Day 7 – Torres del Rio to Logroño

I hesitate to write the blog now because it feels like so little has happened. It’s 2pm and I’m already checked into my albergue in Logroño, already showered and thinking about what I will do with my time now. 

Today’s walk, though short (12-13 miles), was a bit more frustrating because the guide showed only a couple hills, but it felt like there were many and some very steep. The scenery was also less exciting, as I can tell from how few pictures I took. 

However once we got into the town of Viana life on the Camino got better. We had snacks and explored the historic city. I found a geocache and then we were on our way. 

It was a pretty easy walk to Logroño after Viana, so the time moved by quickly. We checked into an albergue recommended by another pilgrim and are very happy with it. Our room has been completely redone and everything smells new and clean. It’s a 10 person room and currently I’m the only one not from Germany. This feels like some of my work trips. 🙂 The view from here is great…

I’ll be heading outside to explore soon and tapas are on the menu for dinner tonight! 

Can’t believe I’m already a week into my Camino. Just four more weeks and I’ll be in Santiago. I know there will be a lot of boring days ahead on the Meseta, but so far I’m loving this adventure. 

Day 6 – Ayegui to Torres del Rio

I’m sitting on the balcony of what seems like a five-star hotel after a creepy night last night in a basement albergue. It’s not a five-star hotel, but the shower here made me feel like a million bucks. I even got to use a full size towel! Heck, I might even take another shower tonight…just because I can! 

I told myself that I could stay in a hotel once a week so I could sleep in a comfortable bed and feel like a normal person. Not that I haven’t stayed in some comfortable albergues, but after last night, I deserved a good night’s rest in my own room. 

Today has been a great day! We started off at 6:30 this morning and took the Camino detour through the Bodega winery. On the walk up to its famous fountain a fox stopped in the road to check us out, then went on his way. Once we arrived at the fountain we quickly emptied our water bottles. At this fountain you have a choice between water or wine. Unfortunately there were only a few drops of wine left. So we had to opt for water. It was before 7am after all. 

On the road to the next villages we headed. We wondered all day if we’d see any friends from our first night. Or our Austrian friend that we keep meeting along the way. Instead of seeing them we saw some beautiful scenery.

We stopped in Los Arcos where many pilgrims would be staying for the night and saw a few familiar faces. Then it was off to the final destination of Torres del Rio. 

The scenery continues to be amazing. Around each hill you see another beautiful sight. One section reminded me of a cross between the Palouse region and southern Idaho. The mountains in the distance today were stunning. There seems to be no end of poppies, thistles, cute villages and interesting bugs along the way.

I’ll be doing the pilgrims dinner tonight where I’ve already decided on the veal steak. Yum! Tomorrow, for the first time in the Camino I will “sleep in” until 6:30! It’s only a short 21km (13 mile) walk tomorrow so that will make it the shortest day yet! 

Day 5 – Puenta la Reina to Ayegui

Sitting in the basement of an old gym in probably the creepiest place I’ve ever had to try to sleep. This is my albergue for tonight. All I can say, is I deserve a night in a hotel soon. There are a total of 5 other people staying here. Two older men, a couple and my new friend Eva. Oh,  6 others if you count the dead spider on my bed. 

Oh well, this will make me stronger right? Now the Italian couple is taking pictures to show their friends and family how creepy the place is. 

Anyway, other than a weird place to sleep, the day was good. Another beautiful morning that led us through cute little villages.

In the first one we visited, I noticed that a bunch of older guys were starting to gather, including one with an accordion. Shortly after they left, an older woman told us in Spanish that they’d be performing down the street at 8. So we walked down to watch them before leaving. The same woman explained to us that they walk around the whole village to wake everyone up. Then they all feast on bacon and eggs. 

The rest of the day was more beautiful countryside and cute villages. 

