#Camino Day Four: A difficult day ending with Rioja

Today has been a difficult day on the Camino. For a start, heavy rain was forecast for the afternoon, so all of the pilgrims at our hostel got up early to get as far as possible before the rain.

For Elke and I this meant starting in the dark, which was a bit creepy. We walked past a graveyard in low light with just a couple of dark pink clouds breaking up the inky blue sky.

However, despite the eery feeling, the early morning on the Camino really is beautiful.

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Today’s terrain was very up and down, which has put a lot of pressure on my knees. This, and the rain, left me in pain and poor spirits when we reached our first rest stop, Viana, some two and a half hours in.

However, two coffees, tortilla, a visit to a beautiful church and some ibuprofen gel from my new angels Karen and Lev all helped a lot.

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As we walked on to Logroño the rain started up again. Thankfully we saw many of the pilgrims we’ve met over the last few days who were all cheerful as we and exchanged injury stories. No one is facing the Camino unscathed at this point.

A lovely Irishman we met along the way commented that problems are part of the pilgrimage, it wouldn’t be the same it if it was easy. He’s right. For all the pain and the poor weather I still want to be here, with these wonderful people in this beautiful country and I still hope to make it to Santiago.

And what could warm a weary pilgrim’s heart more than arriving in Rioja?

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We are staying in Logroño tonight, the capital of Rioja and home to delicious Pintxos. So – after a trip to the farmacia for some magic ibuprofen foam – this pilgrim will certainly be trying a bit of both!

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