Monday, May 2, 2022

Day 9 - 1 May - Logroño to Ventosa

As The Beautiful South famously sung:

This could be Rotterdam or Amsterdam              

On any day or week                                             

Or Paris, Rome or Ventosa                                  

It’s English they all speak.

The city of Logroño knows how to party. Up to around 6.00 a.m. as it happens but notwithstanding all that we both caught our best night’s kip of the adventure so far and awoke ready for action. Having said that, we didn’t fancy a second consecutive day of eighteen miles so we had already booked today’s accommodation at a rather more civilised distance of twelve miles. We breakfasted at Bar Calenda in the centre of the old town and then hit the road at around half past eight. It can take a while to exit the big cities but the path out of Logroño was routed through a park which then morphed into a walking/ cycling/ running route all the way to the Parque de la Grajera complete with woodland paths, lake and separate waterway full of mutant sea bass. Okay, that last bit comes from an Austin Powers film but these fish, whatever species, were certainly huge and ugly.

Beyond the park, the path and scenery became a little more scrubby and from time to time we found ourselves walking on pathways adjacent to busy roads. After around eight miles we arrived at the town of Navarette and, like so many seemingly unassuming little Spanish towns, the old town was a gem. We fed and watered then sat in the sunshine for a while before setting off towards our ultimate destination of Ventosa. 

We saw our first stork, minding its own business sat on a huge nest on the top of an industrial chimney and we expect the storks to become a regular sight over the next few days.

The road out of Navarrete was just that, a road. We had a couple of miles of boring before taking an off-road path which led us through fields of neatly laid out vines and olive trees. Ventosa was now only around two miles away and the scenery was improving and worthy of a few snaps on the i-phone. When you arrive at Ventosa, the first thing you see is a bar. And it would be rude not to wouldn’t it?

There’s not too much to Ventosa which suited us fine. One bar, one hotel and a church was just about the sum total of the place. We spent the afternoon relaxing, allowing the Spanish sun to work its magic on legs and feet, before our “fellowship meal” at the hotel with the other guests, they being Harriet from London, Rob and Jessie from Holland and Isabelle and Jean-Francois from France. I know it’s getting boring my saying this but everyone was really nice. When it comes to our European cousins generally I especially like the Dutch and Rob guffawed at all of my jokes so I really liked him.  I have decided to refer to Jean-Francois as JF because typing JF is much easier than Jean-Francois. Anyway, JF is very, very French - think of a cross between Charles Aznavour and David Ginola. Tall and charming, he is a wine producer in Saint Emilion, probably owns a vineyard and I bet he wears his jumpers over the shoulders rather than putting them on properly.

Everybody speaks bloody English. No wonder I can’t find anyone to practice my Spanish on. When I went to the bar earlier to order a couple of beers, the bloke behind the bar looked at me quizzically and uttered those immortal words. “Que?” Perhaps I should have ordered in English. Or asked JF to order them for me. He could charm the habit off a nun.

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