A reminder to act within your means.

A long-distance adventure requires certain basics to be done right; hikers must be in shape, pack smart, have an itinerary in mind and notify others of your plans, just to name a few. However, I forgot one fundamental principle on Day 7: don’t overexert your body with unnecessary stress. An early-morning sprint to retrieve forgotten hiking poles left my body aching for the day, and my fellow pilgrim’s entire Camino journey in doubt.

Camino de Santiago Diary – Day 7

Most of the Albergue had departed by the time we stepped outside and back onto the trail. The next 27.6 kilometres to Logroño would be our heftiest daily distance so far and, much like Day 6, long stretches of exposed road lay in front of us. But, our energy had replenished overnight and our spirits were high; though, a forgotten set of hiking sticks, which were only remembered at the edge of Los Arcos’ outer suburbs, put us on the back foot.

With cold bones and un-stretched muscles, both Natalia and I ran back to locate our walking aids, only to return with stiff backs and sore knees. If the Camino’s intensifying heat wasn’t difficult enough, we now had to complete the trek to Logroño in irritating discomfort.

Camino Morning Walk

Shadeless wheat fields were a constant feature.

After 1 week on the trail, my flimsy grasp on the local language had scarcely improved. The rest of our group, filled with fluent-speaking females, were doing their bit to improve my Spanish by feeding me pick up lines. By Day 7, I could compliment a lady on her ‘chair’ and admire her ‘eights’—I suspected these comments wouldn’t help any conversation flow.

Me gustan tus ojos (I like your eyes).
Me gustan tus ochos (I like your eights).
Trekking West Mistranslation

While the path included intermittent patches of vineyards, olive groves, poppy blooms and the occasional stone cairn city, the landscape was otherwise blanketed with weathered wheat and dusty gravel tracks. This blanched terrain did little to subdue the heat, instead, reflecting the sun’s fierce glow directly into our faces. A small smattering of Camino hamlets supplied our only respite from the searing temperatures.

Camino Frances Stone Towers

A city of cairns on the road to Logroño.

The group’s early momentum had all but disappeared as we approached Viana’s 13th-century fortified walls. The day’s unrelenting warmth had beaten us down and slowed our pace–we had earned a rest. Though, after just a few steps into the old town, we immediately felt like we’d joined a party. With colourful flags waving through the streets and a lively mariachi band echoing from the town square, the effervescent city provided us with the perfect rejuvenating lunch stop.

Viana Festival Camino

As we relaxed and enjoyed our now customary pintxos, I felt the morning’s aches gathering tightness. While I was somewhat used to the rigours of trail walking, I sensed the overexertion was having an effect on Natalia. I knew we had to move quickly out of the city and onto Logroño before the pain became too much.

By the time we made it to the La Rioja capital, our pilgrim family were falling apart at the seams. Natalia, despite trimming the bulk of her bag weight on Day 3, had hit a wall. The rigours of our post-dawn dash had buckled her knees and swollen her ankles—her pain had become almost unbearable. Our super Swede Susan, too, was battling crippling blisters and planned to take it easy over the coming days. Then, to top it off, my Spanish SIM card was on the fritz and I had to wait until 10 am the next morning for the 3 mobile store to open. We were on the verge of dismantling on Day 8.

All the details.

Trail distance covered

27.6km

Accommodation

Albergue Parroquia Santiago El Real

Price

Donation

Terrain

While there’s nothing overly complicated about the path, an increase in exposed trail, hard gravel tracks and distances between Camino settlements ensures the route shouldn’t be taken lightly.