Tomorrow will be a long day, but I think my body is getting used to the Camino. Still have no blisters or ailments other than my usual knee pain flaring up on occasion. I am finding that switching to my flip flops for the last bit of walking gives my feet the incentive they need to keep going. 

Day 4 – Cizur Menor to Puenta la Reina

I’m writing this from the terrace of the albergue and there’s a thunderstorm off in the distance. So I may have to head inside soon. 

Even with little sleep last night (insomnia, not loud snorers), the first part of today was perfect. A beautiful walk through rolling farm fields, looking ahead at the mountain we would be crossing. 

The point where we’d cross the top was something I’ve been looking forward to as it’s the location of the Monument of the Pilgrims. If you’ve watched the movie The Way, you would have seen this in one of the scenes. It’s a beautiful monument with amazing views. And a geocache!

While the scenery was still beautiful, the steep downhill caused my bad knee to start aching. Nothing unbearable, just annoying. Then the heat settled in, so my lack of sleep kicked in. One foot in front of the other as my dad’s advice recommends.

The villages we walked through were all cute and quiet. Once we arrived at Puenta la Reina, we planned to get beds at the albergue at the end of town. Though it was advertised as 200 meters away, it was more like a kilometer away, up a steep hill. Frustrated with how far away it was from civilization, we went back and checked in to another albergue in the heart of the city. Here is the view from the 8 person room…

After a shower I tried a local bar/cafe for lunch where I got one of the best frozen pizzas ever. Turns out I could have saved 3.50 euro and picked that same pizza up at the local super mercado. When you’re  tired and hungry, you’re not too picky.  

Still blister free and enjoying this amazing adventure. It’s funny, every town we go to, we seem to already know half the people there. Heck, those people probably slept in the same room as us the night before! So no place really feels like I’m in a foreign country, even though it looks different from home. 

Day 3 -Larrasoaña to Cizur Menor

Today has been the easiest day yet – only 14-15 miles, though it’s been tiring in its own way. Though there wasn’t a ton of elevation gain, the warm sun zapped me of most of my energy. I still enjoyed the day though.

We started our day early so that we could make it to Pamplona in decent time. It was the perfect morning for walking. The trail started off following a river and farm fields. Got to see some really cute baby horses that weren’t shy at all. Then we headed through a less exciting, industrial section outside Pamplona.

Though Pamplona was not the final destination, we did spend a couple hours exploring the city. Walking in some of the footsteps of Hemingway. I even stood next to him in one of his favorite watering holes.

I found a geocache outside the arena the bulls run into. After a much needed slice of pizza and a beer, we got on our way to Cizur Menor.

The walk to Cizur Menor was hot, so reaching the albergue was an exciting moment of the day. After day 3 my body is tired, but still going strong. No blisters to report. Hopefully that continues!

Wifi isn’t so great here, so I’m using a desktop computer provided by the albergue to write this. The town has a meat place and a vegetarian place for dinner options according to the host of the albergue, so I’m going to opt for the meat place for dinner tonight. Wish me luck!

Day 2 – Roncesvalles to Larrasoaña

Today was an “easy” day. Easy until we saw that last sign that said 2km to our destination. We thought for sure we were almost there. Oh well, all checked in now at a comfortable albergue in Larrasoaña. 

While beautiful, today was not as picturesque as yesterday. I’ll be surprised if any day can beat the beauty of crossing the Pyrenees. 

In the morning we walked on a nice forest  trail, through farm country where we shared the road with horses, since that was their home. We walked through various cute villages and then up through the mountains. 

By early afternoon we crossed the famous holy bridge in to Zubiri. I took my shoes off and soaked them in the river, along with my phone. The phone miraculously still works. In Zubiri we met up with housemates from our first night and had a nice break there for drinks and snacks. 

The popular Brierley guide maps out the days for you if you want to follow it and be done in about 34 days. That guide suggests you stay in Zubiri, but we moved on to a recommended albergue in Larrasoaña. It was worth the extra 5km walk, as now we have a short walk to Pamplona. Since it’s a short walk, I’ll likely do a tour of Pamplona and head on farther tomorrow. I will definitely be stopping at the famous Hemingway bar where his sculpture is before moving on. 

