Let’s do a quick recap on where we started with the big cities on the Camino:
- Pamplona was absolutely beautiful and we loved our (short) time there. You can read about our first big city on the Camino here.
The next few towns each had their own beauty (I wish I could write about each and every one, but for now … let’s concentrate on the cities).
To get to our next big city, namely Logroño, we slept in 3 towns and walked a total of 95.8km. For the purpose of this post, we chose one highlight per day (which was pretty hard to do)! Here they are:
Day 1: Puente la Reina (24.2km):
On the highest point of the day, Alto del Perdon. A popular photo in any pilgrim’s book, the wrought iron representation of medieval pilgrims
(You can read about the hiking of Day 1 here)
Day 2: Estella (21.9km)
Early morning at the Wine Fountain (Bodegas Irache) outside Estella
(You can read about the hiking of Day 2 here)
Day 3: Los Arcos (21.1km)
A bar in the middle of a farm field
(You can read about the hiking of Day 3 here)
Day 4: Logroño (28.6km)
Logroño is the capital of the province of La Rioja
(You can read about the hiking of Day 4 here)
You might recognise the name “La Rioja” from our previous post. Indeed, that was on the label of that bottle of red wine in Pamplona! Logroño is famous for its red wine, as well as for being a stopover for pilgrims on the Camino.
Co-Cathedral of Santa Maria de la Redonda
Two elaborately decorated towers, each containing a set of bells
The history of Logroño:
The name Lucronio was first used in a document from 965 and the current name, Logroño was first documented in 1095. Which mean we slept in yet another old city on the Camino. It was declared a city in 1431 (which meant it was now not a ‘village’ anymore).
Logroño’s economy is heavily reliant on wine and to our surprise (and delight) there were over 50 tapas restaurants within a four-block area near the town center (and also close to where we stayed for the night)!
Although we walked the Camino in spring and therefor before the peak season (which is normally June, July and August), we still had to keep our fingers crossed to find accommodation. We never booked a bed ahead and just walked in good faith that we will have a bed at the end of each day!
The entrance to Hostel Entresuenos
On this day, when we arrived in Logroño, we got the last two beds available in the hostel! There are probably more than 10 rooms with some of the rooms having multiple beds (we slept in a dormitory with 18 beds)!
Our beds for the evening (the top one was mine)
We were very happy that the hostel was located in the heart of the Old Town where there were many tapas restaurants … not far to go for dinner.
A street musician
In our search for a supermarket (to buy snacks for the next day’s hike), we walked all the way to the end of the pedestrian zone of Plaza del Alferez. Here we found a beautiful water fountain within the roundabout.
We were once again overwhelmed by the amazing architecture (as we were in Pamplona).
Amazing detail on the buildings
As mentioned, we walked the Camino Frances in spring, which was also very close to Easter weekend. It was here in Logroño that we first saw the processions by the Roman Catholic church community to start celebrating Easter weekend. Since we are not Catholic, it was something we have never experienced. Although it was unfamiliar to us, the music and the rhythmic drums were astonishing to witness.
When we reached Logroño, we had already walked the Camino for 5 consecutive days. Long gone was the feeling of being a tourist, as it was in Pamplona. We were now pilgrims and evenings were spent with our fellow pilgrims – pilgrims who have now become friends.
Another street musician close to the tapas restaurant where we enjoyed dinner
This is how it was this specific evening in Logroño. We were a big group of pilgrims that found a lively tapas restaurant and gathered at one of the outside tables. Spaniards, Australians, a guy from the USA, Ireland and Kazakhstan and us being from South Africa … all I can honestly say is that it was one of the best evenings on the Camino Frances.
Pilgrim friends. Left to right: John (Ireland), Conchi (Spain) and Carl (USA)
La Granjera Park:
This was the perfect end to our evening in Logroño and we could have ended this post right here. But there are just a couple more photos in our archive about Logroño to show cast the beauty of this city. As we left Logroño early the next morning, we have walked through another beautiful green park, La Granjera Park.
A reservoir that was built towards the end of the 19th century
Leaving Logroño behind
Logroño is certainly a great city to visit, not just as a pilgrim, but also as a tourist.
The next big city on the Camino has one of the most beautiful cathedrals we have ever seen. More about that in our next post.