Today we will leave the Navarra providence entering into La Roja. I walked fewer miles than intended today. The distance from Los Arcos to Logrono is 17.8 miles. With just a quick glance at the itinerary and map, I confuse my self, I have the misconception It is 17.8 miles to Viana. With that in my mind, I estimate the distance from Sansol to Viana to be 12 miles of rolling hills with no village in between.
We begin the day where we ended it yesterday, in Los Arcos. Sansol is an easy four-mile walk between vineyards and farmland on dirt path and asphalt. Torres del Rio is a quick half mile further down the road. Our first checkpoint is in Sansol, the next checkpoint is outside of Viana, where we bus into Logrono, bypassing the industrial section of the city.
Contemplating what I think is a long “twelve-mile” walk, going up and down hills, I decided to hop on the bus at Sansol. At Torres del Rio the bus finds a place to stop and the guide and I walk up to the Santo Sepulchro, Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It is thought this may have been a funeral chapel for the many pilgrims who died en route during medieval times. The tiny church is rather bare, the dome has an Arabic look, in a recessed area there is a Byzantine crucifix known as “Holy Christ of the Knights of the Sepulchre”. Christ is wearing a crown instead of thorns and it depicts four nails as Christs’ feet are not crossed. I remember to get my credential stamped, the guide and I then head back to the bus.
The Camino is running along the highway, prior to reaching Viana the bus finds a safe place to pull over to let me out and I’m back to walking. In hindsight, I realize the distance from Torres del Rio to Viana was only about five miles. The ascent looks steep and would have slowed me to a snail’s pace and left me breathless. I’m not too disappointed I skipped it. Viana’s steep winding streets are lined with bars (cafes). I pass a bakery that calls my name but I manage to escape its lure.
I’ve been told the ruins of Iglesia de San Pedro is the perfect spot for a picnic lunch. Inside the ruins is an open square and in the back is a stunning view over the valley. San Pedro was the first church built in Viana in the 13th century. During the First Carlist War in 1844 the building was destroyed, the Baroque facade is still standing.
I found a seat in a corner hidden from the square where I eat my picnic lunch. Above where I sit is a dome where frescoes have been brought back in to view when the stones were cleaned in 2010.
Indeed this was a lovely and peaceful place to eat. Once I had finished my lunch I walked through the gates to the back of the ruins. The view over the valley is absolutely spectacular. I spend time in peaceful meditation then head out of the village down the road in search of the checkpoint.
As we arrived at the bus the guide provides us with options, stay at the bus and wait for the rest of the group to arrive or continue walking five miles on to Logrono and the lodging of the night. Half the group walks on and half take the bus.
Logrono has some great pintxos (tapas) bars that aren’t too far from the hotel so the pilgrim peeps go to check them out prior to dinner. Mass was celebrated at La Iglesia de Santiago el Real (Church of Santiago), the oldest church in Logrono.
We are reaching the halfway mark for this year.
Some days it feels like it’s never going to end and others days it’s moving by to fast.