If anyone is still reading, I'm still alive. (Well, I'm still alive even if you're not reading. Whatever.) It's Day 8 of my walk across Spain--we've come almost 200k so far and have about 550 to go. My feet are sore and a little blistered but they haven't mutinied yet.
Today we stopped after only about 20k because it was starting to rain. That makes us sound horribly wimpy--we can walk in the rain. Stopping was really more about doing laundry, which maybe makes us sound wimpier, I dunno. Bad pilgrims. Anyway, I'm writing this from a laundromat/internet cafe and listening to some Brazilian pilgrims trying to figure out the washing machines.
Here's what it's like. All the towns on the route have albergues, which are like hostels only with even fewer comforts. Some have all the beds in one room, other have a few different rooms. Bunk beds, most have sheets and pillows but no blankets. You're supposed to bring a sleeping bag but my friend and I, the most half-assed pilgrims ever, decided sleeping bags were too heavy so we have to scrounge. We at least haven't had to sleep in a chicken coop yet, like the two slightly hapless Brazilians we met the first night did. Anyway, you usually have to be in by 10pm. This may well be my least favorite part of the camino--it doesn't matter how tired I am, I pretty much can't go to sleep at 10pm. Whatever. I wake up between 6 and 7 because by then other people are up and being loud. Change clothes, brush teeth, find coffee and protein. Finding coffee and protein that early in Spain is hard but we've done okay so far. Walk. Walk. Fruit break. Walk. Walk. Lunch. Walk. Coffee. Walk. Find albergue, shower, sit, eat. Drink. Drink. Drink. (Not really, but there is this crazy old Italian guy who calls me (in Italian) the old drunk.) Sleep. Repeat.
We started in Roncesvalles, in Navarra just on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees. Went all the way through Navarra and are now going through La Rioja. Lots of grapes. Lots of big dramatic scenery--mountains, big fields, open blue sky. Lots of interesting people. Names seem sort of irrelevant and I'm bad with them anyway, so people have names like the Italian, the chicos, old and young Bob Marley, the guys who like churches, the bus drivers. Lots of languages--most people speak English but not everyone. I've managed to have a few broken conversations in both Italian and Portuguese, and am getting lots of Spanish practice as well. I've already had three arguments in Spanish about the fact that Catalan is a separate language and not a dialect of Spanish--the conversation is frustrating as hell but I also kinda like it because I'm getting good at having it in Spanish.
Last night the bus drivers gave me a forty (yeah, as in forty ounces of bad beer) and I sat on a curb drinking it and smoking. How is this purifying me again? Wherever I go, there I am....