Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Notes from Camino, III: May 29, 2011

[E-MAIL I sent, on the Camino de Santiago]

On Sun, May 29, 2011 at 2:56 PM, Fresca wrote:

Caros amigos!

I am in an albergue in Fromista, on the meseta--the central plain. Like many but not all albergues, it has public computers. They usually cost 1 euro ($1.69) for 20 minutes.

The last couple days, we've been walking through a Monet painting of poppy-splattered waving fields.

"Poppy" in Spanish is amapola.
"Blister" is ampolla.

I have both. While I´m sorry about that, if I can't have poppies without blisters, I guess I'll take both.

Though, damn, blisters hurt just as much as I remembered.
[Taken at end of Camino--this blister is almost healed.]

I hear that there are earthquakes and demonstrations here, but I only hear that news from you all, here on e-mail.
Among pilgrims, it's all news of feet and souls, same as last time.

Well, not quite true.
I did see a political demonstration march past outside the window of our hotel room in Burgos, the Hotel Norte y Londres [right].

(Ever since 2001, when I'd walked past this a peach-colored Victorian hotel with salmon pink geraniums in its French windows, I've regretted that I hadn't stayed there. I swore I would this time.

Luckily it turned out to be only a 2-star hotel, so only cost 71 euros for the three of us (albergues are running 4 to 10 euros, per person)--not the 200+ euros the swank Paradors cost.)

But at the time the demonstration was passing by, I was in the middle of washing ALL MY CLOTHES (heaven) in the bidet, and hence was wearing only my undies.
I didn't want to lean too far out the balcony to see what was what... not that I'd have been able to tell anyway.
But something is up.

(The one Spaniard I asked later told me he was an anarchist who didn't care about politics.)
[Political poster in Leon. Local elections were held on May 22.]

Today we walked 15 km before I decided I'd better stay here in this largish town rather than risk limping on, on my blistered feet, in the hot afternoon. I felt a little wimpy until I realized I had walked 9 miles, after all.

I'm glad we stopped, though I faced the harshest test yet, in checking in:
The albergue owner of this privately run place gave me two 20-euro notes in change instead of two 5-euros.
(They're both kind of blue, tho very different sizes, as you may know, so I don´t know how she made that mistake...)

Everything has been much more expensive than I'd hoped (due in part to the bad exchange rate, a bocadillo [sandwich] costs about $6), and I'm well over budget, so I confess I actually pocketed the bills and walked to my bed space... before going back and returning them.

Lucinda and Marz are doing great---no big feet or knee problems for either, and we all get along well.

Marz calls us Baby Rhino (me) and Woolly Mammoth (L), and she gives running color commentary on our daily activities, in a funny voice.

I just asked her to sum us up (she´s sitting at the computer next to me listening to Justin Bieber's song "U Smile"), and she says:
"Baby Rhino likes candy.
Woolly Mammoth likes navigating.
And Marz likes to play catch with oranges."

[RIGHT: bink, navigating with help from the ubiquitous yellow arrows and Saint James]

EEK! 1 minute left on this computer.
Signing off!
Love you! Fresca

Below: Workers painting navigational scallop shells (the sign of the pilgrimage) for walkers to follow through the streets of Pamplona.

All photos by bink (unless she's in the photo, in which case it was probably by me).

Click for all posts about the Camino de Santiago here.


Anonymous said...

It all seems so seductive, the minute you're away from it. Even the draggy bits...

bink said...

Hey, I think I did leave that comment... but I swear I did it under by own name, bink.

Marz said...


Fresca said...

Uh huh.