Friday, October 23 – Day 44
So it turns out the bed was some kind of memory foam, but not a very good kind. It was comfortable, to a point, but then when you wanted to move it was just lumpy. I woke up during the night and it took a while to get back to sleep. Overall it wasn’t bad.
I was still in quite a bit of pain when I woke up, so I decided to take an extra Vitamin D pill. It definitely helped.
I thought I actually did pretty well this morning, getting to breakfast by 8:30. Remi and Enrique were there. I think they said they were the only ones in the albergue part. Breakfast was colacao and orange juice, and a ham and cheese sandwich for 3 E. I keep trying the ham, but I’m really not a fan. I’m not quite sure why. I think it has to do with the fat. I feel like I’m eating raw fat.
I started walking right before 9 am with Enrique. He’s from Portugal, but he speaks French and no English. Well, a very little bit of English. We were able to communicate ok in French. It was super cold again, in the 30s, but as soon as the sun came up it warmed up quickly.
I hadn’t seen any of the town the day before. I saw my first stork nests on the church! I would love to see actual storks in the nests, but it’s the wrong time of year for that.
Enrique and I parted ways at the church.
On the way to the next town I met up with Hank and Lili. They’re Americans, originally from El Salvador, but now they live outside Atlanta. I forgot to get a picture. There was this cool little chapel built into the side of a hill to take pictures of.
In the next town I met Joe from Malta. Malta is a first for me! We actually ended up spending most of the day together. When I said I was from Ohio, he said Ohio is a known word in Malta. During the World War II, Malta was getting bombed very badly and the country was completely out of supplies and fuel. There was a fuel tanker coming, but they ran out of fuel themselves. It was brought into the harbor surrounded by a bunch of little tug boats. It was called the Ohio, and it arrived on the Feast of the Assumption, bringing supplies that the country desperately needed, so it was a pretty big deal. It was really fun to hear him tell the story. It was fun to hear him talk in general, because he had a very different accent. He grew up in Malta, then moved to England for 10 years, then Australia for 25, then back to Malta. But he would be talking, and you couldn’t quite put your finger on his accent, and then suddenly he would speak a whole sentence that sounded very Irish, and then it was gone again. He never really sounded Aussie. He was also very proud of his country, saying that it’s the smallest country in the world that’s completely independent from other countries. He also said on the camino he almost walks the length of his country every day. Not everyone can say that!
We stopped in Villafranca to have lunch, and I wanted to get wifi to check on hotel locations in Burgos. Lunch was tortilla with a pepper, and bread. It also was only 3 E, and very good.
We started walking toward San Juan de Ortega about 1 pm, and we had 12k ish to go.
We actually got away from the freeway for a bit, and climbed up a very long hill through real trees! It was lovely.
We met up with a group of 5 from Paris who are walking the camino in stages. Some of them spoke a bit of English so we had a lovely time.
It was a very long walk down a very wide dirt road.
There was a woman running a tiki bar of sorts, donativo, so I gave her 1 E for some grapes. It was still a better value than Figeac grapes.
I got into San Juan right before 4 and checked into the albergue. It’s in an old monastery. There are three big dorm rooms with 20 beds each, but only two of them are open right now. We could pick any bed we wanted. Currently there are 5 people spread out between the two rooms, so hopefully it will be a good night.
We have to be out by 8, so I should be able to get into Burgos fairly early.
I had dinner with Joe right at 6 pm. I chose pasta and pork, and everyone got the garlic soup.
More and more people started showing up. I met another american girl named Cappy, and a French cyclist named Brian. He invited me to share a bottle of wine with him, but I volunteered to keep him company instead while he ate. He gave me some of a chocolate bar, which was absolutely delicious.
He’s biking to Santiago, and it’s only going to take him 8-10 days. He rode 120k today. He mentioned that he had talked to someone in Viana this morning, and I said, “that was 3 days ago for me.” It’s crazy.
Cappy and Joe joined us as well, and then Cappy had to leave to make a phone call. Brian asked about the wifi, but I said it wasn’t working well. Then Joe started talking about roaming charges in the EU and that he’s positive that they’re standardized, and because he gets charged .22 a minute for roaming then Brian would have the same rate. From my point of view the ensuing conversation/argument was absolutely hilarious, but Brian was getting rather annoyed with Joe. Brian said he had a different service provider, but Joe insisted the rates had to be the same because the EU passed some kind of standardization law. So Brian said, “so you’re saying we live in a communist state? Why are there so many competing providers if it’s all the same?” And Joe said, “oh no, that’s not what I’m saying, but I got a text that tells me my rates and it says .22 a minute for roaming charges.” And Brian said, “well I didn’t get the text that you go, so where’s your standardization?” Etc and on and on. Joe was convinced he was right and Brian wasn’t convinced at all. I found it highly entertaining, but thankfully it ended before it came to blows.
You meet all kinds of people on the Camino.