|Lesley Robinson from down under with our host at Casa de la Abuela, Iosu.|
We have learned from a little practice that after 8 straight days of walking over Pyrenees, Altos de Mezquiriz, de Erro, del Perdon and other lesser bumps along The Way-- some level of exhaustion is to be expected.
After an arrival to Viana or Logrono and the border of La Rioja, we have nick-named this day, The Day of Hitting the Wall.
The energy and exuberance of initiating our pilgrimage in France has been used up a little just getting as far as we have. There is a need to rest and recover a bit; to reflect on the the better ways we have learned from forgetting and leaving behind socks, jackets, walking sticks and hopefully some of our habitual anxieties. And in the process, finding acceptable solutions through our own resourcefulness and good fortune.
Viana is a perfect place to do some R&R. A compact, friendly and homey ciudad where all the residents know each other by name and one is not judged at all for leaving their apartment unshaven and in slippers to share a coffee and news of the day at the bar round the corner.
It is a good time and place for the wandering pilgrim to celebrate their accomplishment and to look forward to the respite of busing for 3 days to visit the monuments of Burgos, Leon and Astorga.
Alas, we must also leave behind the Camino friends made over the first 8 days-- for we will cover 5 stages in less than 2 hours. Los Otros will therefore be 5 days behind.
It is common for pilgrims to begin the journey with friends or companions from home. Also common is the experience of finding that sometimes the new people met on The Way for the first time add greatly to our understanding of what it is to be a pilgrim, perhaps even more so than those who crossed the ocean with us in the beginning.
In Viana, if you strike up an acquaintance with a native, soon you be impressed with how fast you might be accepted as an amigo by many other residents. Remember, it is a town where everyone knows their fellow residents very well. In this sense we are also stimulants to the curiosity of locals.
A pilgrim from another land has some attraction to locals as an exotic "gente" with a view of the world wider than what is ordinary to the place. Wearing a sonrisa as you hobble the unfamiliar streets is a trusty lure to capture the kind attention of the native who knows at first glance that you are just visiting. Soon perhaps you will be party to their conversation with the brothers, cousins, friends, wives and husbands who gravitate to the one native you first met.
One pilgrim spoke with a local man and before long the pilgrim with pigeon Espanol, began to understand the meanings of their new acquaintances' unfamiliar words without trying to mentally translate into English. This pilgrim said suddenly they were beginning to think in Spanish and not in English.
I was told it was quite liberating, that even though the pilgrim did not understand every word or phrase, they nevertheless arrived at a clear sense of the feelings and information being conveyed. It was said to be much easier than trying to mentally translate the muy rapido Espanol into Ingles.
Well, we know from experience that this does not happen in every ciudad or Pueblo, nor does it happen for every pilgrim. But we do know that this and other similar benefits are very likely to happen in Viana if one brings with them sonrisas along with their dolores and necessitos. Maybe this is because the people in Viana believe in living a good life simply, and they recognize another who believes the same by what that other wears on their face as they explore the sights, sounds and aromas of the city on the hill. It is possible.
|Toxic berries of a local plant. Can anyone identify?|
|Our host in Viana at Los Apartamentos Borgia, Jose Julio, |
drawing water from the pozo in his huerta
|Fruits of Jose Julio's huerta that he picked and gave us.|
Notice the grapes went fast!
|La Virgen de Nieva - Viana Cathedral|