Today, I was a total and utter slug, going only 11.5 km (about 7 miles).
I stopped midday for a coffee in the town of Palacios de Sanabria, where there was no albergue. I drank my coffee inside the bar, still not accustomed to the stares and downright rude looks I would get from the townsfolk.
It was loud and smoky in the bar. A young guy, in his late 20s or early 30s, wearing loose-fitting long shorts came in, gave me a quick, sidelong, somewhat menacing glance, then barked some sort of order to the bartendress/ waitress, and went back outside.
I was feeling generally uncomfortable, so gulped down my coffee, and went outside to get back on my way. As I was adjusting my still ill-fitting pack, I noticed that the young man was sitting outside with another guy and two trendy-looking women, enjoying lunch and smoking cigarettes.
“Hey,” one of the girls called out to me in Spanish. “Are you a pilgrim? Do you want some chorizo? We ordered too much, and can’t finish it all.”
I was hesitant, but, hey, it was chorizo! And jamon and salchichon and lots of other delicious Spanish cold cuts — who was I to say no?
It turned out, in a small group, the scary dude was actually super nice; it’s just a cultural difference, I think, in terms of staring and manner of speaking that had me on edge. The girls were so nice and friendly, and we clicked right away.
They told me they were planning on visiting the nearby national park, Lago de Sanabria, and the historical town, did I want to join them?
Did I??? I live for National Parks! But, I had no place to stay. “No problem,” they said. “You can rent a cheap room here!” Done, and, DONE! They set me up in the “hotel” down the way, which was really just a room in the bar-owner’s house set up to receive visitors, but it had hot water and MY OWN BEDROOM! I’d be free from snorers tonight! YAY!
And off we went, in their little car, up to the National Park.