Days 4 & 5 represent our longest and shortest days so far on the Camino. They also contained my first breakdown.
Boadilla had a lovely Alburgue called “En El Camino” with one of the best meals we have had and a friendly owner who joked with us as he spilled wine on me. The downside was the surround sound snorers. They were spread all around us in our room of 20, and very loud, so we didn’t get much sleep. As a result we were out and waking at 6am. Though not completely dark, the sun was still not up, so there was a hushed air of whispering among the pilgrims as we set out on our way.
The morning offered some nice canal views and led up to our first stop in Poblacion de Campos. It’s a very small town with only two restaurants. By the time I arrived Kelly and Joanne had already decided they didn’t like the owner of the first (he was apparently very rude) so we set off to the second. The owner of this hotel/restaurant was very friendly. When we explained that we were vegetarians she offered to make us scrambled eggs with cheese (which is not a thing in Spain, so very uncommon).
The second half of the day was the most boring so far. It was a long stretch of wheat fields along the highway so didn’t offer much to look at. This was probably the point in the pilgrimage where I was supposed to lapse into a meditative state and find some wisdom about life. In real life, I turned on an audiobook and tried not to think about how my feet hurt.
At the next stop, Villalcazar de Sirga, Joanne and Kelly were waiting for me underneath a tree. When I approached Kelly warned me not to sit in the grass because it had “pricklies”. I asked why they were sitting in the grass and she said they were too tired to move once they sat down. That is Camino Life.
Villalcazar was supposed to be our final stop for the night but we were struck by insanity, that disguised itself as logic, and decided to continue on to the next town. We were trying to make a 14 mile day shorter by creating a 15 mile day instead, which would help us avoid two 14’s in a row. It made sense at the time. So after taking a 2 hour break we set out at 3:15, to walk an additional 5 kilometers to Carrion de los Condes.
Fast forward through more boring road, more audiobook, more painful feet and we arrive in Carrion! Our longest day at 15.5 total miles (25km). And enter my breakdown. We get to the town center and search for an Alburgue. A very nice lady points us to the primary municipal Alburgue which I was hoping to avoid. It was lovely, full of nice people and nice nuns, but was crowded. We were tired and didn’t want to search around town for something else so we got in line to check in. As I stood in that line for 2o minutes (ok, it was probably closer to 5, but I just walked 15 miles so standing for 1 minute felt like eternity) I had visions of this albergue filled with smelly snoring pilgrims, waiting in line for a shower and another night of no sleep and I lost it. I told Kelly and Joanne that I was going to pay for a hotel room and I walked out. I sort of abandoned them there, which was shitty of me, but they were probably ready to be away from me anyway.
40 euros later I had a hotel room with a bathtub, a nice shower, and no pack weighing me down. I realized while soaking my feet in the bathtub that this was a bit outside the “pilgrim experience” I signed up for. But let’s face the truth here guys, I am not actually a pilgrim. We all know this. I accept my bathtub shame with no actual shame.
I found Kelly and Joanne later for shopping (groceries and a hat for Kelly) and dinner (lettuce with 2 tomato wedges). I convinced them to join me in my “emotional breakdown room” (they are true pilgrims, I am a corrupting influence) and we had a slumber party.
It wasn’t a perfect nights sleep but we did feel more human the next morning. And my emotional state was stable (mostly).
Today was a short day, only 10.6 miles (17 km) though it was our first stretch without any towns to stop in for a break. Let’s pause for a second and process the fact that I just said 10 miles was a short day! I can’t get over 2,000 steps a day normally.
We packed a picnic of fruit and croissants and set out to trek across an old Roman road. Joanne knows the history of it, all I learned was that Romams build very straight, long, dusty roads.
Tonight we are in Calzadilla de la Cueza which is a lovely town though tiny. My feet are in bad shape, I have blisters growing into other blisters. The heat is really bothering Joanne and Kelly. Though Kelly is the only one who hasn’t had a breakdown yet. We did laundry, ate ice cream, and caught up on facebook (thanks to remarkabley strong wifi!)
Tomorrow is another long one, 14 miles to Sahagun. We will be fine. I’m mostly sure.