As you might have guessed from the title, I am in Nájera. Yesterday, as promised, was a cold and rainy day, at least it was full on rain until I finished up at Navarette about 1 p.m. My Altus raincoat is fabulous, it keeps me and my pack dry from the knees and elbows up despite several good long torrential downpours. I discovered the hard way that my boots are not very rainproof and in fact have a two inch tear on the uppers which lets the rain or puddle water free admission to the boot. It felt like I was walking in a mobile cold water foot bath. I arrived with prune feet and impossible to dry out boots. I also had to stop using my poles as the rain was running up my arms.
This morning I walked in my Keen hiking sandals and discovered that the money I'd spent on custom orthotics for my boots were well worth it. I can't use them in my sandals and after walking without them today I have the beginnings of a blister on my baby toe - same spot as last time. Tomorrow my boots will be dry and hopefully all will be well. On the plus side, I am sure I was more comfortable in my hiking sandals than wet boot.
I have found the most amazing little keyboard that weighs next to nothing and is tiny tiny. Sadly, when it comes to technology, nothing is perfect but it does solve some issues I have when using the viritual keyboard with the blogging software. I noticed that the keyboard was a Spanish one - that is with spanish letters and symbols, but discovered upon use that it is marked as a Spanish keyboard but the keys do not match the markings, and there is no evidence of Spanish letters e.g. the ñ and it isn't North American either so when I use it it is a bit of a hunt and peck exercise for special characters. It is really cute though and despite the downside, it is still better than the iPhone viritual keyboard which pops up on top of the text I am writing on my blogging software making it very difficult to see what I am doing. Did I mention that my preferred offline blogging software was abandoned by the developer when Google bought out and shelved the essential photo software (Picasa) which was used to house the blogs's photos? Google also bought out Blogger, my online blog software and while I can still use it it is now as buggy as hell. oh well.
My walk today was just 13 km long - I am settting a slow speed record. The weather was cool and partly sunny. Nice walking weather. There are a lot of people walking these days, and today we had an extra lot - some 20 or so students from the University of La Rioja, who were out for a 1 day jaunt. I chatted with a young man from Taiwan who explained that they were International Students from all over the world who were studying Spanish and Spanish culture at the University. They were skipping down the trail as only possible for someone out only for the day.
You may have noticed that I didnt blog yesterday as promised. Meeting a new cohort of Perigrinos takes time and lots of wine to both tell and be told the obligatory "bonding stories" (you will recall that my previous Pilgrim "family" as moved forward). Once you fall into the same pilgrim's company a number of times, you need to swap stories of origin, motivation and feet/leg/knee injuries. Having slowed my walk, I am now with the walking injured of my cohort and the regular walkers of the cohort which was once days behind me. I heard someone state today "I can't believe that I am 11 days in already". That is n-2 days from my start.
The other reason I didn't blog was that I spent an hour or so in joyous contemplation of my "transfer credit" report from York University. A brief explanation is in order for those of you who are not aware that I am in my 1st year of an undergraduate degree in English Literature and in the midst of a process to transfer to a different university that does not charge seniors tuition. I was amazed to discover that they granted me 45 transfer credits out of the 120 required for an honours degree. The rub is that I am not sure how many of these credits apply to the English courses in my program. The admissions office granted me 1 3 credit course with a promise that the English department may decide to give me more. We shall see. The did say that they waived all the general education courses so it seems that I will just need to take the English courses. I am very happy with this news.
I am staying tonight at the Puerta de Nájera albergue. I chose that one over the 90 beds in 1 room municipal abergue I stayed in last time. It is a vast improvement. Once I can add some pictures you will see why. Last night I stayed in El Cántaro. Not recommended. While the room was fine - 5 beds (no bunks) in a room but it was in a 2nd floor unit of an apartment building with the living room covered to a bedroom. For 10 EU I expected better - at least a common room. Today's was 10 EU as well, but it is far nicer.
Tomorrow I will walk only about 16 km to Circeña. It is a little bit of a climb and about 6km short of the next large city - Santo Domingo. More about that in my next blog.
If you haven't read my blog from my last walk of this section (or want to see some pictures from the wonderful La Rioja wine area, go hereL: