As I started out today, I was feeling grateful, primarily to be leaving Logroño. The detritus of last night’s celebrations littered the street: cigarette butts, broken glass, vomit. Logroño is apparently quite the party town, as evidenced by hundreds of revelers filling the plazas, including numerous bachelor parties. The bachelors were dressed in various costumes (superheroes, lobsters, long colorful wigs and tight skirts) surrounded by their buddies all wearing matching T-shirts and chugging copious quantities of beer.
As we walked back to our albergue from dinner at 9pm, it appeared the party was just getting started. People were loud and obnoxious; it was exactly the opposite of the experience I was looking for on the Camino. And multiple snorers in the room last night, made for a difficult night’s sleep.
But rather than focus on the negative (which I am normally all too good at), I decided to make gratitude my theme for the day.
As I left Logoño, I walked through a large park on the outskirts of town. I met up with Faith, who had left a bit before me. She was limping along, suffering from shin splints. I slowed down and walked with her for a few minutes before continuing on, grateful that the pain in my Achilles tendon that had plagued me for two days had finally subsided, and the two blisters I had developed on my right foot were not impeding my progress.
The church bells were ringing as I walked into Navarette. And then again as I neared Ventosa. I was grateful for the melodious welcome.
After tea and lunch in Ventosa (12 miles into my day), my feet started to feel like lead and my muscles ached. Although I typically don’t listen to music while I walk, I decided to pull out the earbuds for a little rhythmic inspiration. With no other pilgrims in sight, I enjoyed an impromptu Karaoke session with the Indigo Girls’ 1200 Curfews followed by a walking dance party with Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall. I was grateful that I could boogy down the trail, without any concern for how ridiculous I must have looked to the few people I passed.
When the rain that had been threatening all day began to fall, I was grateful that I had only a couple of miles to go until my final destination. And when the sun cut through the clouds, warm on my face, I was grateful for the chance to dry out a bit.
At the end of a long day, I arrived at my albergue, one that my guidebook had promised was “one of the best on the whole Camino.” It was cold and basic and anything but “sheer luxury,” but I was grateful for a roof over my head and a hot shower.
It’s interesting how gratitude can have such a significant impact on your attitude.
Today I walked 22 miles (phew!).