The main memory of Day 2? Being HOT. Like, *REALLY HOT*. And tired. I clearly left too late in the day (this becomes a theme), but what did I know?
I started off slowly with a LOT of backpack adjusting (this also becomes a theme.) I sat on a bench by a ruined church to look at the views (and re-adjust) and managed to promptly drop my pen right into a line of ants.
They were moving house, and perhaps needed a pen, for they covered the entire thing in a matter of seconds. D’oh! I dusted it off, and as I felt the tickle of little bodies all around and more and more on me I quickly realized this probably was not the best place to stay. I marched on and up somewhat, then, as the dirt road leveled out I started really zipping along.
I took a break to eat my sandwiches under a tree across from a random discarded open umbrella, and waved to the few bikers who periodically wizzed by, usually in pairs or more, shouting, “Buen Camino!” into their own wind.
After wolfing down lunch, I started off again along in the dusty daylight, blaring my tunes and shaking my booty in a half-dance, half strut toward the infinite horizon.
I suddenly had that feeling of being watched, and realized that, about a quarter mile behind me, another lone hiker was quickly approaching. Despite what I thought to be my amazing speed, my legs are still half the size of the rest of the adult population’s, and so, wah, it turns out I’m not actually that fast of a walker after all.
Coming up to a curve, I ducked one way, and, realizing it was a wrong turn, decided to just stay until whoever it was passed so as not to be embarrassed by my painfully poor route-finding abilities (note third Camino theme). The dude walked on by, and I felt relieved, alone again. Oh, and relieved: it was safe to pee, with the other pilgrims out of the way, my bashful bladder finally feeling assured that we’d have a few minutes of privacy. (If you’re ever grumpy on Camino, I discovered, just try to pee. TMI, maybe, but not if you’re planning on doing any long-distance walking, I promise!) It was a nice view, out to the fields below and the tarmac road way in the distance.
A few hours later, I stumbled into Riego del Camino, starving and hot. The woman there said, sorry, no food, we’re closed, but then must’ve taken pity and fed me an absolutely HUGE meal in the back room away from the men who were there drinking. A cute, 13-year-old-ish girl talked with me in Spanish as she served me the delicious meal of some sort of pork (“lomo”), along with a yummy salad, and an apple for dessert.
As I started heading the complete wrong way out of town, I stumbled upon Hugo, an extraordinarily sunburned Irish guy. We chatted for a while, and he convinced me to take another load off in the shade of the Albergue, where I peppered him with questions and marveled at how he was actually alive under all that redness. I laughed at his sock tanline. “Oh, laugh now, Love. Just wait a week.” (I didn’t believe him: I should’ve. By the end of the trip, I was marveling at just how sexy a sock tan can be.)
He helped me get a sello from the hospetelera a few houses down, who scolded him for “always smoking.” (This really stuck in Hugo’s craw. “She’s met me once!” he kept repeating. “Once! How is that always??” This became a rather long, if amusing, discussion.) I decided to push on to Granja de Moreruela, and, in the motherly way of Pilgrims looking after the newbies, told me to text when I got there so he’d be sure I was OK. “No news is good news,” I said. “I didn’t know they made Jewish Moms in the form of sunburned Irish dudes. Don’t worry!”
The road to Granja was long, straight, and hot. It was a fascinating red color, a packed, clay-red dirt road through chopped-down fields of nothing. It was fascinating.
As I approached the town I saw… Sheep! BABY SHEEP!!!!
Baby sheep (um, in the real world they’re called “lambs”) have to be some of the cutest animals Mother Nature has come up with. They run along after their moms, and make these little “me me me, what about me, where are you going, hey what’s that, I’m hungry, hey, I’m over here, me me me!” sounds that make me just want to run up and swing one in my arms. I stopped just to stare and feel the sheep love when the farmer came up to the fence, and offered to fill up my water bottle. “Isn’t it too hot for you to be walking so late?” he asked. Yeah, probably.
From the baby-sheep-farm, I could see the town growing in the distance. Watching it approach was kind of an awesome experience. One minute it’s a speck; in half an hour, we’re there.
I met up with Maartin at the Albergue. Again, we were the only ones there. This Albergue was set up with the dorm room on one side of a porch, and, on the other, was the town’s bar/restaurant. We had a LATE dinner: for some reason, there was no food until like 9:00pm. Turns out this is because the Spanish eat dinner hella late and go to bed on full stomachs. (Why they’re not all enormous is beyond me.) Maartin and I had a rather stilted conversation over dinner, possibly because he chewed with his mouth open and talked with it full and I was particularly grossed out by that. But, he was a nice guy, so I tried to be friendly!
In the morning, I was back to my “Oh hellz no I don’t want to get up!” self, and, when Hugo showed up before I was even out of bed (“Dina, your friend is here!” Maartin said, shaking me awake), I still didn’t care. “I’ll see you later,” I grumbled, and pulled the sleep-shade back over my eyes.
Yes, it’s the crazy American girl who walks alone too late in the day because she’s a lazy grumpmeister in the mornings! I was never really able to easily change this theme, which proved to be a real hindrance on the Camino. I guess we all just take the cards we are dealt until we’re able to somehow find the power to reshuffle the deck.
Extra Notes, mostly for myself: There was a really cool estuary here, which I probably could’ve marched across, but instead, followed the book’s direction to walk an extra few K around and over a bridge. There were these crazy ruins, too, which I would’ve liked to explore, but those extra few K’s tuckered me out! So, I just sat across from them on the crunchy grass and admired.