After the previous nights’ shenanigans I was pleased no one was around when I woke up. After a quick shower I snuck out, stealthily, like a ninja, and got back on the road. More walking. I always thought that the thing I would hate most, if I ever turned into a Zombie, would be all the walking. But it’s not too bad.
To be honest this is not the best I’ve ever felt. I couldn’t find coffee and the next village was 8km away. It took me two hours to get there, Boadilla del Camino. The coffee hit the spot. I filled up my water bottles and marched on.
After a mile or two I felt a hotspot developing on my toe so I whipped of my boot and applied some ‘Compete’ ointment, (recommended). My girlfriend, The Little Nurse, had packed a medical kit that ensured every possible emergency could be dealt with. Plasters, lotions, salves, all present and correct. Some pedicure tools, pills to cover everything from a headache through malaria to ebola. There were weird looking surgical implements in there too, so, if necessary, I could remove my spleen and with the aid of a wikipedia page perform a lung transplant on a fellow traveller… Probably.
For people my age I can recommend dating a nurse. It could save your life.
Anyway, as I was replacing my boot I was caught up by Reed, the kid from last night. We walked together chatting. I enjoyed his company. He had a very mature attitude for an eighteen year old.
He was in a band, playing all original stuff and he told me an A&R man from an LA based record company had checked them out and offered them a deal. At a band meeting they collectively decided that they didn’t want to be rich or famous. How refreshing. How different from the talentless, so called “influencers” that infest You Tube and the like. His mum was on the trail, several days behind though, as he valued the independence of his own Camino. No different from other 18 year olds there then.
I got it. I was eighteen when I was his age.
We hit Fromista. I had thought earlier I would stop here for the night. Once again it seemed too early to stop. We had only covered 16 kliks since Itero de la Vega. I was hungry so we rolled into Bar Garigolo. I ordered ham and eggs and the waiter was not best pleased that Reed, although occupying a seat, was just going to be an observer. The waiter was downright unfriendly. He couldn’t come to terms that at 50 years old, he had a job the only perk of which, was a polyester apron. I was going to give him a nasty look but I could see he already had one. Reed decided to use the toilets, to avoid any chew I gave him 5 euros, told him to order and pay for two beers before he went to the restrooms. He was on a really tight budget, bless him.
The food was expensive for what it was, and the beer wasn’t cheap for the size of the glasses. I wouldn’t go back there.
The next village was Poblacion de Campos. The kid Reed was ready to stop. He decided against it because I was going on. Next was Villamentero, 9 klicks from Fromista and I told him he should stop if he felt the need. It was pretty hot and he looked like he was overheating. I was going to carry on.
‘I can’t stop until you do’, he told me
‘Why not,’ I asked.
‘People might find out an ancient guy outwalked me,’ he said, deadpan.
‘This will not be the last time a so called ancient guy kicks your ass. It’s not about the miles on the clock. It’s about the build quality. You my fine friend are forgetting that I’m English, and as such I start out with a distinct advantage over most nations,’ I said, equally deadpan.
Young Americans do not always appreciate satire and he went quiet for a while. Hehe.
We passed through Villacalzar. We looked at each other, like a couple of boxers facing off pre fight. Now neither of us can stop or we will lose face. It was another 6k to Carrion de Condes. We made it and our total distance that day was over 34 km. We came across Albergue Espiritu Santo an albergue run by nuns. Checked in, it was 5 euros. We bumped into Noah, Reed’s companion from the previous night. She seemed very pleased to see him. Could this be the Camino love I had heard so much about? After a shower I went for a well-deserved drink. Later the Kid Reed and Noah turned up at the little bar and shared my bottle of wine. Then they left to make food.
Sitting outside the friendly little bar on this balmy evening I felt pleasantly tired and very satisfied with the day’s efforts but it was time to go. Earlier from inside the Albergue a nun had indicated a metal gate between the street and the courtyard. This was the only door open after 8.00 and it was locked at 10.00. I headed there now. My contentment with the way of the world was soon shattered. The door was locked. No way! Checked my watch. 9.55. WTF. Two nights running. I banged on the door. I yelled. A car pulled up opposite. A guy got out to use the recycling bins. Something about my demeanour elicited in him a compulsion to help. Whether it was the look of complete despair or the cursing and swearing, I couldn’t say.
‘Albergue’? he called over
‘Si, es cerrado temprano (it’s closed early),’ I called back.
He indicated another door in a recess, yards away, just out of my eyeline. It opened. Yay.
‘Gracias senor, muchas gracias,’ I shouted and darted through.
That’s two nights out of three. Gotta drink less.
Or just drink in the albergues…
To be continued…
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