Road to Nowhere – Dire Straits

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From the left: Sylvie, Gerrard, The Cyclist and Jan (pronounced Yan).
From the left: Sylvie, Gerrard, The Cyclist and Jan (pronounced Yan).

Road to nowhere – Dire Straights

Was it really time to get up and rush off? The problem with staying in a hostel instead of an Albergue is you have a room to yourself and can wallow in the quiet and slumber, whereas in an Albergue you are in dormitories of up to 90 people crammed in bunk beds and who begin to get up to leave from 5am. They make so much noise we have adopted if you can’t beat them, join them. But not so in a hostel. Oh the luxury. Trouble is that you will be late setting off if you aren’t careful and be walking in the heat of the day across this Meseta but also at risk of being finding places full when you arrive.

Today was such a day. It was just after 8am when we left the hostel and we had not had breakfast. I had a couple of those weeny Madeleine fairy cakes before leaving and again, like every day, longed for a mug of tea. We knew the large town of Carrion was 6Km away and we could have a coffee there. After that town there was a long track of 18Km with nothing. No town, no water, no shade. Nothing. And most everyone else had a good hours head start on us.

Within the first miles my fleece was off as it was warm enough without. In the town everything was shut. Not only was it just 9am but it was also Sunday. In the square we stopped for the all important coffee while the Cyclist studied the Guide, pronouncing we would pass the halfway mark just out side the town. This would mean we have another 2weeks and couple of days and we would have made it to Santiago. Some 500miles.

Outside the town we started up the track. It was long straight and white stretching out before you into the distance. Unfortunately at every incline, once at the top of the tiny bump in the path, it did so again. The Cyclist said we were walking slowly but we were still catching and overtaking people. It was hitting up too and about halfway we both put a little sun cream on as there is no turning round or over to even where the sun hits. We are always walking west so the sun gets your left side most of the time.

This would only be a 21km day and the cyclist had said it would be enough. How right he was. The sun was baking down and all the other walkers had their heads down and were trudging as best they could forward forward with the next town being their goal. It was going to be very busy there. Nobody was saying “Ola, Buen Camino” today. No they were all just concentrating on one foot in front of the other. It was really hard and not at all pleasant.

There was one hostel in the town and as I felt so wiped of va va Voom, he last thing I wanted was to be in an Albergue with other people. My left foot was hurting on the heel too and each step was sore. At the time that was nothing new, or so I thought.

At the top of one of the inclines I could see what looked like a roof, then another. The Cyclist said my face lit up. I don’t think it did but whatever it was, is was a thankfulness that this day of walking would soon end and I could get my shoes off. As we dropped into the town there was a group of people collecting their bags from the back of a transit van. One woman was walking round the outer wall of the first house and then in full view of everyone just undid her trousered and stopped down. I know that sometimes you just have to go, but 100yards along there was a bar where she could have gone.

At the hostel the chap asked if we had a reservation. Momentarily I felt a wave of concern and wondered if begging might help, but no need. He said he had a room. There were quite a few bags and cases in the foyer that had been dropped off waiting for the owners to get there and check in. We dropped our bags in the room and freed those poor feet. Oh dear. I knew my foot was hurting.

There at the back of my left foot on both my sole and heel, was a dreaded blister. No huge, not tiny, but very painful. The Cyclist said I should ignore it until we had eaten something. After lunch I did as he said to treat said blister. Ouch. Once we had both showered we went outside and I fetched us a drink from the bar. There were a couple of Germans sat outside too and it quickly became apparent that they were on a coach tour and one of their excursions had been to walk the long white road to this town. As they dribbled in one by one the growing group would give a cheer and clap that they had finished.

While there Jan, the Danish guy we met on our third night back in Cizur Menor, came wandering down the street. I got up and there were smiles and a hug as we had not seen him since Burgos. He said the French couple were at the Albergue too. And who should wander down the street some minutes later but Sylvie and Gerrard. Now that lifted my spirits and there was much cheek pecking and Çava questions going on while we caught up. We hadn’t properly seen them for quite a while and we had spent our very first night with them the day we all got soaked going over the mountain. We all sat and had a drink outside and decided we would all eat together at the hostel tonight. Although we had eaten at lunch the Cyclist said he would eat again so it was all set agreed for 7pm.

I popped to the little shop which was so tiny and in someone’s house while there the Japanese couple came in. Very smiley as usual and the lady grabbed my arm and pulled me asking me to help her. She pointed to her neck where she had obviously had a bite and it was swollen to golf ball size. I looked at the tiny offerings for sale but plasters and toothpaste seemed all they had. I tried to explain she needed anti histamine. This must be quite difficult for them to wrap their tongues around as both she and her husband struggled to say it. I had nothing to write it down on, so there was nothing I could do.

We were also introduced to Fernando who was French Canadian but of Portuguese heritage. He had walked with both Jan and the French couple. He asked the Cyclist if he could join us for dinner and then we were 6. Dinner was quite fun for a change and though I couldn’t say I was hungry, we ate three courses, one salad, lentil soup and a choc ice all swilled with glasses of water and vino tinto.
Now to bed.

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