• Women on the GrOw

Camino Day 20: Sunrise Shadows

Camino Shadows

Earliest day up thus far. Our hostel host called into the dorm room to inform us that coffee was ready. I reminded myself that most hostels, albeit private ones, have a required 0800 exit. Some of the hostels are more relaxed on this rule than others.

The hostel hosts

This host volunteered his time, as did many other hostel hosts, for a two week period. Many of them had previously walked the Camino and due to the strong impact it had on their lives, they returned to "pay it forward" to others.

Their job description entailed ensuring that everyone was safe and settled at night. Duties followed up in the morning by getting them exited by 0800 so that the hostel could be cleaned for the next round, usually the jack rabbit Pilgrims, who started arriving shortly after 12 noon.

I pondered what these early arrivers do all day. Pacing out the day made so much more sense to me.

The morning rant

Our Padre-like host was still in his pajamas when we entered the kitchen. He stood over the stove making toast in a pan and coffee in an Italian pot. He ranted off in Spanish regarding, per translation, a late night incident in the hostel.

Nothing unusual happened in the main dorm room last night. The "Musketeers" were in the spare hostel room so I surmised they could possibly be the subject of discussion.

Whatever he was saying, he was very passionate about and the spatula in his hands flipped with each arm motion.

The mattress picnic

Once things cooled down, a Mexican Pilgrim further translated the event. He shared, “Apparently, the group in the other dorm room had decided to eat in their room after the lights out curfew hour. Their mattresses were spread out on the floor and they were sitting around eating. The host came upon the picnic and went livid.”

Perhaps this was the ruckus I heard last night in my sleepy stupor. The Mexican added, “Few rules were actually broken with the activity. The host's reaction perhaps was a bit strong, but that can be expected with a southern Spaniard.”

The creative silhouettes

As we set out the sun was just coming up over the horizon casting long shadows that stretched across the road. Rare were the times that Kashi let me photograph him, therefore shadow and foot pictures were the ingenious way to get around that concern and still be able to document our travels.

The setting was perfect for such creative silhouettes. The heavens opened up a brilliant colorful palette of light for an exquisite backdrop for the photo session. Well worth the early wake up call.

The remote stretch

The book, "The Way of St James" by John Brierley, warned of a 17 km stretch of road today without potential food, water or toilets. We picked up staples and water for the journey. Kashi carried the extra weight. I was grateful.

Sky expanse on the Camino

This popular guidebook is considered one of the bibles of the Camino as it is very detailed, organized and added daily spiritual contemplation and insight. Designated towns were mapped out to enable Pilgrims to plan out their walk. Thus, some towns were noted in the book as set stopping points and subsequently became major hubs for Pilgrims.

The small villages

I attempted to avoid these towns whenever possible. The small villages in between were more peaceful, less busy and more likely to have a spare bed.

Camino de Santiago remote stretch

We weren’t in any hurry and geared ourselves up for the sparsely serviced section. Peeing was going to be more difficult as there were no restrooms en route and less trees to hide behind. I liked to wear skirts on these days as easier to artificially take cover.

The Cafe Movil

It happened that the unpredictable Cafe Movil was open and most everyone was stopping for some shade and a cool drink. We bumped into the Arizona couple that I had coincidentally met at another Movil Cafe way back. They confided that they were getting a little hot and bothered by this sunny, windy, dusty stretch of the Camino.

Dusty Road on the Camino

We passed through the town of Calzadilla de la Cueza where we bumped into our dear old Polish man. He introduced us to a German guy who was traveling with a dog and a cart and appeared to be a chronic Camino Pilgrim, traveling back and forth with Certificates displayed for those interested.

The Polish guy stated, “This guy is crazy, but good.”

We bid farewell and continued onward.

Camino de Santiago view

We landed in Ledigros for the night. We had planned to stay in a dormitory but private rooms were available and of equal price so we again indulged. As the sun set, who else but the Musketeers arrived. We weren’t sure how to shake these guys off our trail and only hoped there would be no drama tonight.

The Camino menu

We had been snacking all day, so we opted for the Pilgrim menu tonight which included choice of entree of meat or fish, soup or salad and dessert in a quaint little dining hall along with other pilgrims. Of course, vino is always offered with the meals.

A satisfying and higher mileage day led to a heavy sleep in this very quiet hostel.

Camino Church Spire

May 24th: Villalcazar de Sirga to Ledigros

29.1 km/18.2 miles