Worn Out on the Camino

Camino de Santiago

Hotel Rey Sancho, Navarrete

Hotel Rey Sancho, Navarrete

I’m worn out. Getting up from the bed isn’t going to happen for a while. And walking? Fugetabout!

The contents of my 11 kilo  24 lb. backpack, are strewn around the hotel room, and I’m feeling like a veritable princess. This is the first actual hotel I’ve stayed in since leaving home ten days ago.

I’ve alternated between  albergues (hostels)and slightly more upscale lodging. I’d be happy to avoid albergues all together, but they generally offer clothes washer and dryers. Here on the Camino de Santiago, some folks would probably sell their brother back home for clean clothes. Given that you only pack two or three changes that get seriously sweaty and dusty, the washer / dryer combo and detergent are absolutely worth the seven euros (ten dollars) I paid yesterday–and never mind that it took two and a half hours because the Australian lady and the Japanese couple were ahead of me.

Nadine and Iga cooking dinner in the albergue

Nadine and Iga cooking dinner in the albergue

Honestly though, you can’t beat the price of an albergue bed which generally runs between five to twelve euros. I’ve paid up to eighty euros for a private room  and bathroom. The other advantage to albergues is the fantastic comraderie. Last night, I joined the Australians and their London friend for a glass of wine on the town square. Then I sat with the sweet German girls on a tight budget while they cooked and ate dinner with more wine.  There was lots of joking with the young Italian couple at the long table.

But my own room tonight with a big bed, sheets, towels, internet and privacy is down right heavenly.

Viana choir

Viana choir

Leaving the Viana albergue this morning around 7:15, I ran into a choir singing in the streets because it was some saint’s day.  They also attracted Paco from Barcelona who I met two nights ago while eating dinner with an Austrian woman I haven’t seen since. Sixty-five-year-old Paco and I proceeded to spend the next seven hours together walking to Navarrete.

After a while, the Camino begins to feel like its own little United Nations where people from all over the world are drawn together by the great common goal of walking to Santiago. Along the way, we share food and stories, blister treatments and friendships.

José and Fernando, Muruzábal bar

José and Fernando, Muruzábal bar

Four nights ago, I ended up with my own four-bedroom country home in tiny Muruzábal where the only place to eat was the local bar. (Note: Spanish bars are basic restaurants.) I ended up spending two and a half hours with the locals happily discussing everything from the Spanish civil war to the Navarra economy. Maybe if people from different cultures had more opportunities to come together over food and drink and walk side-by-side for hours on end, we’d find how much we have in common and develop a lot of respect for one another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Barbara Zito says:

    love this article Leslie, The lessons of the Camino seem to be universal:
    Pilgrims are generally kind and enjoy sharing & helping……
    Basic necessities like a good meal, comfortable bed, and a hot shower at the end of a physically grueling day are all you really want and need ……
    Sore feet bring people together & initiate conversation…….
    Wine on the Camino tastes the best when served with stories from around the world….
    Clean clothes are worth the wait and a gift from heaven…….. ;D

    • Leslie Patiño says:

      Hi Barb! Yes, I’d never bonded with anyone over blisters until now. Funny the common ground a twenty-year-old guy with long hair and tattoos can find with a sixty-year-old woman.

  2. Hi Leslie, Love reading about all your experiences on this pilgrimage. Sounds like your research has paid off, as this trip sounds custom-made for you (minus the bedbugs and blisters, of course). Happy trails to you. Many hugs, Bonita

    • Leslie Patiño says:

      Thanks, Bonita! I hadn’t thought of it as a custom-made trip, but yes, it’s feeling that way.

  3. Christine Sleeter says:

    Hi Leslie, I love reading your posts and seeing pictures. Worn out as you may be at the moment you seem to be having an amazing experience. I’m enjoying sharing it vicariously.

    • Leslie Patiño says:

      Hello Christine, from one side and hemisphere of the world to another. Thanks for taking time to read and reply. I hope all is going well for you in New Zealand!

  4. Animo Se que vas a salir Adelante. Cuando estemos en Denver ni pensaremos en Caminar . Acabo de volver de un crucero y me siento muy floja comparada contigo. Un abrazo Marta

    • Leslie Patiño says:

      Hola Marta: He pensado mucho en ti en estos días. Creo que te gustarîa El Camino muchísimo en los muchos momentos buenos.

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