Day 8. Logroña to Nájera.
Day 9. Nájera to Grañon 28.4km. With elevation and according to my iPhone 36.74km.
Coming out of Logroña, my wooden walking-stick clacks through the manufactured noise and pavement of this metropolitan city only just beginning to awaken to the grind of a new day. As we move from town to town, we journey on many trails, from paved roads and sidewalks through city streets and squares, to dirt trails through parks and field cut-throughs, and along gravel roads beside farms, crops, and vineyards. Each city and town is connected to the ancient memory of the Camino as ruins from medieval pilgrim hospitals linger outside the city walls and centuries old churches host tired pilgrims nearer to the city’s center. Our regular clacking of our sticks are an ancient reminder of the ever present past.
Some towns we pass through are vibrant and alive, the Camino only being a small portion of the city’s revenue. While other towns beg, cry even, for you to stop, distracting you with competing arrows leading you no where except to the next shop or bar. Their confusing maze of yellow arrows move you aimlessly through the town as the merchants survive only off of the pilgrims limited spending.
It is in these small towns that the reality of our ever changing global economy becomes a reality. As the packs on the backs of pilgrims change to mechanized self-propelled golfing bags guided by business men in polo shirts, these small towns dwindle as the length of their golf drive improves. Leaving only a struggling vacation town where the seasonal economy leaves little to nothing for those locals wishing and waiting to survive. It is in these same towns where water sprays on the lawns of unoccupied homes enriching the grass to a wealthy shade of green while thousands elsewhere around the world strain for just a single drop of water. A reminder of the gap between those who have not, and those who have water to waste.
It is hard not to ask of myself, when have I wasted away something of use that others need? When have I simply elected to drive through a town without giving pause to the people living there? How might I/we look towards these small agrarian communities of the past and lift them up to purpose?