Day 8: Monjardin to Torres del Rio

Distance walked: 11.5 miles
Album of the Day: no iPod today, but I did sing an awful lot of country music.

We had a delicious breakfast at the hostel in Monjardin, which was run all by volunteers. We all set off on our own paths this morning; if we met up, we’d meet up. Charlene always says, “I’ll see you when,” because it doesn’t make sense to make plans when the road will take you where it does.

I *was* walking rather fast today, only because about three miles outside of Monjardin, a man at a food truck (with awesome fresh-squeezed orange juice!) told us that a huge storm was coming in the afternoon. I did not particularly feel like walking through a thunderstorm, so I kept my breaks to a minimum, stopping only in Los Arcos for a sandwich that I ate along the way.

Clouds loomed in the distance, and the overcast skies made the views less than thrilling. I walked past a British woman who was walking the Camino in the opposite direction. “Can’t you just smell the flowers? How wonderful they smell!” she exclaimed, pointing out a patch of briar roses to me. It’s always interesting to me to hear other travelers’ stories of where they’ve come from and what they’ve learned.

I chugged into Torres del Rio right after 1pm and made my way to La Pata de Oca, a private hostel with a bar and restaurant. After the initial showering, laundering, and napping routine, I sat with my new roommates Sandra from Australia and Anthony and Kira from Ireland. We drank way too much sangria and talked a lot about philosophy and religion. (It tends to happen on a pilgrimage!) It was a good afternoon.

I just spent the last two hours drinking more wine over a pilgrim’s dinner with Sandra and Michael from South Africa and Ana from Finland. I am really liking this slower pace: the shorter distances mean extra time during the day to relax, meet people, and finish my writing. Even though the Camino will take me longer this way, I think that this is the road that I need to take.

The hostel is playing Pavarotti in the courtyard while I finish typing this. The Spanish pilgrims next to me are finishing their wine. Dark clouds are rolling in overhead; I think that the big storm that was promised during the day will arrive tonight. When I am soundly asleep in my bunk, it can rain as hard as it likes!

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