Preparing dinner in Galicia.
A special shout-out to my Dad today! He is the tacit blog observer. 🙂
I was lucky enough to have my OWN ROOM last night, a rarity on the Camino Frances. It had 6 beds, but I was alone, and slept well. The rest of the gang I’d met up with last night — Serafin, Jordy, Jorge (all Spanish), Veronica, Lynn (Canadian) and Paolo (Italian) took the other room. Jordy, the father-figure, got me up at 6:30am so I could leave with everyone else.
It was a chilly yet beautiful morning, the sun rising brilliantly behind us, ominous clouds in front.
Walking towards the storm clouds in front of us, we were lucky enough to see a FULL RAINBOW! We never even got rained on. Pretty awesome.
Spent the day jamming out to my awesome playlists and chatting in Spanish.
Although I normally prefer to walk one, today was a pretty fun day. I walked with Rodri for the morning, and had a delicious cafe con leche and Spanish tortilla in a cafe along the way, just me and the baristas hanging out watching some tv.
The day was cloudy, and very breezy. After “brunch”, I zipped along the relatively flat Camino, passing a ton of older pilgrims along the way.
I also passed the Argentinian and his pretty Slovinian (possibly Slovakian) friend who has 4 huge blisters so were waking very slowly. Zip, zip, zip!
The terrain was a bit tedious but it was still quite pretty, especially the somewhat ominous sky.
At some point I approached the Spanish women who were laughing in the dorm room the night before. “Hi, neighbor!” I called out. I spent a little while walking with them, chatting in Spanish, which was fun.
Coming into the town of Los Arcos, I was overtaken by a tall and very gregarious Spaniard from Leon named Serafin. He convinced me to stay in the private (and much more expensive than the municipal albergue, at €10 instead of €6!) hostel with him and his 7 Camino friends tonight. I chose the room for 6 instead of staying in the room for 9, with hopes it will be quieter. It’s much colder, though, so time will tell if it’s worth it in the end!
Serafin and his friend Jordy and I got lunch — at 3pm! — at a delicious cafe — there was roast chicken, a rarity in Spain! — located in what I think is an old wine cellar, with arched brick walls and ceiling. The Spanish Ladies showed up a little later, and the waiter snapped a picture of us. As pilgrims come through in droves, he was clearly accustomed to taking such photos!
I haven’t been able to update much as I’ve only got my iPhone, and Internet kiosks are few and far between. My nature is to do everything chronologically, but technical and temporal limitations are forcing me to do otherwise!
Thanks for all your “likes” and comments, by the way, they keep me going! It’s nice to know my family (Hi mom, Nancy, Aunt K and Aunt Y!) and possibly some friends are out there reading!
A Tiny bit of background: I started walking on the Camino Baztan, a little-known branch of the Camino, which goes from Bayonne in France, over a shorter part of the Pyrenees and on into Spain, where it meets the popular Camino Frances at a town called Arres.
Today was my 3rd day walking on the Camino Frances. The terrain and ambiance is totally different from the Baztan: the Baztan is mountainous and solitary (at least two nights I was the only person on my stage of the trail!), the Frances on this stretch is beige, dark green and dry, with a hundred or more pilgrims passing by each town along the way a day.
The Albergue (pilgrim hostel) was totally full last night. I got the very last bed! One hundred people! Our dorm room of 16 bunk beds was pretty hilarious. I was one of the youngest ones there, even if we don’t take into account the fact that I’ve been shaving a good 6 years off my age whenever people ask! The Spanish woman next to me was having a seriously tough time getting into her top bunk, with lots of hand-holding, pulling and pushing.
When I finally got into mine a little while later, just kind of vaulting up there, her friend gave me a small applause and said in Spanish, “Now that’s how it’s done!” Then the entire dorm proceeded to burst into those clandestine, catching giggles for a good 10 minutes before we all settled down. Pretty hilarious!
Today started off a little bit inauspiciously with a drizzly rain, and I put off setting out by loitering in the kitchen. I made the acquaintance of the Argentinian dude who kept me up half the night moving around in his lower bunk, and a few other people, who complemented me on my Spanish and actually didn’t criticize me eating tinned mussels for breakfast. Ur encouraged it! (“I can’t get these in the US!” “Then enjoy them while you’re here! Good protein for walking.”)
Eventually, we had to set out in the rain, which was less than ideal. I started off on my own, with rain paints, sweatshirt and rain jacket. Going uphill I quickly overheated, so stopped at an overhang by someone’s garage to rearrange myself. A pilgrim on a bike approached, and we began to chat.
The Argentinian and his friends then passed us, and he remarked (again) that I needed a cover for my backpack or everything would get wet. He said I could head back into town for a poncho for €2.
I wasn’t about to head down again, but the bicyclist– whose name is Rodri– offered to do it for me. He wouldn’t even take money! How cool!
I waited for him, reading some free literature from the Jehovah’s Witnesses to pass the time. When he returned, it had practically stopped raining! We chatted for another long while, when I asked if he wanted to walk with me. We walked — with him pushing his bike! — for a good 2 hours, chatting in Spanish, till we reached a village where I got a coffee and he went zipping along on his way.
We got contact info to keep in touch, practice English/Spanish, etc, but it’s unlikely we’ll ever meet again. But it was a lovely way to pass a drizzly morning. And such are the friendships of the Camino!