Sunday, July 13, 2014

July 13, 2014 -- Viana, Spain

Today I walked 18.6 km (11.6) miles from Los Arcos to here. I arrived before noon and had lots of time to go on, but after about 10 miles of carrying my pack, my legs start to feel tired, and I begin to think it is time to put down the pack and do some sightseeing. Viana is an interesting place, large enough to qualify as a genuine town. It is apparently out of the Basque Country, because today I say only signs in Spanish and none in Basque, and the only flag I saw today was the flag of Spain.

I am also on the edge of the province of Navarre. Tomorrow I pass into the province of La Rioja, famous for its wines.

It was chilly when I started before daybreak this morning, but the sky was clear, and the sun had some warmth in it. Now, at about 2:30 pm, the temperature is about 70F, and people are complaining about the heat. To me it seems perfect.

The rules say that you may do the Camino on foot, on a bicycle, or on horseback. Until yesterday, I didn't see anyone doing it on horseback until two young women came riding up on these steeds, which promptly started munching the hostel lawn.

The cyclists who do the Camino generally ride either mountain or touring bikes on the rural roads, which have low traffic. On Sundays the local mountain bikers ride the trails, and they tend to become a nuisance. They favor the steepest, narrowest, and most rugged parts of the trail, and we have to step off the trail to let them pass. They are mostly polite and say "gracias" and "buen camino" as they pass, and we are polite enough not to respond with what is going through our minds. The two bikes in the following picture were parked at the hostel at Los Arcos last night.

If I do the Camino again, it will be on a touring bike.

Below is a "selfie"that I took this morning as I approached Sansol. The village doesn't show up well in the background, but I am using my cell phone as a camera.

I wore my "slacker" T-shirt today for an Irish guy that I've seen every day for the past week. He is writing a weekly column on his Camino for an Irish newspaper. I met him again a few minutes ago as he was walking into town, and he got his picture. I don't know if that means that Slacker Quinn will be famous in Ireland.

However, I do seem to be getting a reputation on the Camino. Gossip travels with the pilgrims, and when I am wearing my slacker T-shirt, I will frequently meet somebody who says, "I've heard about you." I also finally met the woman from Tucson today, whom I've been hearing about for days.

And to finish up, below are some pictures I took this afternoon while walking around Viana. The first is a picture of one of the town gates. I will walk through that gate and a second one one the other side of town when I leave im the morning. Notice the yellow stylized drawing of a clam shell above the arch. That symbol and yellow arrows are the most common methods used to mark the Camino for pilgrims. You have to look for one or the other, usually both, at every crossroads and side trail to make sure you stay on the route. I learned that lesson the hard way.

Here is a picture taken near the cathedral. The bare legs under the shade tree belong to young women pilgrims who are taking a break before pushing onto Logroño, which I should hike through tomorrow.

And finally, here's a group that was roaming through the town center this afternoon, stopping every block or two to sing a few songs. When I snapped this picture, they had just finished singing No volveré, a song that I associate with Mexico and Pedro Infante.

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