Wednesday, October 19
I went to mass this morning. It is at 11 a.m. every day but Sunday. There were 5-6 people besides me. I waited to talk to the priest, but he didn't come out afterwards, so I went down the street and found two cafes open to serve pilgrims in the mornings and at noon.
The surprise today was the arrival of a young German mother with a very large stroller and a five-year-old daughter.
I began to be bored in the afternoon. Few pilgrims. What would we do for the next dozen days? Then, sun came out and Kent and I sat outside drinking vino tinto, visiting
with a pair of Australian sisters. We went to dinner at Las Piedras Blancas and immediately two pilgrims showed up -- one on bicycle. I ran over to check them in, then we ate, peas and ham for Kent and meatballs for me. Kent went back, and I stayed, reading emails and news and playing Words with Friends and drinking too much wine. We talked with Sechio, who said he would accompany me by bike tomorrow morning to Calzadilla de Los Hermanillos to visit Mary Lynn, a Canadian Hospitalera.
I posted to Facebook.
Thursday, October 20
A chilly, cloudy morning. We did not wash sheets today, as I felt we have changed all the sheets once since we arrived and we could take a day off, especially since we have been only half full or less.
Sechio could not go with me on the bike, but he drew me a map, and after a spin around El Burgo, I took off. One speed bike with only back wheel brakes working. It was about 7 km each way. I had to walk a bit up two not very big hills -- one the railroad overpass. On the way back I took a shortcut and dragged the bike across the tracks. Calzadilla de Los Hermanillos was bigger than I expected, and it took a bit of wandering and asking to find the albergue. Mary Lynn and I talked Hospitalero "shop" for a bit.
We thought we'd have another slow day. I took a nap during the afternoon, then Kent woke me to say a group of 11 had arrived! He'd checked them all in. We are now waiting for the last two of 30 to arrive, which their friends have assured us are on the way. It is 6:30 p.m. It probably not going to be a quiet evening.
Friday, October 21 (one week since we arrived)
It was not a quiet evening. The last two awaited pilgrims (a couple from New Zealand) arrived, and on their heels were two from Spain whom we had to turn away. They did not seem terribly upset -- we learned that a double room across the street would be 45 euros for two -- about 3-4 times what a couple would pay in the albergues. One man asked if we had a towel for him. He seemed to expect we would have one. I said no, and referrred him to the free box. He grabbed a couple of knit shirts which were still on the clothesline this morning. Then, this morning in the tienda I noticed there were towels, socks, umbrellas and even one pair of pink crocs in just my size, so peregrinos are well-catered for here.
Last night's group included those who had encountered bed bugs, and quite a few with injuries, bites or swellings of some kind. The farmacia must have had a brisk businesss. One man asked this morning if he could stay another night because of pain in his leg, but we told him no. I suggested bus, farmacia and the hotel across the street as options.
At 10 p.m. It was pretty quiet, but when I opened the door to take down the Completo sign and lock up, a group of 5 came running across from the bar.
It turned very cold overnight, perhaps one reason we were so inundated with houseflies yesterday. It took longer to clean this morning, as things were much dirtier with 30 pilgrims than with 14. One group left a big pot of soup. They had made way too much. We will probably eat it this afternoon. (We did -- too much bland over-cooked pasta -- even a bit of spicy sauce and some salami couldn't quite redeem it).
Our morning adventure was an encounter with a man named Lucas who was pounding on a large old wine barrel. He invited us into to his extensive yard and a room full of antiques that also contained a table with drinks, a wood stove, and a television. He turned on very loud music and talked a mile a minute to Kent. I kept asking Kent what he said, and told him questions to ask, including whether perhaps he could sharpen our knives, but Kent told me he couldn't understand anything. There were small grapes on vines in the courtyard, boxes of tomatoes, and delicious pears spread out on the floor to ripen. He gave us four.
Then we went to the street that runs past the church, but has no cross streets connecting it to the rest of the village except at each end. I wonder if the streets were laid out this way so that livestock could more easily be driven through them. We stopped at a little cafe where we had a delicious tortilla, a Leonese version of French toast, and two freshly squeezed glasses of sumo de naranja -- very nice place with many pilgrims stopping -- ones we never see, as they take that street through the village and out the other end.
look a bit like this:
It looks like my drawing doesn't transfer.
Very quiet this afternoon, again. 3 Koreans, 5 Spaniards, and 1 Russian woman. After our big cleaning this morning we bundled up, turned on our heater, and cuddled together on one narrow bed for an hour's heavenly nap.