Day 31 Villafranca del Bierzo to Las Herrrerias
Day 32 Las Herrerias to O’Cebreiro
24 May 2014
Finally Some Aussies
While wifi is free everywhere, the signal is often poor in our room. Last night we were using the Internet in the tiny bar of our hotel. Soon we were surrounded by wall to wall Aussies – all from Queensland. Three were staying in the hotel and three others had come from the Albergue over the road.
Finally we were meeting all the Aussies on The Way that we’d heard about. And who should walk in but Margie’s friends the Fishburns. We knew they were going to be on the Camino but they were starting much later than us and we never expected to see them. We had a lovely dinner together.
Breakfast in Bed
Many hotels don’t offer breakfast before 7:30 which is too late for peregrinos wanting to get on the road. Our hotel (whose rate included breakfast) had a perfect solution. They provided a tray with a thermos of café con leche (coffee with milk), bread in cling film with small individual packets of jam and butter, and a slice of cake each (no breakfast is complete without a sweet something!).
So this morning we had a real treat. Breakfast in bed! (No hotel/hostal/pension where we have stayed for an average of €45 a night has a kettle in the room. You more often than not have to have your own soap too! )
The Bread Van
Walking along the deserted street of a village you may think that the sudden insistent sound of a car horn is a local getting impatient with a tardy peregrino. But no. Ahead you might also see one or two villagers emerging from their homes. The horn is letting the village know that the bread van has arrived. Some people who have a standard order have their bread hung in a bag on the door handle.
Peregrinos come in all shapes and sizes. Some are well prepared, others not. Some carry everything on their backs and some like us send a bag ahead. Others do a mixture of both. Those who start off with a heavy backpack often ditch stuff along the way or send it on to Santiago.
We’ve seen people striding ahead, people shuffling along and others with a painful limp. Many try to do too much and end up having to quit or rest up to heal. Those with less time do the Camino in stages-a bit each year. We are fortunate to have the time to take it slowly.
To keep walking some sing, some pray. Others whistle. These women, from Russia (one has lived in Seattle for many years), motivate themselves by singing Russian marching songs.
There is No One Way to do the Camino
We were called the ‘luxury peregrinos’ the other night because we choose not to stay in the Albergues-we want a double room with our own bathroom instead of sleeping in a double bunk with anything from 2 to 40 strangers with all the noise and lack of privacy that entails. And yes it costs us more than the €5-€10 a night that they are paying but we’ve kept it simple.
Even those staying in Albergues may have the occasional night in a Hostal. Some even send their bag on now and then. And they may take the bus to skip a few stages. Or a train! Each to their own.
We’ve met some lovely people. We’ve walked with some and had dinner or morning coffee with others. Some we never see again and others we bump into after a week or more. Then it’s hugs all round.
Bronek asked me today how I feel about going back to Dangar. I think I’ll be a bit sad when this is all over. And I may need to walk along the Sydney coastline once or twice a week. Walking around the Island just won’t be enough.
Next Post: Our Last Week