I slept horribly. Franco the Italian was quite a snorer – I put my earplugs in and wrapped my pillow all the way around my head, but it barely helped. I also itched quite a bit. And the beds, mine included, were really squeaky.
We breakfasted with the Franco, the Dane, and the Czech women, and headed out, making good time to Carrion de Los Condes. The church here contains a scene of the 100-maiden tribute to the Moors, and the town was supposedly the scene of El Cid’s legendary revenge against the Counts of Carrion, who married, then abused, two of his daughters, stealing their dowries and leaving them tied to a tree. I finally look up El Cid, Mio Cid is literally “My Cid”, a term of endearment used by the narrator and by characters in the work. The word Cid originates from Arabic sidi or sayyid (سيد), an honorific title similar to English Sir (in the medieval, courtly sense). (Wikipedia)
We see Alice again, and the Austrian smoker from last night, and join them for coffee. They leave and are replaced by the Dane and Italian. We are bored with them, and I leave to go to the bathroom – something from yesterday isn’t sitting well in my stomach. Dorcinda is annoyed with the Dane, who assumes that everyone here has traveled from some further town, and we decide to try to leave them behind. It seems impossible to him that someone could start out their day at 8 a.m. There’s nothing outrageously bad about his behavior, but a lot of little annoyances – his assumption that everyone he meets is American (similar to my obviously wrong assumption that everyone is German), his creepy eyes and smile, his annoying voice and accent, his hesitance to drink Spanish tap water, his confidence in his progress despite the fact that he’s just started in Burgos, and just a general boringness about him. My walking stick has disappeared from the last hostel, the first time that I’d ever left it in the common area, and I buy a new one, heavy and wooden, in Carrion.
After Carrion de los Condes, we walk a desolate 17.5km stretch to the next town, broken up only by an “oasis” a little more than halfway in. We get orange soda there, but they start packing up soon after we get there, closing up shop by 1130. We walk for much of the day with Alice, who we meet just as we leave Carrion de los Condes. After the oasis, my foot starts hurting and I say I can’t walk any faster. They say that they’re okay with taking it slowly, but they quickly leave me far behind. My mind wanders to a more solitary place and I put in my headphones for the first time in more than two weeks. When they finally decide to stop and wait for them, I spurn their pity and keep walking ahead, hitting my stride now because of the music. A bit further on we meet Siming, who slows me down and talks to me. We chat for a while, the girls catch up, and we walk again as a group. Siming is appropriately outraged at the theft of my walking stick, “Wow, that is jerk!” and I’m amused by his mangling of the word albergue.
We split up at the next town, Alice to reunite with her mother and Siming to walk ahead to the next town. Dorcinda and I get ice cream and a large bottle of water and consider staying here, as planned. But the threat of the Dane and Italian catching up spurs us on, sore feet and all, to the next town. There are only two albergues in this town, and both are just large shared rooms, no privacy available.
The road is hot and hard, and I’ve got painful new blisters when we arrive. We shower and snooze for a few minutes, wash our laundry, and dully browse the internet. This is a fancier new albergue, and we splurge for a double room (40euro) to avoid potential snorers. They have laundry and drying options, which seems luxuries. This is my favorite herbergle yet, I say. I’m too tired to write – maybe it’s because I’ve walked 17 miles on a piece of bread, a chocolate pastry, and a small ice cream. I mope about not getting more likes from Facebook posts. We are petty pilgrims today. We lounge around the bar, fiddling with our phones and not ordering anything, until 7, when we get our pilgrim dinners. It’s the best meal we’ve had for days – Dorcinda gets a pork knuckle? And I get grilled swordfish, and we’re very happy. Baked apple for desert, lentil stew for starter, and a 5 euro bottle of wine.
We’re glad to have a private room, after last night’s snore fest. But we can hear another guest snoring through the walls, and we laugh at the ridiculousness of it. It’s not intrusive, though, and we laugh ourselves to sleep.