We managed to get to the Orange Tienda right at 10 am as they opened for the day. By 10:30 we were armed with gigabytes and phone minutes and ready to head off to Loiola. We picked up our backpacks from our hotel, grabbed a cab and 45 minutes later we were abeam of the Sanctuario heading to the Hotel Loiola just a few blocks further along. We were last here in January of 2015 preparing to walk the full Camino Ignaciano. This time we will only be going as far as Logroño as we then will head to Ponferrada to walk the Camino Invierno to Santiago.
Once we sorted out our room we headed back up the street to visit the Sanctuario of Loiola and get the first stamp in our pristine credentials. There is a crazy amount of traffic passing through this little town. I am not sure why that is, but it is wise to cross only at a designated crosswalk to avoid becoming a hood ornament.
As we entered the grounds of the Sanctuary we were reminded of the special sense of peace that flows from this place. Ignatius was a remarkable man and his passion is felt clearly as one visits his birth home and the basilica next to it. A special treat befell us today as we found the organist playing in the church just as we entered. The stillness of the church with its subdued lighting and the beckoning notes of the organ caused us simply to pause and offer thanks for the faith that urges us onward. Rainy and cold will be the order of the day tomorrow as we set out for Zumarraga, But for now we are tucked into the Hotel Loiola, the heat (automatico) has finally come on, a few pintxos and a couple of glasses of wine are on the table and we are at peace. Work begins in the morning. I will post from Zumarraga at the end of day 1. Peace be with you.