Homer's Travels: Camino 2023 - Torres Del Rio To Agés

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Camino 2023 - Torres Del Rio To Agés

We left Torres del Rio heading toward our target of Logroño.  The distance today would be of average length.  Average length for this Camino means 12.4 miles (20 km).

Sunrise.  Looking back east, the town of Sansol silhouetted in the morning sunlight.
The Camino was generally down this section but that didn't stop us from finding hills to climb.  We stopped in Viana at a pharmacist for more 'vitamin I' for me while the Wife visited the church across the street.

A rare horse pilgrim.
(Photo taken by the Wife)
By the time we reached Logroño we were tired (an ongoing theme for this Camino).  We stopped at the same albergue I stayed at on my first Camino.  It was a big municipal albergue and a bit more run down than I remember but not terrible like the one in Pamplona.  The wife took a nap after doing her chores and having lunch.  I got a second wind and explored the historic downtown until I found a gelato place (chocolate and dulce de leche).

Dr was here nursing an aching ankle.  She was a fun lady and it was nice seeing someone you knew.


The walk out of Logroño is an unending slog along a park/bike path.  The straight flat path ends at a lake and park area.  We stopped at a little snack stand run by a famous pilgrim who walked in traditional pilgrim garb often with a donkey.  He talked with pilgrims about his multiple Caminos and the various paths.

A curious critter unsure about the passing pilgrims.
The path after the lake was not what I remembered.  I remember a dirt track along a fence.  The path is now paved.  Not sure this is new or just my crappy memory.

We stopped in Navarette (where I'd stopped for the night on both of my earlier Caminos) for breakfast, drink, and another church for the Wife.

The last four and a quarter miles past Navarette seemed to last forever.  I usually walked a bit ahead of the Wife.  When I found a place to rest I would wait for the Wife to catch up and sit down with me.  I found a place to sit and waited for her to catch up.  Not only did she catch up but she was so in the zone she walked right past me without seeing me despite being only five or 6 feet apart.

After another 12.4 mile (20 km) day we finally arrived at our target town of Ventosa.  This was a new stop for me.  We had a reservation since there was only one albergue in the small town (it filled up with someone sleeping on the dining room floor).  The albergue had a small store and a nice backyard garden.  Ventosa had two restaurants who divided up the clientele - one restaurant was open for breakfast and lunch, the other was open for lunch and dinner.

Dr was here too and joined us for dinner.  She didn't eat much as she had discovered the evil that are Principe cookies.  I purchased a tube of Principes here too - they are just as addictive as I remember.


This day would be a shorter 10.2 miles (16.4 km) to the town of Azofra.  Since we really weren't in a hurry today we stopped for breakfast in Ventosa before we hit the Camino.

We weren't in a hurry because we had a reservation.  When I made our reservation I decided to make one at a very nice hotel in this tiny town of Azofra.  I kind of regret doing that.  The albergue in Azofra is very nice too with rooms with only two beds each.  Yes, it had a shared bathroom setup but it would have been nice enough and a heck of a lot cheaper than the hotel we stayed in.

The town has a nice bar/restaurant and a grocery store - everything a pilgrim needs.  Sa and her mom were here and we spent some time chatting with them.  Most of our time in the town was at this bar.


Another sunrise along the Camino.
The target for the day was one of my favorite stops, Grañon.  We had a short period of rain so we stopped in the city of Nájera for a rest and snack to get out of the weather.  By the time we ate some sandwiches the rain had stopped.

Further along the way we spent some quality time in the city of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, the home of the chicken church.  We had some lunch here, toured the cathedral (and saw the chickens) and the clock/bell tower.  The Wife tried to locate some tombs that looked interesting but the church where they were located was not open so we continued on the Camino.

Pilgrim shoes.
(Photo taken by the Wife)
We arrived in Grañon and checked into the albergue in the old church.  Things have changed.  The old worn stone stairs had been repaired.  The volunteers running it this visit were a bit unorganized.  The place was crowded, noisy, and chaotic.  I'd hoped the Wife would have the wonderful experience I'd had on my two previous Caminos but the whole experience was depressing.  You can't go home again I guess.

Despite all this we met a lot of people we would continue to see for the next few days.  A group of Italians who had met on the Camino and were walking together, a few Koreans, some Japanese women.  I guess these people were the silver lining of the cloud over Grañon.

The distance walked today was a long 13.9 miles (22.3 km).


Our target was a place called Tosantos.  I had mixed feelings.  The parochial albergue was an unwelcome place ten years ago when we stopped there during our second Camino.  I was hoping to get beds in the newer albergue that wasn't there the last time I came through the town.

Ermita de la Virgen de la Peña - A cave hermitage above the town of Tosantos.
The Camino goes through several towns and it wasn't until the third town that we found a place to buy breakfast.  I was considering to stop for lunch at Belorado, the biggest city on today's section but we just walked through (with a brief stop at a church).

We arrived in Tosantos after a long 13.3 miles (21.5 km) and went to the newer albergue.  Unfortunately it was full. We ate lunch here before going over to the parochial albergue.  The hospitalero running the albergue turned out to be a very nice guy.  The whole atmosphere of the place was positive and welcoming.   I was very relieved.

We walked up to the Ermita de la Virgen de la Peña but it was locked up.  There was a guy cleaning up the area and it appears they are trying to keep it up which is nice to see.

The Italians, Koreans, and Japanese from Grañon all showed up but the number of pilgrims at the albergue was smaller and less chaotic.  After dinner the hospitalero had people read letters and notes left by previous pilgrims.  While I didn't participate (I was tired and went to bed) the Wife said she had a very moving experience.  I guess the experience I'd hoped the Wife would have in Grañon ended up happening at Tosantos.  No two Caminos are the same and the Camino always gives you what you need.


The next two days were going to be long days.  We wanted to get to Burgos so that we could take a day off.  The first of these long days would be 14.8 miles (23.8 km) to the town of Agés.

The Wife with the sunrise at her back.
There were a few towns along this section and we stopped and had snacks or breakfast at nearly every one.  One part of this section is a climb up a hill and a long, straight slog that feels like it will take forever.  This section was bad my first Camino, not so bad during my second Camino, then came back with a vengeance during the third.

The country church of Agés.
(Photo taken by the Wife)
We survived the hard section and stopped at Cafe Marcela for some brunch and ice cream while we rested before walking the last part of the day.

In Agés the albergue I wanted to stop at was full so we stayed in the municipal albergue.  We were joined by the Italians (and possibly the Koreans and japanese ... I can't remember) here.  This place was pretty basic.

I was tired so spent most my time napping in my bed.  The Wife explored the town and visited the town church twice.  She liked how small and comfortable the church was.  She had an emotional moment with a dutch pilgrim who had been left at the altar.  The Camino is often walked by people who had encountered an unexpected change in their lives and needed time to process things.  This means many emotional times along the Camino.

In the evening we had dinner at a small restaurant that caters to the pilgrims.  The lady who does the cooking was hilarious.  The banter between her and her husband (who was doing drinks and serving the food) made us all smile.  The food was excellent.

Photos can be found in my 2023 Camino de Santiago (The Wife's Camino) Google Photos album.

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