September 22nd, 2013
Yesterday we took our first Camino cheat. There are a number of way pilgrims occasionally cheat on the Camiino: by hiring someone to transport their backpacks to the next town; by hopping a bus between towns; by staying in a hotel instead of an albergue (that´s what Martin Sheen and his friends did in ¨The Way¨", but I don´t call any of that Camino cheating. I call it Camino whatever it takes - ing. So here´s how our Cammino whatever went down: We started out from Lorca and after hauling 18 km over the Pyreness in the blazing hot sun we arrived in the little village of Villamayor de Monjardin exhausted, sweat cascading from every pore, smelling like Old MacDonald´s farm on a hot, hot day, to find that the albergue was...FULL! Full of old folks who were apparently on to our Lonely Camino plan! (So much for that plan!) It was almost 6 pm and the next town, Los Arcos, was 13 km away. The hospitaliero, a nice Dutchman, was very sympathetic, but there wasn´teven room for nother matress on the floor. He offered us the use of his facilities and a pad upon which we could sleep outside the albergue. On the concrete. There were already three women who were going to do this, two Americans and a Candian, and they seemed quite cheerful about the situation. In fact one of them, an American who appeared in her 70´s, seemed downright excited over the prospect, said it was going to be a fun slumber party and that she was glad we´d be joing her. I must have looked pretty distressed, though, because one white-haired pilgrim insisted that I take his bed and said that he wouldn´t mind sleeping outside. Of course I insisted otherwise. The hospitaliero laid out our options for us: we could either walk the 13 km to Los Arcos or sleep on a pad outside. Or, he joked, he could call a taxi to come from Los Arcos and take us back there. Whenhe said ¨taxi¨my eyes lit up like a Christmas Tree and I heard heavenly harps playing. Now, I think that Tom would have been find with sleeping outside on a pad on the concrete. A scout is tough. But the scoutmaster´s wife is not, so we took the taxi. The Candian, a woman in her 50´s named Ellie decided to ditch the slumber party and cast her lot with us. Los Arcos is one of the big pilgrim herd watering holes, so we figured we´d be in for a night in a pilgrim warehouse, but that was all right with us. But then our bad luck turned into good luck: it turned out that the taxi driver,s wife ran a small albergue on the other side of Los Arcos, on the outskirts of town. So after our 20 euro taxi ride we stayed at the wife´s albergue for 10 euros each. It was such a nice little place in the back of the family´s house with a courtyard and a big lawn. For 3 euros the wife washed our clothes while tom, Ellie and I went out for dinner . Dinner in Los Arcos: there´s a big catherdral in Los and across the couryard from the cathedral was a row of restaurants and the courtyard in front of the cathedral was filled with little tables with unbrellas where the restaurants served dinner and where we saw a number of our fellow pilgrims. We wanted to order the pilgrim meal but the waiter suggested that the paella was better than the pilgrim meal so that´s what we ordered. There was a mass in the cathedral at 8:00 and many of the pilgrims left the courtyard tables to go to mass. Tom really wanted to go, too, but since we hadn´t yet been served he wasn´t able to. But all was well that ended well and tonight we are settled into our albergue in the town of Vania after an 18 km walk. My computer time is up so I need to run, but I wish a won
9/22/2013 02:47:12 am
I've been mapping your trip on Google Maps, Patti. It looks like you two have walked roughly 160km, but it's most likely different since Google Maps isn't the most accurate mapping tool. Was the last place you stopped at called Vania or Viana? I can't seem to find a Vania anywhere near where you're at on the map. Hope you're enjoying your trip!
9/22/2013 03:00:34 am
Hey Patti and Tom! What ahoot that your new friends had seen then saved then returned your camera cord!!! You DO know there are no coincidences, right? Ithink this means you are supposed to take SKA
9/22/2013 03:33:44 am
Even a seasoned Scouter like me likes the improv decision you made with the taxi shuttle! One backpack trip I helped lead we hired llamas at the last minute to help carry our gear up an added 2000' elevation climb due to inaccessible trailhead from road washout. Like you said, sometimes "it's whatever it takes - ing".
9/22/2013 04:14:20 am
Nice alternative plan and good to hear it worked out so well -- Sleeping on concrete with less than air mattress is a bad idea -- I tried once with a camping pad. Thanks for the great travelogue -- I look forward to reading the book if/when it comes out. Bon Chance!
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My husband Tom and I will be walking the 490.7-mile Camino de Santiago from St. Jean Pied de Port, France, to Santiago, Spain. We leave Columbus 9/11/13 and return 10/30/13. God willing.
The sequel to "Equal and Opposite Reactions" in which a woman discovers the naked truth about herself.
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Amazon:
A romantic comedy of errors.
Lots and lots of errors.
"Equal And Opposite Reactions"
by Patti Liszkay
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or in print:
The Book Loft
of German Village,
Or check it out at the Columbus Metropolitan Library