Yesterday (May Day), was a long walk on a beautiful day. Started the day in the dark and thought that I was the first out of town after a good nights sleep. That was until I came upon Ivano, a friend I have been walking and visiting with for a couple of days now. Ivano is from Milan and a recently retired officer in the Italian military’s Mountaineering corp. He is a very sweet man who is very excited about the birth of his 1st grandchild in October. Ivano kept me busy for a couple of hours working on his English. He has tried to help me with my Italian, but you only imagine how that is going, non va bene. After awhile we spread out, which is the way of most days. Pilgrims spread across the width of Spain, not just for 800km but for centuries.
Oh look, another vineyard – as the miles past so did the vineyards – for this is La Rioja, one of the finest wine regions in the world (take my word for it, the wine is good and cheap – a bottle included with most pilgrims meals (no cost)). Even though there is no fruit on the vines until the fall the air still smells of grapes – it is lovely. One vineyard after another as the path rolled on.
By 2:30 I was walking into Najera, just over 40km (right under 30 miles) from where I had begun my day. I was not the only person traveling the Camino that date day who did not realize that it was May Day, a national holiday and the day of a big Renaissance fair in town, fun, but also meant that not a bed in town was available except at the municipal albergue (never my 1st choose or 2nd for that matter – a couple of euros can get you much better lodging). So I spent the night in one room with four toilets and 89 of my closest friends, most of whom I will never know but I have heard snore, caught and fart in their sleep (did I mention snore – free wine and all). That said I was so tired I got a good nights sleep.