As we were sitting outside the albergue eating dinner, I realized that 8 of the people from our house of 20 the first night all ended up here at the same place. Even though we walk at different paces we are still connected. It makes me appreciate the family style albergue in St. Jean. 

Though tired, my feet are still in good shape and I’m ready for more walking again tomorrow. I like to think that’s because I switched to my flip flops for the last 5km today. 😉

NOTE: I was finally able to upload photos for yesterday’s post, so see below for those. 

Day 1 – St. Jean to Roncesvalles 

Today was a day. It was challenging. It was beautiful. It was rewarding. Mother Nature acted in our favor – it was absolutely the perfect weather for the 15+ miles we walked. My Fitbit says I’m closer to 18 miles….it’s usually a mile or so over the actual distance though. Either way, my feet know they got a work out. 
I walked all day with Eva from Germany. She was on my shuttle from the airport and one of my roommates in St. Jean. We were both anxious to get going so left at 6:45am. On the walk, we met people from all over Europe and the United States. We powered through the day and arrived at Roncesvalles around 2:30pm.

We walked through sheep and horse fields. Even saw a few new baby horses! 

The albergue I’m in is definitely not as “family” style as the one last night but it has everything I need. Here is my “house”for tonight…

I paid the 3.50 euro to have my clothes washed and dried for me – worth every penny! Dinner is at 7 and then there’s a pilgrim’s mass after. We will see if can stay awake that! 

St. Jean

I’m sitting outside my albergue using wifi from the pilgrim’s office. Today has been a great day of easy travel and beautiful sights. This town is about as charming as it gets and makes for the perfect jumping off point for the Camino. It has everything you need – not that I didn’t overpack already. 

My albergue came highly recommended and I can see why. I don’t have to sleep in bunk bed tonight! I’m sharing my room with two other pilgrims that I met at the airport. We were picked up by the same shuttle service and by chance we all ended up at the same albergue. 

I walked around the town exploring, found a geocache and tried a local Basque beer. 

I also checked in at the pigrim’s office and got my credential stamped. I’ll be getting this stamped at most of the places I stop along the way. Luckily I got to the office before the line formed. Our shuttle driver said about 500-600 pigrim’s leave from St. Jean a day. No matter where you walk in this town, you see pilgrims – all ages, from all over the world. 

Tomorrow will be one of the hardest days, with almost 4,000 feet elevation gain and 15 miles. It’s forecast to rain. At least I’m prepared for rain. Though the countryside is so beautiful that I’d like to enjoy the views! 

Tomorrow this is the bridge I’ll cross to start my journey…


I made it to Paris…though I spent about 4 hours waiting in painfully long lines and traffic between the time I left the plane and finally reaching downtown. But with the limited time I had, I made the most of it. And I got my last 13 mile training walk logged in the process! 

I’ll definitely need to return to Paris someday for a proper visit but loved everything I saw. 

Tomorrow I take off for Biarritz. Then a shuttle service will take me to St. Jean. Wednesday, I start walking. I’m nervous and excited at the same time. 

Today is the day!

If my life were a Dr. Seuss book, it would be “Oh The Places You’ll Go.” I’m always looking for that next adventure. Today is the start of that next adventure. My friend is picking me up to take me to the airport soon and then it’s off to Paris!

I’m so incredibly thankful for all the people who have encouraged me and cheered me on along the way. So many have been or are playing a role in this adventure, whether it’s feeding my fish, covering my work or just following my blog. This is not my journey – it’s our journey. I’m just the one walking it.

For now I leave you with an excerpt (with one minor edit) from one of the most inspirational books of my life.

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself 
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the gal who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ’em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, 
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.

It’s opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And then things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.


-Dr. Seuss