Thursday, 26 February 2009

The night at Los Arcos was spent in the Albeque as per normal. It was nothing to shout about. Los Arcos is one of those towns that does not have much to commend it. It is old, but so am I.The only memory of that town, is a bar on the south side of the road through. This was the first place that I saw the long distance filling of a glass with cider from a barrel trick. The barrel is a large vertical thing with taps on the side. This small tap produces a long jet of fluid that the barman or in my case woman fires into a glass at some distance, say a metre, from the tap Very impressive. But if that is all that they have for entertainment, it quickly palls. On leaving the town we pass the graveyard, which has the legend carved in stone over the entrance 'Where you are, I was once'. The way my body feels today, I feel that I am with you already. Today is a beautiful gentle walk to Viana. The large church in the centre is open and the Christian community is one of the most welcoming on the Camino. On another trip I met their priest. He was not at all like the people. Perhaps they could swop notes.The people seem to have a continuous rota of welcome for pilgrims. In this church, in the season of Easter, they have a very beautiful black Madonna, with silver stars around her head. I took a picture,but as it has the shakes I will not exhibit it here. I hope to get a chance to photograph it again this May (09). This town on the hill has a most fantastic view towards Logrono. Whilst I was there, they were repairing the road to Logrono, so it was easy to walk the straight road without traffic,rather than go through the fields. The picture at the head of this page is the view from the town of Viana. Beyond the view of the picture are gardens that lead down into the City of Logrono. From a distance the hills on the south side of the city have an odd look to them. They are the only hills that I know of that seem to have had the tops taken off. It gives an appearance of leveling to provide a Spaceport for some ancient star going local population. I could just imagine a huge Space freighter the size of one of our oil tankers descending onto the flat top. Well I can dream like the next man! . Logrono Albeque is a modern, well appointed establishment. The pilgrim is often met by a local who is also Mayor of the City. He is great. Welcoming, friendly and helpful. A real friend to pilgrims. It was he who taught me the reply to thank you is 'not at all, or it is nothing', 'da nada'. I hope he was truthful. I have said it to many people. A walk around the town a meal and bed. It was a day without any alarms and I was beginning to realize that I might make it after all.


  1. I was very glad to reach and stay in Los Arcos. I had already walked many days before getting there- I started in Le Puy- but somehow I felt 'lost' in the landscape after Monjardin. Unusually, I almost felt 'panicky' with all the twists and turns, and no sight of the village ahead. So I was relieved to reach Los Arcos. And I was there in June, when more people were around. Friendly Belgian hospitaleros greeted us, and there was an opportunity to have a foot/leg massage. As I was suffering painful ankles, I was very glad to make use of this chance. (The first thing he told me was that I needed to drink more- perhaps being a little dehydrated accounted for my 'mood' of the afternoon.) Then too, I was invited to share the evening meal with a group of Irish pilgrims, and that also stands as a special memory of Los Arcos.

  2. Los Arcos was one of our favorite places! Arriving on Easter Sunday we were able to see the parade with all the floats which were fantastic but the real pleasure was the warmth and welcome of the local people. Easter mass was so crowded that we had to go up to the choir but we got great views of the service and of the wonderful painted organ- each pipe has a portrait of an enthusiastic 17th century chorister singing his heart out his painted mouth concealing the pipe intake its great fun! There are cranes on the church steeple, kids playing that 'ball against a wall game' on the courts near the hotel so the mums and dads get to sit and have a drink whilst keeping and eye on the bigger kids and there is a little playground for the little ones. Good food and a lovely walk the next day to Viana. On so many occasions, when we had no expectations of town or village, it was the kindness and warmth of the people these are the places that made so much more of an impression on us than rather grander places. So heres to Los Arcos, Najera and Belorado to name a few of the Caminos 'ugly duckling towns'- but remember if you give them a chance and they can turn into swans.