothes we went to explore the town of Navarrete and found, by accident, what could claim to be the best Albergue on any of the Caminos. We first stopped to have a chat with a friendly Aussie, Matt, and when Aussies meet the Irish, yes, we sat and talked over a pint. Matt Marshall works in the Albergue Pilgrims, for his friend, Michael, the owner. Later in the evening we enjoyed our best pilgrim meal ever, washed down of course by some delicious wine. If anyone is ever in Navarrete, wants good food, good company and excellent accommodation then go to this Albergue. Did I mention that Matt has a painted a series of frescos, showing the religious figures in Camino history inside the Albergue and it is a must see.

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