• Day17

    Another great day - Saturday in Viana

    September 8, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    Today was meant to be less than 20 kms but of course it ended up being almost 22, but it was good as we weren’t doing the extra 10 kms into Logroño! We split the distance here last time, and tomorrow we saunter into Logroño - even if it ends up being 12km who cares! We did work hard though today. As usual it sounded fairly easy, with one serious climb, and it did start with beautifully even terrain through the still beautiful countryside. But then we did climb up and down to rivers, or river beds, past the usual hill towns, past olive groves and vineyards, and arrived here at about 2 o’clock.

    We left Los Arcos at 8 am, having first stopped for fresh OJ in the square. The sun rises at 7.45 so the square was so different at sunrise than in the afternoon when we arrived - then full of tables and umbrellas and a buzz of walkers mostly relaxing after the trek and sheltering from the very bright sun. (This is the famous square where 5 years ago Amr bandaged the leg of the Rheinmaiden!!). It is blissfully cool in the early morning, about 13°, but as the sun gets higher it does get quite southern arm and leg (the left as we are heading west) are getting quite sunburnt...

    So we had a good day’s walk - passing and repassing familiar people who are in the same rhythm as us. This keeps changing as people stay at different places, but sometimes the same people are around for a few days. And a babble of many languages - all good, great camaraderie, but as we walk people thin out as everyone goes at a different pace.

    Viana is a lovely small town, and we have wonderful memories of the superb hotel we stayed in before (and the dinner!) which we are again at. My brain had totally forgotten the outskirts with modern apartment buildings, and the outer streets we had to walk through to get to the old centre, which is much as it was in the Middle Ages. Our hotel is in the one main street through the centre, and as we approached what a surprise! Something was afoot...there were explosions, which we later realized were fireworks, but we could hardly walk along the street - crazy crowds - we did realize it was Saturday, but this was something more than a normal weekend...Many people and their children wearing white shirts with red handkerchiefs round their necks like what you see in Pamplona for the running of the bulls...and this is what it is, Viana’s own festival - today is the day before celebrations- the actual running is thankfully tomorrow afternoon after we will have left (I think Amr is a little disappointed, but I am happy)! Actually, we would have a perfect view from our hotel window...As we arrived there was a parade, with huge effigies and a band, which was why we found we were going against the tide. Already along the street there are barriers up to protect windows etc from the bulls, except the many cafes and restaurants which will be open till tomorrow but the metal barriers are there ready to be put into place. The hotel tells us that tonight there are festivities and music that starts at 10.30 pm!! So it promises to be a noisy night, but what a fun weekend to be passing through! Dinner isn’t till 8.30 tonight either, so we will head out now and have some tapas to tide us over.

    Just tried to publish but it wouldn’t upload...I thought it was strong WiFi but will take off all the photos and do them separately...I think they are really good, but will see if the words will go...
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