So, I surrender. Dorm style living is not for me. For two nights in a row I have been awake most of the night listening to people toss and turn, snore, fart and come and go to the bathroom.
I am a sound sleeper, but not when there are 10 to 20 other people in the room. I do not want to be that obnoxious person who snores or for whatever reason keeps others awake so I just lie there unable to sleep, but because I don’t want to disturb others, unable to do anything else.
Someone once told me to sing a Broadway musical in my head when I can’t sleep and within a song or two I would be asleep. Last night I got through most of the songs I know from Oklahoma and How to Succeed in Business and I was still awake. Then I tried 99 bottles of beer on the wall and I think I got to 75 and finally fell back asleep.
And then there is getting up in the morning. I want to be up and out by 7am and with sunrise here now being after 8 that means wake-up time is in the dark.
I thought I totally had my act together using my “washing bag” to hold everything I needed to get dressed and ready in the morning. When I woke around 5:55 I grabbed my bag and headed to the bathroom. I was halfway through brushing my teeth and remembered, “Shit, I didn’t turn off the 6am alarm on my phone.”
I ran back to my bed, but it was 6:02. Someone obviously had silenced it. So now, despite my best efforts, I am one of “those” people.
Denise who slept in the bed next to me came back from breakfast and told me that people were blaming her for the alarm. I confessed to her and promised myself that was the last night of communal living.
In fact, while I was lying there awake at 3am, I went onto booking.com and reserved a private room every night through to León.
Heading up to the Top of the Plateau
I slithered out of the hotel hoping not to get any dirty looks and was on my way before 7. It was pitch dark so I had to use my headlamp as did most people. It was magical watching a string of lights move up the steep plateau. While not intentional, my timing was perfect and I got to see the beginning of daybreak right was I reached the top.
It was stunning. I love it when you can look back on where you just were and see the progress you have made. Castrojeriz was just a constellation of tiny lights off in the distance.
It was about 12km to the first town, Itero de la Vega. By the time I got there I was ready to take a break and get something for breakfast. The first couple of bars I passed had no pilgrims. I stopped in the last bar at the end of the town and still no pilgrims. Was I off course? Was everyone ahead of me? Were they all racing ahead to leave me, the inconsiderate one at the Alburgue, behind? Honestly, these things went through my head.
Nevertheless, I had a good breakfast and was on my way.
Walking today gave me a great sense of what to expect for the next several days here on the Meseta. It is the end of the harvest season so much of the earth where wheat and other grains grew has been turned in. Where there were field of sunflowers that would have been beautiful a month ago, they are now dried up and brown.
The next stop was Boadillo Del Camino. I stopped at a bar to get an Aquarius (like Gatorade but without as much sugar). Once again, there was not a single pilgrim around. This was getting creepy! I wanted to check out the beautiful church but it wasn’t open.
On my way out of town, I saw a kitten and tried to get him to come to me. He was adorable and made me miss our two guys at home.
As I was playing with the kitty a pilgrim was coming down the road so I started walking with him. His name is Quinvian (this is my phonetic spelling of his ancient Irish family name). We walked together the rest of the way to Fromista and as luck would have it, were staying at the same place so he navigated and I followed.
We had a great conversation talking about everything from his family ski trip many years ago to Smuggler’s Notch, past Caminos, life in Ireland, the impact of Brexit, and the US and on and on.
As we walked along the canal on the way into Fromista, we saw that there is a barge that travels up and down the waterway primarily for sightseeing. Had the timing been right, I would have considered barging it into town; they even have a special pilgrim rate of €2.
Fromista is a fairly large town although I have not seen a lot of services you might expect in a town this size. My hotel is great; private room and private bath. After the routine of a shower and some organizing, I headed out for a late lunch. I decided today I would try and eat like a Spaniard enjoying a large lunch and then just a light snack before bed.
The main course was iberico pork ribs and of course, potatoes! Man, they LOVE potatoes here in Spain.
After lunch I explored a couple of the churches in town.
Then onto a siesta.
I have taken a lot of pictures. First the scenery is amazing and I want a record of it, but as important I want a good selection of reference photos for my watercolor painting this winter. I love the way the sun was hitting the church above as I snapped the photo. It will be a fun one to paint.
I have had a few really good conversations with other pilgrims this Camino. The last 5km today flew and Quinvian and I chatted. I never had the desire to kick on ahead during that time so I could walk in silence.
That isn’t the case with every pilgrim I have met. 🙂
I love the interesting conversations where people give and take. You can learn so much about how people think, why they think a certain way. It is eye opening and part of what makes the Camino so special.