Distance walked: 7.4 miles
Artist of the Day: Enya, Enya, and more Enya
This morning, the hostel was playing Enya on repeat. When I awoke, I decided to repeat the initial stress-relieving decision that I had made in St. Jean: I would send my pack ahead to San Juan de Ortega, the town just past the series of three hills shown on my map. This would reduce the strain on my hip and feet. I also made a hotel reservation via Skype for a private room in a casa rural in town there, thus eliminating another stay in a cold monastery. Good. It was done. I packed my daypack, left my big pack on the hostel lobby floor for pickup, then set out.
I ran into Colin, Kris, and Jasmin at a local fruit market in the square: they were only planning to walk as far as Villafranca, the town located before the hilly section. I was kind of bummed that I would be missing them yet another day.
Leaving town alone, I could not get out of my funk. I was lonely and grumpy and tired, even though I had slept well in the hostel. And not even an hour’s walk out of Belorado, my left hip muscle started acting up again. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I groaned. I looked at the map: I still had over 12 miles to go to get to San Juan. Not gonna happen. I realized that I would have to stay in an intermediate town, but that would mean trying to track down my bag, which was already destined for San Juan. Then there was my hotel reservation. As I entered the next town, I looked for a bar or albergue with wifi so that I could call on Skype to change my plans.
Of the three establishments in town, all were closed. Happy Monday!
I grumbled, but was within hearing distance of Isobel and Roger, a very nice couple from England. They offered to help me, but we would need to get to the next town, only a short walk away. I explained to them my situation; it turned out that they, too, had planned to walk to San Juan that day but were worried because they had not been able to find a room. Hmmm, I thought. I might be of use here. We walked together to the next town, Villambistia, and found a cafe; I logged into the wifi and called my hostel, where the hospitalero informed me that my bag had already been picked up. Shoot. Over the next half hour, I was able to track down my bag, have it rerouted (for a price, but hey, a girl needs her toothbrush!) to Villafranca, which was a walkable distance even with my hip, and transfer my reservation in San Juan to Isobel and Roger. All in Spanish :). The couple were very relieved to have a place to stay, so they kindly treated me to a cafe con leche. And while I was sipping it, who came strolling into town but Kris, Jasmin, Colin, and Lukas.
I was so happy.
Within minutes, we were joking around as usual, and I instantly felt better. We walked together into Villafranca, where we stayed at a private albergue attached to a hotel, drank lots of sangria while listening to a bizarre amount of Enya in the hotel lounge, and enjoyed a great menu del dia at the hotel restaurant.
I had really missed my friends.