Logroño: on the Camino Francés – Part 1

Calle San Juan is the other place to go for Rioja wine by the glass with pinchos (tapas)Following the Camino track through Logroño

Logroño is the capital city of the region: la Rioja, which is Spain’s smallest.

La Rioja is an “autonomous community” – a regional state, with a regional government and parliament in Logroño.  This capital city has a population of about 150,000.

The Camino de Santiago track (el Camino Francés) enters the city of Logroño from Navarra when it crosses the mighty Ebro river over the stone bridge: Puente de Piedra.  Logroño is actually in a corner of la Rioja adjoining Navarra and the other community and region called País Vasco (the Basque region and state).

The maps: Camino de Santiago: 30 all-weather walking maps – Walking the Camino Francés from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago de Compostela (ISBN 978 0 646 52975 2), clearly shows the city’s location and geographical position and when you walk over the bridge and into the city, turn right into Rua Vieja to get to the municipal albergue: Albergue de Peregrinos de Logroño is located on the Camino track, in the Casco Antiguo, in the old part of the city and not very far from Logroño’s famous eating places.

One of the most memorable things which you can do on the day you arrive into Logroño when walking the Camino Francés is to go out of the albergue, explore parts of the Casco Antiguo by ordering and eating pinchos or tapas in either Calle (del) Laurel or Calle San Juan.

Do not be afraid to go alone, take your camera, it is very safe and even if you have very limited Spanish or even no Spanish, just simply point to the food item you’re interested in and pay the going price at the bar and have a glass or two of the region’s crianza red wine – wine at least two years old with at least one year in an oak cask.

The locals often prefer to stand up whilst eating at small round elevated eating posts. Do not choose all your food from one place, this is the opportunity to explore and discover.  As is the tradition, most pilgrims stay only one night in a place and despite Logroño’s many attractions, you must make the most of your stay in just several hours.  Remember, if you are a pilgrim you cannot be a tourist or a traveller for more than a few hours per day.

The two streets: Calle del Laurel and Calle San Juan are always packed with people and ambience from early afternoon to very late in the evening.  It is very exciting just to be there whilst soaking in the atmosphere.

If you arrive early enough in the afternoon, you would do well to visit the Mercado de San Blas (San Blas fresh food markets) located very close to Calle del Laurel at number 1 Calle Sagasta.

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