12 If it Isn’t One Thing…..

My dinner in Santo Domingo de Calzada consisted of Cup-a-noodle. I was seriously tired and determined to be in bed by 8:00pm. Mission accomplished. As it is in all places pilgrims normally stay we are required to be out of the Albergue first thing in the morning ……into the cold, black morning.

One thing I did not know when I checked in is the Albergue wants all pilgrims out earlier than most, by 7:00am. Pretty simple. Pack up and get out. Before leaving I have tagged my bag with a JacoTrans envelope. Included the 5 Euros, and set out with my headlamp. My bag will be delivered to my next Albergue, and I will be walking with my little day pack.

Unlike the previous mornings I decided to grab something to eat before diving headlong into the day. I am not a breakfast sort of person normally, but I have noticed I am fading as the clock hands pass 12 noon.

The orange juice is freshly squeezed (by a machine) and the micro sandwitch hit the spot. I was then out the door, fumbling around in the dark once again. Other pilgrims were swinging their flashlights around in the narrow streets trying to find a yellow arrow, or any sign the Camino “is this way”. Ultimately there is a brass plate in the street……..”, and I’m freezing my little bum off. (I know I have body dismorphia)

As the sun tries to rise above the mountain ridges and warm us, but there is a storm to the east blocking the sun. Someone is enjoying the full force of a storm, as I realize I have no rain gear whatsoever in my little day pack. If this rain storm catches us I am really up a proverbial creek.

My attitude is one of what happens, happens.

Think wide open spaces, walking 15 metres (45′) off the side of a major highway for a portion of the day. The paths taken guide us through the next town, Grañon. A delightful little town with Albergues and little else. The Pilgrims who stayed here are raving about the accommodation, the meals, and the friendliness of the locals as I mentioned. Sounds like a “must stay” location to me. Next time…..

Back out of town and at least one of the villagers has started the annual pepper roast early. I should explain. Roasted red peppers (over charcoal) must be a long standing tradition, at least in the part of Spain. From now on I expect to see this everywhere, and with any luck I will be tasting these from time to time. Absolutely delicious.

Once out of town the sun is beating down upon the road. The threat of rain is still around us but does not seem to be willing to catch us. The lack of shade intensifies the severity of the “rolling hills”. I use quotes, only because it seems we are walking a gradual slope up for a kilometer or two, then a short steep decent, just to start another long ascent. This phenomenon is respeated constantly all day.

Several small towns break up the monotony of the day and my music is a great help.

Today my knees and feeling much better, my hip is actually marginally improved as well. But for some unknown reason my left ankle has a searing pain. By the time I reach Belorado I am almost unable to walk. I am making every attempt not to drag my foot….but hurt? Youbetcha.

I booked my Albergue last night and when I get into town there is a substantial line of people hoping to get a bed. The owner, a delightful young lady, comes out and announces “we are sold out. If you do not have a reservation you will not be able to stay here tonight….I am very sorry”.

Well, at least I had the foresight to call yesterday. The person I spoke to had no English, and insisted my name was “Cuermo”, but he did say “Si” when I said “Reservation OK?”.

By the time I was able to register the lady asked what name is your reservation under? I said “my name is Cam, but the gentleman I spoke to wanted to call me Cuermo”. She plunged her face into her palms….saying “My Father”.

It seems her Father was manning the phones last night and had been telling many people he was making reservations when in fact he wasn’t writing any of this down. She whispered “I have one more bed”……and I whispered “Muchas Gracias”. And I really meant it.

Gotta bed for the night….by the skin of my teeth apparently.