Mendigorria, Estella, Logrono, Santo Domingo, to 25/08/04

Ok, havent written for a while, yesterday got to the camp on the riverbank at Logrono and went straight to sleep, 5pm, put the tent up in a daze and slept. My first sleep since the 21st, FRIDAY EVE.
3 nights no sleep, NO sleep.
First saturday, a feria and bullfight all night, gunshots, music, more music, party finished at 0930 on saturday morning, just before we rode through town.
Next - sunday, a cacophany of snoring, a snorers convention, and me in the middle. Frank had had one of those days, just too many miles, I know the feeling, drained completely, so we stopped in Estella.

Puente de Estella
A big site just out of town on a concrete road along the river side, uphill.
In a situation like this you take any site that comes along and this was it, Snoretown.
A day off was needed. Eat, rest, sleep, sightsee, that meant 2 nights there, gulp!
I spent lots of time walking around the site in the middle of the night.
Sleepless day 1 not so bad, Mendigorria to Estella.
Day 2 was a day off, wandered around the town. Lots of history here, I like the feel of this town.

Estella backstreets,photo by John Layte

Iglesia de San Pedro de Rua, Estella

Day 3 was hell, Estella to Logrono, 40 miles in a hazy daze. I dont remember much, hard work and hills, wrong turnings, always the roadsigns but never the town, Logrono in the distance. Waited for Frank at each turning and junction, falling asleep as I stood. Autopilot took over, bulldozer head as G + M say....
Mr Machine, get the job done, I thought I had left this behind in England.
Had Frank worried, fast riding in traffic, snap decisions, instant turns, fast downhills, must be ingrained behaviour, tired and still going.
As I say, I dont remember much.... autopilot.... safe but scary.
Bought some earplugs.
Today, Logrono to Santo Domingo and its motorway again, for the 3rd time on this trip. A12 to N120, uphill and into the mesas, with mountains all around and 50 mile views, Amazing.
Long long hills in 35'C but worth it when you get to the top, flat for half a mile, FLAT, like lincolnshire, then downhill off the other side, looking across empty cornfields at mountains blue in the distance, cliffs, crags and spires, all picked out white by the sun.
Jagged horizons.
Riding with this guy may be doing me some good, at the top of the hills he is 1/2 a cigarette behind, but always pedalling, not pushing.
He's mostly a dot in my mirror for the best part of the day, but an 11 mph dot. I cant race off, push the hills, do the 60 to 80 miles a day with this guy. I cant spin myself into complete exhaustion every day, which is what I am used to and have been doing every day for years....maybe this pace is a good thing.... maybe.

This Camino business is not just a road trip, its psychological as well, I have to adjust to what I find all the time, whether thats 50C in Buzy and Foix, or 5C in Canfranc (without the windchill). From isolation not knowing the language, to thinking twice talking to someone that doesnt have English as a first language. From no food for days to a glut when I find a good shop. From exhuastion and still need to move on, to resting and restless, waiting for someone else to recover. Sights and sounds changing constantly, familiar situations handled in a different, foreign way. I need to think twice so as not to offend, hmmmm.... a long way to Santiago de Compostelle in more than one way.

Logrono, busy metropolitan town, beggars at the cafe next to well dressed business people, pedestrian crossings, they dont have that inane imaginationless beep beep they have in England, they play birdsong!! The green man lights up here and canaries start whistling, haha, nice.
to be continued.....tired and a queue for the internet machine.



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