Wed 23 Sep - Day 9: Torres Del Rio to Logroño 21km

165km walked, 621km left to walk. 

Breakfast was completed 7.15am and Mark from Ottawa, today's walking companion, and I were on our way not long thereafter. It was my earliest start to date. 

Part of the reason for an early departure was also that today's destination, the town of Logroño has a wine festival happening. A safe bet would be that a lot of peregrinos would probably like to stop there. 

A bit of early morning vortexing but with notes underneath the rock piles. 
The vortexing field also contained a cross so there is obviously a good reason for it all. 

Today's Camino was different again. The track went up and down and sideways and back and forth and next to vines and olive groves. 

The weather was quite cool and good walking weather with a few spits of rain. 
Comedians have been here. Comments like "first free albergue" and "free wifi" were written on rocks of this shelter. 
And the Camino goes on and on and on...
Mark and I had our single longer stop for the day in this cute little town called Viana. 
On the other side of Viana, on the wall of an underpass, this familiar artwork could be seen. It has been depicted many times in various Camino forums. 
Then we arrived at what I instantly called the "Love Bridge".
Why? As we arrived, 2 pilgrims on bike were at the top of it kissing. There were also a multitude of love declarations written / carved onto and into the bridge. 
My message was not much about love. 
OK, I need to include country of origin too. 
Nice view from the "Love Bridge".
A very straight road means that one can assume there had been accidents or near misses between pilgrims and speeding vehicles. Hence the likely need to build the bridge. Viana in the background. 
Soon we were leaving the Navarra province... enter Spain's top wine producing region, La Rioja. 
4km to go to Logroño. Not far. 
We arrived before noon in Logroño after crossing this bridge. 
The first albergue we checked out didn't open until 1pm. 

The next albergue was along a busy  thoroughfare called Calle Portales. It was also in the same block as the cathedral. 
A parade was already in progress at noon. A bed for 10€, taken. 
Even though the dorm faces out on to Calle Portales (the 2 windows with bars)
After the usual pilgrim housekeeping duties, I skyped Good Mrs back home in Melbourne. Great to see her and hear her voice after 2 1/2 weeks. 

A short walk in the vicinity and I bumped into a number of fellow pilgrims, among them Daina and 2 lady friends as well as The Aussie and The Pom from yesterday. 

Looking for a simple bite to eat to tie me over to dinner, i found a bar selling these skewers for an amazing 1€.60 each. 
I think the skewers are called Crianzas and i have no idea what meat it was, but it was absolutely delicious. 
Yes, I had a second skewer. 

A few more pics along Calle Portales. 

This towering figure must be part of the festival somehow. The guy inside kept sliding and almost falling. Maybe heavy. 
It is Wednesday 3pm. 
Logroño was alive. Don't they ever work?
How you end up if you arrive too late or haven't made a bed booking. I think that these guys were pondering their next move outside our hostel. 
Dinner was a 3 Americans, 1 Canadian and me affair. 
I finally ordered the Cordero, the roast lamb. 
The Cordero tasted OK but the quantity once you remove bones and fat was minuscule. 

Daina seemed to like her vegetarian choice. Great presentation. 
We finished dinner around 8.30pm and there was only me left as all the others went back to base. The restaurant was at the end of a park and you could hear distant music and see colorful lights. 

I decided to check out the action. 
What!!! The music sounded familiar. Yes they were doing an ABBA medley...
I then decided that it was time for me to walk back to the hostel as well. 
Logroño was coming to life at 9pm. It was pumping. But it was not for me. I was getting cold and withdrew. 

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