I woke up at 6am, got my things together, and was ready to head out on my own. I said goodbye to the girl’s I was hiking with yesterday and started on my way to Sansol. I love traveling with other people, but it’s always nice to have time to myself. It gives you opportunity to think and reflect, while you better yourself through your independence. The weather was beautiful and after a while of hiking, I finally arrived in Sansol. Once I got there, I found a good spot to grab some breakfast and happened to meet two other Americans! They were a couple from Atlanta who were traveling on the first half of the Camino. They were really upbeat, fun to talk to, and extremely motivating, which I appreciated. After a good conversation, we gave each other high fives and then I continued on my way. Funny enough, I soon ran into the girls I left that morning who I was hiking with the day before! We decided to travel together yet again. After a fun walk to the next town, we wished each other good luck and parted ways for the last time. This is how it works on the Camino. You form small groups and support each other further along the trail until you part and repeat the process with another group. Even though it sounds a bit sad, it’s actually very encouraging! I really like it because you don’t feel stuck to anyone and you still have free reign to travel the way you want. It’s also amazing when you come across familiar faces yet again and you’re reminded that you’re not alone.
After another 10km, I walk into Vienna and it wasn’t long before I ran into my Italian hiking rivals! I have secretly been competing against them on this journey, but it’s all for fun and entertainment! I bought some food from a local market and sat and had my lunch on these beautiful church ruins that I found. It blows my mind how structures can last for so long. If only walls could talk, I’m sure they would have so much history to teach us! Once I was done with my lunch, I was ready to head out of town after a nice short stop. On my way out, I saw the Italians again and we ended up deciding to hike together to the next city, Logrono. Logrono is the capital of the La Rioja province and a prominent stop on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. One of it’s main features is the Cathedral Santa Maria de la Redonda. The Cathedral has twin baroque towers, an elaborate facade, and is adorned in an image by the great Michelangelo. When my Italian companions and I arrived, we found a donativo (donation based place to stay) and began to explore the city. During our exploration, I ran into the Irish girls I was traveling with before! We made plans to go out for drinks later and then I continued to explore alone for a little while longer. The moment I arrived back to the donativo, the person in charged informed me that the girls had come around asking for me. I decided to wait to meet them because those of us who stayed at the church were invited to a free family style dinner! What’s cool is that volunteers who have traveled on the Camino do two week rotations at the donativo to help other pilgrims along the path. Then after dinner, they guided all of us down a secret tunnel under the church! In that moment, I realized I shouldn’t go meet up with the girls because this was a rare experience I didn’t want to miss out on.The tunnel eventually lead us back to the main worship area where we sat in a circle on stone chairs imbedded in the walls. The priest handed us papers with a prayer of the Camino in our own languages and we began to pray together. It was a very spiritual moment that I will never forget. Afterwards, we all said goodnight and went back to our individual rooms in the church. I’m very happy with my decision to bond with this group tonight, it was one of the most unique nights of the trip. Until tomorrow, buen Camino.
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