Day 5: On a roll.

Just the facts
Day 5 : Villamajor de Monjardin to Viana
Distance: 20 miles/32 km
Time: 6.5 hours
Total to date: 82 miles/132 km
Aches and pains: one sore shoulder, two sorry toes. No blisters.

First, let me say that I dumped yesterday’s water bottle of wine. It had nothing to do with quality and everything to do with weight. Even a quarter liter (8 ounces) can feel heavy, so rather than walk with it or drink in the early hours, it went down the drain. With hindsight I could have offered it to a priest I met along the way. After chatting a while he turned off to pray in a tiny old church. That could have been communion wine.

I also met a pair of lively Kiwis and immediately put my foot in my mouth with the Aussie assumption. They were resting with the priest in the last bit of shade before making a steep descent into the vineyards. We met up again this evening and had a glass of wine together.

The faster my feet go, the faster the landscape changes. The forests along the banks of swollen rivers have given way to wheat fields tinged red by masses of poppies. Today’s hike brought a gradual shift to a wine growing region known as La Rioja. The area, with its medieval hilltop towns (always a slog to reach) is beginning to look like Tuscany.

Tonight, La Princessa (that would be me) is staying in a palace. Part of of this old palace was recently converted into a very small hotel. And let me tell you, it’s a world apart from the typical pilgrim albergue. When I walked into my little room my first thought was, “They could put five more beds in here!” Oh, what a treat to have a private bathroom, my own personal power point to charge electronics, and silence.