Sunday, September 15, 2013
My lovely little commune albergue was the site of a delicious communal meal for nine of us last night. Acacio and Orietta were host and chef respectively, and with six peregrinos and one volunteer, we sat around a long table and shared a sumptuously simple dinner. Cream of zucchini soup, green salad, rice and a lentil and chorizo stew The requisite water and wine, of course, though they came just as they were, not transformed by anyone
One of the many lovely things about the philosophy of this couple is that they want us to really be in the pleasure of each moment. I asked whether I could set the table and Orietta nodded. Then she said, “Even the act of setting the table is a conscious act, not just a way to get to dinner.”
While they hold to the guideline of most albergues, lights out by 22:00, they will not unlock the doors in the morning until 7:00 a.m. This prevents anyone from rushing around at 5:30 when others are trying to be quiet, and it helps remind all of us that this is not a race. I heard one man trying to wheedle an early exit from Orietta, and she said, “You are trying to persuade me to do something when my job right now is to make coffee. You can wait for twenty minutes to leave, please.”
I will miss this committed couple. And I am up fairly early, 7:00, relaxing a bit before breakfast. I head out the door by 8:30, into a completely overcast and gratefully cool day. The hills are barely rolling and their colors are various shades of gold and brown. No grapevines, no trees. Just peace and quiet.
I seem to stop many times today, fussing over my boots and socks, taking the ankle guard off my right foot (too bulky), and again, stopping to reach into the right boot, trying to discover what is in there that is causing such discomfort. Ah, there it is . . . a folded bit of fabric at just the point of the bulging bone below my big toe. After a minute’s hesitation, I get out my little Swiss Army knife and awkwardly cut away the quarter-sized piece of fabric (probably part of the Gortex) and re-insert my foot. Feels better.
Lots of little towns today, a very odd variety of sights, an opportunity to get juice or café-con leche at each stop, along with just a couple of occasional pinchos to feed the body. I have a reservation at a place 21 km. up the road, the place Amadeo arranged to have my small backpack sent, so I have to get there. If I don’t arrive by 2:00 p.m. and don’t call, my bed will be gone. I call at 1:30 to reconfirm and say I will be there by 5:00. Or so.
The way is smooth today, the up and down more gradual than some days, and the bushes, almost non-existent. I do have a bush time, checking behind me on the path to gauge how far behind me the next group of walkers might be. I’m getting good at this, but I leave my pack and sticks on the side of the path and plunge into stickers. I’m standing upright atain as the group approaches. Five of them, I think. I ask for a hand out of the brambles, and one man looks up in surprise, passes me his walking stick, and extends his arm. Whoop! Out I come, and I thank you. They go on, and I re-don pack, pick up sticks and follow them.
At 4:50, I am at the desk. The little man looks up past a small crowd of hopeful registrants (the bush rescuer among them) and says, “Joannah?” I nod. He also nods and I know my bed is safe. It’s even a “normal bed”, that is, not a bunk. YEA!
Today was not majestic. It just was a new Camino day. By 2:00, my boots were off, replaced by the Teva sandals again. The hills were very manageable, I was carrying most of the full weight of my large pack, and I never once felt anything but comfortable on the walk (but for the boots here and there). The people at REI will be shocked that I took a penknife to my Asolo boots. Sorry, REI. Nothing personal.
Nearly 21 km. today. I have walked (but for the two short hitchhiker rides) 252 km so far. That’s only 156.24 miles, but who’s counting. It’s not much more than the distance from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, so why did it take me two weeks to do it?? Time is wiggly on the Camino.