I could hear the rain falling all night. We were staying in a three star hotel and were in no hurry to wake up since breakfast would not be served until eight. Had a rare morning shower and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast. We stepped outside and put on our trusty parkas and headed out of town a little after nine. It was soon raining hard with the wind blowing in our face. Stopped at an abandoned hermitage with a nice porch and put on rain pants and gloves. It was cold. The day ahead looked bleak.
We were nearing the high point on our 18 km walk and it stopped raining. Of course, as soon as you take off your head cover, it starts to rain again. We passed on stopping for coffee in Ventosa and plodded on. We started to catch some of our compadres by 11. The French Girls first and then Jacque as we neared our destination of Najera. Passed a couple of wine bodegas that were closed. Probably a good thing. Reached a gravel plant on the outskirts of Najera and reached our Albergue about 12:40. That left us time to find a bar for tapas and limon for Peggy and Cerveza for me.
Now things started to click. Checked into the Albergue and got the keys to our private room with a private bath. Very unusual in an Albergue. We did not complain. The sun came out although there are scattered clouds that make it immediately cool. We found an open Zapateria (shoe repairs) and told the owner about my problem with stinky shoes. Peggy barely has the problem. Now this is not surprising since the boots have been worn continuously for a month and a half in near perfect fungal conditions. They never dry. The shoe guy sold us a magic container. We will see if it works. We have been able to somewhat regularly find washing machines for clothes. Shoes are tougher.
Najera is a delight. A river separates the new and old towns. Along the river bank are parks and bars with large gatherings of pilgrims. Our Albergue has a perfect vending machine full of 1 Euro Cerveza. I am writing within 10 feet of this wonderful contraption.
Now we have walked from one end of Navarre to the other. We are in the state of Rioja. We are now 580 Kms to Santiago. I remember the 780 sign in Roncevalles a week or so ago. Tomorrow we will have done almost 1000 Kms since leaving Le Puy last month. So far so good.
Passed by the location where Roland slew the Moorish giant, Ferragut, with a stone. I think I heard that story before. Anyway, Roland freed Charlemagne’s knights who were being held by Ferragut. I just remember the closed Bodega. So much for history. Najera has quite a history. The name is from an Arab word meaning between the rocks. That is an accurate description of the place. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Navarre in the 11th and 12th Centuries. We plan to go to the church where the kings and queens of Navarre are buried after siesta.
I am knocking at the door of the convent. They ignored my pleas. The beehive hut is like many we saw in France. Good place for a goatherd or pilgrim in distress.