At some point in the past few days, much to my chagrin, I found myself back in pace with the posse of pilgrims I’d met earlier.
Generally, there are only so many places along the route to stay, and once pilgrims are on the route, they wind up seeing the same people night after night, unless someone is injured and stays an extra night in one town (albergue rules state that pilgrims cannot stay more than one night unless injured); goes only a short distance; or pays extra to stay in a private room.
I’d thankfully gotten out of step with this crowd, but then they all chose to linger a day in some town, and, voila, there I found myself, with this motley, inconsiderate bunch once again.
From the next day’s journal:
I’d write smaller but my hands are shaking. My feet are tingling. My vision even feels blurry.
Nine Hours of walking. Very little stopping for a real break this time — lots of little breaks, though, stops to rearrange, as usual.
“Health Buddha”, my visualized companion of care, seems to have flown the coop. VERY bad start this morning. I think it was a combo of “snoozing” in the morning — essentially just being sad and grouchy in bed trying to sleep from 6am to 8am while everyone in the alburge is loud and rude and throws their personal items around.
P, the Australian dude who rubs me a little bit the wrong way with his intrusiveness, was actually really considerate for a change, using his headlamp instead of putting on the overhead lights. C, the uber-confident, slightly self-important, I’m-the-most-experienced-pilgrim-in-the-world-and-I’m-only-19 chick from Wesleyan via Singapore talked SO LOUDLY while everyone was at least making the effort to whisper.
Anyway, it’s become clear that the Hostel/Albergue Lifestyle is no longer for me. Snoring people, swaying bunks, that grating sound of nylon sleeping bag stuff sacks, backpacks and rain jackets rustling against each other… *shudders*
Well, needless to say, I didn’t wake up well, an inauspicious start. And… I didn’t have COFFEE! I forget how quickly I get addicted to COFFEE! And I’ve been enjoying a lot of it, every morning, it seems, so a morning without it is a frightful morning indeed.
So, yes: the first bit was tough, with a long bit of rearranging, but also adelicious “paraguaya”, a kind of a cross between and a nectarine and a peach that looks like a donut, if a donut were somehow magically turned into a peach. Amazing!
I ate my delicious paraguaya by a place that was clearly gorgeous before the Autopista — esentially, a superhighway on stilts — was built. Still, I feel there’s something kind of mystical even in those areas that have an Autopista running above it, with the rivers and meadows flowing freely beneath it…”