Monday, September 3, 2012

Notes from Kay (Sep 2nd)

Some of you will have already read K´s notes, so may wish to skip this  - - - 


Today (Sunday 2nd, Fathers day) was our third walking day, so we are beginning to get beyond being Camino virgins - just!

We have stayed in two refugios/albergues (the first run by the church, the second private - I think), but all are dormitory/ communal rooms with shared bathroom etc.  The first one was the only show in town, with no shops restaurants etc anywhere, so dinner was provided by the albergue and we got to meet all 16 people staying there.  it was a lovely introduction to the people on the walk.  last night was larger, but there were more options in town so there was not the communal feel, but you still did get to meet people.  Tonight we are in a hotel!  we have some privacy and a proper towel instead of our super-light super-absorbent one.

We have met some interesting people - Catherine from ireland who has been to Australia, and gave me a lesson in how to put on my backpack, jeff from the US who worked on the fishing boats in Alaska to pay for his university studies (no HECS there), helena and pasqual from france,  The danish man so we could talk about "our Mary", the fellow who asked us to buy him a cider (that was his hydration along the walk) and there were more.  I must say that people are frinedly, ready to chat, and so far in the albergues, everyone has been very considerate.

Today was tough - the third day with a full backpack is catching up, and it was hot with little vegetation and some steep uphill parts.   However tomorrow is another day, and will be a short day into Estella, and there is always a taxi if it gets too bad.  it was when I was thinking that this walk can be torture as well as pleasure.

I was apprehensive before beginning, but have found my fears allayed with the experience of walking.  However am still settling into the rhythm of it all.  >we go to bed early and get up early - 5.30-6am  then look for breakfast somewhere.  it is amazingly quick when you sleep in the next days clothes!

Although I must say standards are dropping fast - we wash when we can, and have had to wear clothes 2 days in a row - I am sure they will need to be burnt when this is all over!  Safety pins make good pegs, and are useful for draping a wet towel or wet socks from the backpack.

KM mentioned language.  My french came in useful today when booking a room.  There is little english, but people are friendly.  We admired a lady´s house in todays tiny village (Lorca) and got a long explanation from her and her neighbour, which was (I think) how she had lived there for a long time, ever since she was a "nina".  It is amazing what you can gather when you don´t understand what is being said.  Just the fact that someone is talking to you has meaning!  If the Spaniards sense that you don´t comprehend, they just keep on talking, and you listen for any word that is comprehensible.

The countryside has been ever changing.  there are lots of blackberries by the road, and a man from Chicago taught me how to pick them (from the top of the bush because animals pee on the lower ones!)  and morning tea today was blackberries and grapes nicked from the the adjoining vineyards (it was just that there were not shops around to get a cup of coffee).  There have been views of cultivation (probably wheat), parts shaded by overhanging trees, steep downhill with loose rocks, which I find very tricky.  Downhill is tough on the joints, while uphill works the cardiovascular system.

We had a pilgrim meal tongiht - pasta and tomato sauce, fried chicken and chips and an icecream for 9.90 euros each - and after today´s efforts, it tasted fantastic!  And it came with a carafe of water and another carafe of red wine.  The coffee has also been good, but we discovered that cappacunio is coffee plus chocolate plus milk.  Best to stick to cafe con leche - espresso coffee with milk.

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