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Private (78, 15€, April to October) Santiago Apóstol, on the Camino just after crossing the bridge. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Private rooms. Can be a bit noisy. Tel 635 371 036 Open 11:00

Amigos del Camino (88, 10€) Albergue de Peregrinos de Logroño, on the Camino shortly after crossing the bridge. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Nice patio with paddling pool. The original albergue in Logroño. Website www.asantiago.org Tel 672 247 333 Opens 13:00

Parish (30, donativo, x to y) Albergue Parroquial de Santiago, on the Camino on the right near the church of Iglesia de Santiago el Real (watch out for the blood curdling statue of Santiago Matamoros above its entrance). Communal evening meal. Breakfast. Prayers with pilgrim blessing. All pilgrims welcome regardless of beliefs. Tel 941 209 501 Open 12:00

Private (18, 18€) Albergue Logroño Centro, on Travesía de Palacio, pass the entrance to the Municipal and continue straight. Kitchen. Private rooms. Website www.apartamentoslogronocentro.com Tel 678 495 109 Open 14:00

Private (30, 21€, March to November) Winederful Hostel, on Calle Herrerías, pass the entrance to the Municipal and take the second right. Café / restaurant. Kitchen, laundry facilities. Private rooms. Generic backpacker hostel. Website winederful.es Tel 600 904 703 Open 15:00

Private (25, 15€, March to November) Albergue Albas, turn left after crossing the bridge and follow Calle de San Francisco until you turn right on to Calle Senado, then continue straight and it's on the ground floor of a semi-circular apartment block on your right, Plaza Martínez Flamarique (the old bullring). Laundry facilities, microwaves. Private rooms. Website albasalbergue.com Tel 688 766 475 Open 13:00

Private (30, 15€) Albergue Logroño - La Bilbaina, in the city centre on Calle Capitán Gallarza, which intersects with Calle Portales. Kitchen. Laundry facilities. Private rooms. Tel 608 234 723 Open 10:00

Logroño has a population of 153,000 and is the capital of La Rioja Autonomous Community. All services are available. It is a prosperous and lively university city, relatively untouched by mass tourism, and the third biggest city on the Camino Francés. Shops and cafés on the Camino and around Calle Portales which is the main street. Tourist Office on the Camino just before you cross the Ebro. Supermarkets on Calle de Juan XXIII and Avenida de la Rioja. Several banks on the south side of Paseo del Espolón.

As is common in cities Pilgrim Menus are thin on the ground. Fortunately Logroño is famous for its pinchos / tapas bars which are concentrated around Calle del Laurel, and nearby streets. From the cathedral walk along Calle de los Portales about 50m and veer left and then right. Each bar specialises in several different kinds of tapa so shop around until you find something you like. Some regional specialities worth sampling are patatas a la riojana / boiled potatoes with chorizo and chuletillas de cordero al sarmiento / lamb chops grilled on a barbecue fired by vine branches, and let's not forget, orejas de cordero rebozadas / sheep's ear in breadcrumbs. Bar Sebas on Calle del Albornoz is a good place to try them. Restaurante Bar Tôlmay, near Hotel Entresueños, has been recommended.

Logroño is the capital of La Rioja, one of the world's most famous wine producing regions. It would be a shame to say the least not to take this opportunity to sample some of the local produce, as generations of pilgrims before you have. Riojan wines are aged in oak barrels and are classified according to their age and method of storage. Like in Navarra, bottles have a small colour-coded label on their reverse called the Consejo which gives information about the variety of grape and the ageing process used.

Each year on 11 June the city celebrates the festival of San Bernabé when, to commemorate the resistance of the city against an invading French army in 1521, fried fish, wine and bread are distributed by the Cofradía del Pez / Brotherhood of the Fish, symbolising the food that the people ate during the siege. The week before 21 September is the festival of San Mateo or Fiestas de la Vendimia (Harvest Festival) to celebrate the grape harvest. The main events are the crushing of the grapes and the offering of the first must to the Virgin of Valvanera. Followed inevitably by the usual chasing and being chased by livestock. Every year on the last Saturday of April there is a 63km nocturnal walk called La Valvanerada to the Monastery of Valvanera. It has been organised annually since 1976 by the local Blood Donors Association.

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Copyright © Gerald Kelly 2024. All text and photos.