Posted from Villarejo, La Rioja, Spain.
The good news (I hope) is have a charger and I’m still online.
Before I start today I have one more thing from yesterday. As I sat out in the very nice garden behind the albergue enjoying my wine a group across the way called out for me to come play a card game. I figured why not. It was an Israeli physical therapist, an Italian nanny and an American guy that looked like Jesus, he was a mathematician that had come on the walk because he didn’t like teaching college calculus to students that were required to take the course. An amusing group. It was the Israeli girls game that consisted of colored cards with animals. You had to match colors and animals as the play went around. However you also had to make the sound of the animal as you played and when you had to draw you had to say a word that supposedly was a very inappropriate reference to someone’s mother (in Hebrew). I lost big time the first round but when I shuffled they all thought I must be a Las Vegas dealer. I think I psyched them out and won the next 3 games.
On to today…..
I must be getting used to sleeping with 20 people, I slept we’ll through the night and got up around 7:00. I walked down to the bar for a coffee and tortilla (egg, potato casserole) and was on the path by 7:30. As I looked back the sun was rising behind the town.
The colors were great in the vineyards and along the path.
I arrived in Najera with a shopping list. iPhone charger, compeed (plasters for blisters) and an ATM. Well the chineese electronics place I’d heard about was out of business. So I went to the pharmacy and found the compeed. The Pharmacy girl sent me across the street to an “electronics” place that looked to specialize in cooking equipment. I waited about 15 minutes for it to open. The lady looked hopeful but didn’t have what I needed. She sent me down the street to another pharmacy (maybe with a mobile phone center). On the way I passed a place with Apple equipment in the window. I stood there looking at it when a man came up and opened the shop. I pointed at what I wanted. He had the plug part but no cable. He talked a lot but I said no comprendo. He suddenly left, went upstairs and came back with an unpackaged cable that looked right. We plugged it in and it worked. So I’m back in the iPhone business.
Down the street I found an ATM, so I was 3 for 3!!
As I happily left town the view reminded me of Durango Colorado with the red sandstone rocks behind the town. This is actually the red clay ground that makes the great La Rioja wines of this region.
I had decided that I would head off the camino today. It was a two fold purpose. It was first to see a Cistercian Abby that was about 6km away and second to reward myself for 10 days of walking and stay in a hotel (a room to myself). Once in Azofra I broke rank and headed down the highway away from the camino. I feared sirens might sound like a prison break but nothing happened. I walked along a two lane highway with the occasional car speeding by at 60mph. It made me appreciate how the camino avoids walking on a road. Finally I could see the Abby in the distance.
The Abby is famous for it’s alabaster windows that make the inside very bright. The village is very small but it has a hotel/restaurant right across the street.
I wandered into the bar getting odd looks from the 3 old guys there. I told the woman behind the bar I’d like a room. She pulled out a book flipped through the pages and said she thought they could accommodate me (I don’t think anyone else is staying here). I got a small room for €22. After a short rest I went and toured the Abby. It was all very interesting. I spent about 90 minutes and was literally the only person there. The worker lady kept running ahead of me to open doors and turn on lights.
At 8:00 I went down for dinner. Again the bar lady switched on the lights and I took a seat, she became the waitress and cook. Instead of a menu she brought a page of food translations and we worked through making my selections. It was pretty funny. I ordered a bottle of wine and a nice dinner. Mixed salad, carne guisada and a tart.
I’m now laying in my bed, drinking the remainder of my wine, it’s after 10:00 and the lights are on!! I’m living on the edge. I’ve told them I’d be down for breakfast at 8:00. Then I’ll make my way on to rejoin the camino. I hope I haven’t caused a rift in my camino karma. It’s been a nice day but I think I miss the way.