Riojra Region Revealed

Tuesday October 13 The Camino Way from Burgos to Belorado

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Sign and symbol that signal that you are on the Camino de Santiago.

We awoke to a very chilly 9 C. degree cloudy and windy day with the threat of rain. We wore everything we owned on including our scull caps, neck tubes, long fingered gloves, socks, and rain gear. The first 32 K. were uphill and into the wind.

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It was hard work, but kept us tolerably warm as long as we kept riding. The temps kept going down as we climbed and soon we could see your our breath. We rode up towards the pass where we saw a wild boar (dead) on the side of the road and a lot of Camino pilgrims (alive) going the opposite way whenever the trail crossed or ran along side the road. They also looked cold. It rained hard yesterday and their trail was very muddy. We crossed over the pass around 1pm after which we had a great 6 % downhill for about 5km to a small village where we and many Camino hikers and bikers also stopped to warm up and have lunch.

Almost all Camino pilgrims are traveling east to west this time of year, coming out of the Pyrenee mountains of southwest France headed to the west coast of Spain. The ones we are seeing are coming mosstly from other parts of Spain as the Camino has many “tributaries.” It’s getting late now for the high country. Post lunch/warmup, we followed a beautiful river valley where the hills were full of vineyards, to the village of Belorado and the Camino hostal where we had beds for the night.

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Thank goodness the heat was on in the room. As all others on the route, the hostal was but a couple hundred meters from the little village’s pilgrimage church. The place had travelers from around the world. Most ofthem were reading, playing games and relaxing with a sangria, beer, or wine from the hostal’s bar. One man who obviously had had his “fun ticket punched”,was snoring with his chin on his chest was sitting at a table near the bar. Too much fun and drink for him!! His buddies just let him be most of the next hour except when he’d wake and take another drink of wine. With no desire to go out in the weather again, we had dinner at the little hostal cafe.

Wednesday, October 14 Belorado-Nejara

A very cold and cloudy start to the morning which turned mostly clear about half way through the ride.

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It was a pretty mellow day of riding. Very little climbing after the 5 Km out of Belorado, then lots of downhill through landscape full of vineyards. We had coffee in Santo Domingo and visited the church there with the hep of a very good audio guide.

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12th Century Carving of the Virgin Mary
  12th Century Carving of the Virgin Mary 
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Some Prelate’s Skull
Chicken Coop in the Church, a symbol of Somthing
Chicken Coop in the Church, a symbol of Something

After lunch at a truck stop a few Km. outside Nejara, we stopped in at a locally owned winery. The large gate was closed but opened for a delivery van.

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As usual, it doesn’t hurt to ask, so Ed followed the van in and asked if we could sample their product. He turned out to be one of the family that owned the vineyards and winery. Great time had by all. We got to try as many wines as we wanted. They took us in the back to see and smell the barrels of fermenting grapes. This is a locally owned operation that only makes wines from its own grapes. The family rolls up its sleeves and does some of the hard work like swishing the fermenting the grapes around in the special barrels used for their reserve.

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We met the owner, his 2 sons and the manager who called his importer in New York to speak with Maggie and tell her where we were from and let us know where we could get their product in Colorado.

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Their wines have been presented at the Aspen wine festival. We rode away with a gratis bottle of wine to thank us for stopping in. A really great experience.

We found the TI, had a latte, then checked into our 30 Euro room. We had been upgraded to the 3 star hotel owned by the same folks since their adjoining backpacker place had closed for the season just yesterday. A very nice and large room with heat. Ventured out to visit one of the local churches after traipsing around for about 20 minutes looking for it.

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Dinner at a Chinese restaurant….yummy. Spent a little time planning our next few days and decided to stay in Logorno tomorrow night after all, as the ride to the next town big enough for lodging, would have been too far.

Thursday October 15. Nejara to Logrono

It is a sunny but very cold day. The fall color change is beautiful in the vineyards we pass. We can also see lots of yellow trees in the high mountains both north and south of the valley.

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There was a stretch of about 5 km that we had to ride on the shoulder of a very busy 4 lane road going into Logrono. It was along the side of a damn and reservoir that evidently left no room for the old road when the new road was built. We’re staying right in the center of the old city near the Cathedral in an apartment. Ed spent a couple of hours cleaning the bikes as it hadn’t been done since the UK.

Paid a brief visit to the cathedral whose interior was quite dark. The lights came on in various sections of the cathedral illuminating the treasures that were in that section with the help of Euros into the “Illumination” boxes in front of those sections. Another example of financial ingenuity.

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