Day 11 Torres del Rio to Logroño 

I had a late start because I went to bed with a horrible headache. It was one of my dehydration headaches, which I have become very familiar with after living in the tropics for the past couple of years. 

I thought I had enough water to drink yesterday during my walk…but then I spent an hour in the pool under the radiating afternoon sun while I downed a huge glass of beer by the pool (it was free), and then I had a very salty dinner.

So, osmotically my body electrolytes were off by the time I went to bed. I even had to drink another electrolyte tablet to feel somewhat normal before I went to bed. 

Despite all this, I woke up feeling well-rested! No headache, and my feet felt better than they did the day before!!! Perhaps my body was slowly adjusting to the crazy demands I was placing on it. 

I went to bed praying for two things: for my feet not to feel worse the next day or for it to feel the same! 

I was hoping all my feet self-care practices would lay off: the rubbing and massaging, the pool, the stretching. And it worked!

For breakfast, I had oatmeal. I purchased steamed milk from the vending machine to “cook” it. The steam milk was .80 E, and the result was delicious. My oatmeal has been my favorite meal of the day, haha 

I left the hostel a tad later than average, around 8 AM. I don’t know if I’m the only one, but it’s hard for me to gather myself in the morning. Even though I only have a bag worth of belongings, it’s absolute chaos. When I get to my room, all I want to do is rest, and I just empty the contents of my bag EVERYWHERE, and then I must put it all back together in the morning ☹️

Regardless, I left feeling hopeful and with a bit of pep in my step. 

About 30 mins into the walk, when I was leaving town, there was a steep paved descent that I had to take out my poles for.

The downhills are tough on my ankles/feet, so I was a bit anxious about down, so I randomly started saying encouraging words out loud to my feet like they were toddlers. 

I’m a pretty quirky person, which I’ve come to accept, but even I laughed out loud at myself, imagining if someone caught me in the act of talking to myself. Well, I think self-love worked, and my feet felt good after the downhill. 

I found abandoned boots or shoes left on the top of two trail markers, and for some reason, it left me annoyed. It felt wrong to leave belongings behind as a memorial and felt invasive. I hope shoes don’t start piling up along the way. Has anyone else observed this? 

There wasn’t much shade, which is a recurring theme on the last legs of the journey. However, there were small batches of pine trees, and I enjoyed the brief moments of shade they provided. I miss shaded woodlands on this part of the walk. 

As soon as I left one of these shaded areas, I was drawn in by a large tree adorned with ribbons, trinkets, and all sorts of mementos. I felt the tree spoke to me because the first thing I noticed was a large Panama flag 🇵🇦 affixed to a branch. 

Panama is my homeland, where my parents are from, and where my fathers’ ashes were laid to rest. So it felt like another sign that I was here for a reason. The Panama flag was also one of the only flags in the tree. The second item my eye was drawn to was a colorful ribbon I recognized. On closer inspection, they were the same ribbons I wore for a year wrapped around my ankles. They are from the festival de Bom Fim in Bahia, which I experienced in Brazil and was the catalyst for an intense spiritual journey. 

I keep walking, and at some point, I made a wrong turn 😭 I’m sure I’m not the only one, but leave it to me to be one of the only ones, haha 

So it doesn’t happen to anyone in this group; I will try to be specific. It got weird for me soon after I left the tree and before the next blue maker that says 16.7 km left to Logroño. 

I was walking on the highway, and I made a left to get off the highway, but I was supposed to cross the road and make a right. I even took pictures of the arrows I missed. 

After this, there was an incline uphill with huge craters! However, I handled it like a pro because of my handy hiking poles!! I think I am getting the hang of it. 

I took a break after this long hill at a bench under a nice tree canopy.  I took the time to drink my electrolyte water. 

This whole time I was feeling pretty good emotionally and physically. I was warm, but the breeze was helping. 

Before Viana, there’s a long stretch on the road. Funny enough, I sometimes enjoy these parts versus the pebbled paths that create tension in my ankles. 

I saw some exciting things, like a small home or shelter made entirely of huge stones and an artfully placed antique velvety chair. 

I took a break at a food truck and had two boiled eggs for 2 E. 

I had lunch in Viana! Viana is a beautiful busy town, and I wish I spent more time there, but I was nervous about being out too long in the afternoon sun walking. I bought a bad sandwich, but there were many options. I even saw one place that was tailored for pilgrims, with chips and hummus! Only a few steps after the restaurant with the lousy sandwich 😫

I also had my two kiwis as I walked away from Viana. 

There is an excellent map when leaving Viana because it shows the distance from Viana to Logroño and entering a new county. 

Leaving Viana, I took pictures of what looked like huge aloe plants, which reminded me of Thailand. 

I enjoyed the very flat calm walk to Logroño right alongside acres of perfectly lined vineyards 😊

I almost got hit by a speeding car (seriously 😡) on what I didn’t know was a road. So be careful as you are walking and stay near the fields to the left. He did look remorseful and also apologized! 

Eventually, at the 7.8 Km mark, there are tiny rolling hills through more wheat fields. 

I came across a spectacular mural! Gosh! I am not sure what the building was or if it’s in use, but it seemed like a recreational or religious structure in a serene park. The images appeared to tell a story from darkness to light. 

By the 5 km mark, the route goes through a small, shadowed forest! Yay! Which was a treat for my eyes and psyche. 

This opens to a cool wooden bridge to cross the highway. 

Pro: was it’s less anxiety-inducing and dangerous than crossing a busy intersection. Cons: going up and then down steps with sore feet.

It took me a few minutes to go down the steps. 

After the stairs, the walk consists of more shaded and tree-lined trails, past industrial buildings, and through multiple tunnels. 

I took three-minute breaks under the tunnels for water and just to take a minute from the sun. There were so many captivating spray paintings and handwritten images and messages in many different languages. 

There were a handful of pilgrims until Viana, but I didn’t see one going to Logroño until the few kilometers. 

I bought water at a stand right outside the city. It’s on the right and down a steep paved hill. A local man was selling souvenirs and things to drink. I asked him how many pilgrims he saw today, and he showed me his clicker counter that said 83!

The last hour was tiring because it was the end and I was hot, but it was not difficult in terms of hills or being stony. 

Oh, when you are in Logroño, please stop and smell the roses! Literally. I wish I could bottle up the smell from these pink roses: fresh and almost like bath soap! Very calming. 

I arrived in the city at 2:30 PM. I am staying at Calle Mayor Hotel. The city overwhelmed me a bit when I first arrived. I was depleted by the time I got to my hotel after a near attack from a leashed dog, and all my water ran out. After the adrenaline left my body and the high from arriving sedated, I started to feel the effects of the sun and many kilometers on my feet. I also discovered my first blister on my tiny pinky toe on my right foot! I feel like it’s a badge of honor, but I don’t want any more of them. Funny enough, I felt the blister forming during the last 2 kilometers. 

I found the nearest bar, had some okay food, went to the supermarket for fruit, and bought vegetarian empanadas for lunch the next day. 

By the time I got in bed, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get up tomorrow to walk again. One of the hardest things about these walks is that it’s not over when you get to your destination. You still need to find housing, attempt to sightsee, shower, find food, and then prepare for the next day. So, I had a lot to think, sleep on, and reasoned I would let my body decide tomorrow if I could walk to the next town.

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