Distance walked: 9.8 miles
Song of the day: None: nowhere to charge Ipod
This morning, after a simple breakfast of coffee and bread, I was packing my backpack when I heard an altercation outside. I looked out the window: a bearded man in shorts, surrounded by two dogs, was screaming up at the wall of the monastery, and screamed responses were following from somewhere above me in the building. As the man in the courtyard continued to bellow, the sound of the upper man’s voice gradually became muffled, then clearer but farther away: I then saw my Spanish cyclist roommate marching out of the monastery doorway below and making a beeline for the first man, who now held a can of dog poo in his hand and a cigarette in the other. They shrieked at each other in heated Spanish, faces inches apart and red in anger. I’m not entirely sure about the specific details of their argument, but I think my roommate had made a snide comment about the other man’s dogs defecating in the courtyard of the monastery, and then that man had threatened to throw the poo in his face. Or something like that.
“Oh Santi,” I cooed to the kitten who was falling asleep in my lap. “Your daddy is a hothead, isn’t he?”
My departure from the hospital was postponed slightly because Santiago chose to settle down and nap in the middle of my backpack on the floor while I was brushing my teeth. That cat. So damn cute.
What a miserable morning. Wet and gloomy, and so cold that you could see your breath in front of you. Most of the landscape was covered by a thick fog, so not a great time for photos. I was able to get a photo near the marker which showed that we were passing from the wine region of La Rioja into Castilla Y Leon, the region which will make up the greatest part of the Camino.
I had planned to walk all the way to one of the smaller villages closer to the base of the Montes de Oca, but pain intervened. I was walking along when I felt a stabbing pain in my left hip flexor. I kept going, because so often little pains come and go; this one eventually subsided as well.
Drinking large amounts of water to stay hydrated on the Camino can sometimes be a problem because my bladder is approximately the size of a walnut and bathroom facilities – or sufficiently private natural areas- can be hard to find. This was one of those situations where the road was long and shrubless and next to a highway and there was NOWHERE TO GO and I was dying. Then I saw an upcoming clump of bushes at the side of the path. I looked ahead: pilgrims far ahead. I looked back: pilgrims far away. No approaching cars. I threw myself behind the bushes, flung off my backpack, and was done before the upcoming cars knew what was happening.
And then when the backpack came back on, so did the hip pain. With a vengeance. Sigh. There was no way that I’d make it past Belorado today. I limped into Belorado and towards the most loudly advertised hostel I’ve ever seen. It was like the Disneyland of hostels. I stopped for lunch there but decided to stay elsewhere.
My hostel, Cuatro Cantones, was new and had a great restaurant. I shared a dinner table with a group of travelers from several different countries, but I was not in the greatest mood. I was frustrated with all my injuries, annoyed that my walk was so limited today, and just cranky in general. Even the piece of blood sausage in my soup could not cheer me up. I had no choice but to just sleep it off and hope that I would come up with a better plan tomorrow.