Detalles del Día
Trajectory: Grañón to Villafranca
Distance: 16 miles, or 25.6 kilometers
Climate: All of them
Rainbows: Free with purchase (1 per walker)
Note: These posts are all out of order due to the fact that WiFi only exists in weird places during this stretch of the Camino. I’m currently sitting on a bench in Castrojeriz uploading a post from sometimes last week. Also, apparently it’s Tuesday? Life is weird.
Today was characterized by me being pissed off about the fact that I’d burned my notebook, and pissed off about the mercurial weather, which changed drastically every 30 minutes. I don’t mind walking in rain; in fact, some of my longer days have been rainy ones because I don’t feel compelled to stop and smell the proverbial roses. What I do find irksome is walking in rain that stops and gives way to bright sun that bakes you in your rain jacket, which you finally decide to take off, only to cross over a hill and find that there’s an ice storm in progress, and that it’s a solid 15 degrees colder. Also, my notebook was probably being stoked around back in the House of Jolly Laughs (name changed to protect the irksome). And my hat was wet! Le sigh.
Basically, I smelled horrible (I still do; doing laundry is imperative), my clothes were exploding clouds of dust despite being damp, and I was oddly tired. I may have noted this in a previous post, there’s something demoralizing about seeing your destination on the horizon for two and a half hours as you trudge towards it.
Cerrado: Not a Nice Word
In Saint Jean Pied de Port, I was given a master list of albergues and their schedules for winter. The list had proven 100% accurate, and I saw no reason why it would deviate at this point. Of course, I arrived in Villafranca Montes de Oca – a town with the same number of letters in its name as inhabitants in its houses – to find that the municipal albergue, allegedly open 365 days a year, was closed. The next town, San Juan de Ortega, also had a closed albergue, which would mean walking to Ages, 16 kilometers (10 miles) further. I had no interest in starting 10 more miles at 4:30, especially since the bakery and store were closed for the day. Saturday afternoon is basically Sunday.
Luckily, there was a bar/restaurant where all of the men in town were drinking, smoking, and being generally red in the face. I can only hope the women were doing something fun and intellectual. The bartender told me that they had rooms available upstairs for 18€, which by Camino de Santiago standards is obscene (most albergues are 5€ to 7€) but by USA standards is still verging on free.
I passed a relatively uneventful night eating dinner in the bar, watching dubbed American TV and dozing intermittently, trying to rest up for the longer day. It was amazing to have a room to myself, especially when I didn’t have to worry that the hotel owner was going to stumble into my room, crying and needing consolation.
It’s the little things.