The clouds threatened rain, and the bitter cold wind rushed through the narrow streets of Viana. I bundled up and wore rain pants for the first time. After taking photos of the church across from the hotel, I passed through a portal and headed down a hill and into a rural area. It was little warmer below, but soon, I felt the first rain-drops. I took off my backpack and put on my poncho just as the rain stopped. I took off my backpack, put my poncho away, but moments later, the rain started to fall, and I went through the procedure again. I was already frustrated… From Page 66, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days. Oh, the joys of walking in Spain during a late bout of winter. It’s all part of the journey.
On my last post, On The Camino De Santiago in Spain, Villamayor de Monjardín to Los Arcos, I stopped at the tiny monastery at El Poyo, before descending through a scenic valley of vineyards and flowers to the old town of Viana with the region of La Rioja not far away. Now, I’ll continue with my journey on the Camino de Santiago. Even if you don’t have my book, you can still enjoy this post, and learn more about walking the French Way or Camino Francés (map from Wikipedia Commons).
The exit from old Viana is through this portal, a figure or icon watching over.
After descending a short hill and passing through the outskirts of Viana, the Camino enters a rural area, with farmland and mustard flowers lining the path.
As more and more vineyards appeared, I entered the province and and autonomous region of La Rioja, one of Spain’s most important wine producing regions. The area has a Mediterranean climate, and normally receives ample rain to support its centuries-old wine industry. According to the Wikipedia page, Rioja is certified D.O.C.: Qualified Designation of Origin. D.O.C. also includes wines produced in parts of the Basque region and the province of Álava. The town of Haro has an annual wine festival which involves a wine fight. One day, I hope to take part in this festival. It looks like fun.
The impressive Puente de Piedra spans the Río Ebro. Logroño is the capital of La Rioja and one of the largest cities along the Camino.
This religious memorial stood on the other side of the bridge. Across the street was a pilgrim information center where you can ask questions and pick up a map.
These buildings adorned the river bank on the edge of the old city.
The rather quiet streets as I entered the old city of Logroño. Please be careful when walking narrow streets such as these. Some of the drivers will speed through with little consideration for pedestrians.
The beautiful retablo inside the 16th century Iglesia de Santiago.
The façade at the entrance of the Iglesia de Santiago.
One of the carvings outside the Iglesia de Santiago is of Santiago Matamoros or St. James The Moor-Slayer. Santiago Matamoros is a legend important to the culture and history of Spain. However, the figure is controversial in the present day, and may be offensive to Islamic and other peoples.
Below the carving of Santiago Matamoros, is the one of Santiago Peregrino. The Confraternity of Saint James has an article, St James: Santiago Peregrino. Notes on the icon in memory of Stephen Badger, written by Sister Petra, discussing the icon of Santiago Peregrino in various scenes.
An interesting sculpture.
The fountain at the end of the old city.
The Camino through the old city was relatively quiet with few shops and restaurants. lf you require food or supplies, take a left from the Camino to the Calle de Portales. However, please remember there are larger supermarkets along the Camino in the modern part of the city. We’ll get there soon. The Calle de Portales is the place for relaxing on a cafe patio, especially on a sunny day. An important building you don’t want to miss is ahead.
This plaza was also quiet on the cool morning.
The Iglesia de Santa María la Redonda was the main church in Logroño. According to Gitlitz & Davidson on page 126 in The Pilgrimage Road To Santiago, it’s actually a “concathedral” where it shares a Bishop with two other cathedrals. Apparently, this is the only such case in Spain.
This entranceway, delicately carved in stone, was not in use.
Colourful Logroño as the skies began to clear.
Young pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela.
From the old city of Logroño, the Camino followed a busy road through a modern, bustling area with shops, restaurants, and businesses of all kinds. Here I found my favorite supermarket in all of Spain. Mercadona had a good selection of food and supplies at reasonable prices.
I’ll stop here at the Mercadona where I bought so much, I had to carry a shopping bag since little would fit in my backpack. My day on the Camino was by no means finished though. On my next post, On The Camino de Santiago in Spain, Logroño To Ventosa, I’ll take you on a peaceful walk through a forested park, to some of the most beautiful vineyards on the French Way. Please join me.
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