Apologies for delays in posting. The wifi has been dreadful.
Oh dear me! This ended up being one of the funniest nights ever. But let me start at the very beginning.
After dinner last night we arrived back into the albergue before lockup time ready for a decent sleep given we were only in a four bed room (two bunks). But, as alluded to earlier, our new bunk buddies were about to prove their title holding capabilities as Brazilian national snoring champion and runner up snoring champion! I did not sleep well! If at all! Nevertheless I was up at 4.45am in order to prepare my feet for the days journey.
We eventually managed to exit the Albergue at 5.38am. Not bad really for me – especially given the previous night’s foot taping had gone awol and I had to start again!
Anyway our wander into the darkness so early meant we didnt see many others and the morning actually passed quite quickly, We stopped for a coffee and OJ at the next town where an enterprising fellow had opened early enough to serve the likes of us. We weren’t too hungry so we headed off again and arrived at a pilgrim rest stop a few km’s down the road. There we finished off last nights pizza and had a short break feeling a little cool. Actually the mornings were definitely getting colder since Burgos but we were still mindful of the extreme heat in the afternoons.
We wandered on again and bumped into a lady taking a couple of her kids on the camino before stopping for second breakfast. Jack and his family were arriving as we were leaving for the last leg with one of our new friends from last night The Fräulein . She had been walking with a German Portuguese man who decided to leave shortly after our arrival so she asked if she could walk with us until her Irish friend arrived – es mas importante to have an Irish friend on the camino! Having company made this stretch quite fun really.
I recalled this last stretch into Carrión from last time – I could remember the agony and needing to rest my feet by lying on the gravel with my feet on a camino marker as we headed up the hill in the heat of the later afternoon. Today we were actually quite early and there seemed to be crowds coming up behind us and we were wondering if we’d get a bed. When they got closer we could see they were bus tourists with days packs and would likely head off somewhere else as it was so early in the day so we’d be safe in the albergues but not so if we wanted a double room.
Given that we had the pleasure of listening to the Brazilian snoring champions all night, at least I did, I was pretty keen on some privacy and our own room so I could catch up some sleep. No luck with that idea! The tourists must have booked up all the rooms (and a couple of wise pilgrims we had been meeting were one step ahead of us by calling ahead to reserve!) So we lined up at the parochial donativo and the hospitalario came up the line with little glasses of tea. When I looked behind to give the glass back, there smiling and waving were the Brazilian snoring champions aargh!!! We left that line up immediately!
As luck would have it we stumbled across the Sommelier on our second round of the town – he was drinking beer with the Oracle from Ireland. He directed us to an Albergue he would stay in and cook us dinner if we got ourselves a bed there. Only catch – It’s in a convent! Ha – my beloved was absolutely thrilled with this idea – Not!
We arrived there and were greeted by a friendly but organised nun. We also found the Fräulein was already there, also were the Italians we’d been meeting since Hornillos, some of the other Germans, there were a few Canadians, the Americans, and the Irish Oracle.
Over the afternoon the Oracle and the Sommelier did the shopping and we all visited the river and dropped in to the bar nearby to quench our thirsts. The American Day Sleepers were hungry. They had slept today in the shade of a haystack and walked in the heat of the afternoon. They needed sustenance and they needed it fast! But the universe was not necessarily going to comply!
The Canadians were planning on a 7.30pm mass so that put a bit of a spanner in the works for the meal. Then the Italians started their gourmet meal in the kitchen so things were delayed a bit anyway. This gave the Sommelier time to have an extra couple of beers!
One of the Canadians came in and asked where the chef was as she had missed the Mass at 5pm and there actually wasn’t one at 7.30 after all so we could eat earlier. I didnt know but I suspected he had stopped at the bar on the way back from the river.
Well the Sommelier eventually had some time in the kitchen and the Obstetrician helped cut the vegetables! Actually I think the Irish Oracle may also have been involved. The Artist from California dropped in to join us because he too was hungry after a long walk. I tended my feet in the Convent dormitory and ate biscuits sneakily to stave off hunger. Others passed the time drinking wine out in the courtyard.
When I came down to join the crowd for our group cook up someone pulled out a guitar at the table beside us and before we knew it our chef (the sommelier) was playing bongo drums and the whole group was singing. The Irish Oracle could see the future of the night. He said “The sommelier is multi talented. He is also a chef, a musician, an entertainer. And he is Spanish. We will eat when the fun is over!”
The Italians had finished cooking and had eaten , cleaned up and gone to bed. Our multi talented chef was not to be distracted. The singing and laughter continued as he accompanied the smiling Castalleno guitarist. Eventually we ate our chicken paella rice and salad at 9.30. Someone suggested we should clean up as we had to be in bed by 10. I read the sign on the door and it said lights out at 10.30 so we relaxed a little.
Then the night really began to get interesting. I had taken some dishes into the kitchen and a couple of others came to help and someone dropped a crystal plate and then we heard it! There was a commotion out in the court yard. It was the nuns! Lights out at 10.30 but kitchen closed at 10!
There were people running in all directions! The Artist from California took the back exit. The smokers huddled on the landing at the top of the stairs. I admit to sneaking my wine up to the dormitory. I had spent so much time tending my feet I had missed a whole glass!
There were nun so brave as the sommelier. He stood proud and spoke rationally – “This is nunsense! It was the Italians fault! They cooked a gourmet specialty with candles and everything!” “We were set up! Nun could eat before 9.30!” His responses were met with more yelling in Spanish. I had run up the back stairs and snuck into the bathroom ostensibly to clean my teeth but mainly to muffle the laughter that was escaping from my mouth. There also was the Fräulein trying desperately not to laugh.
Once self control was intact we tippy toed back to the dormitory. My beloved, the Sommelier and the Oracle were nowhere to be seen yet two lights could be seen coming closer from the back of the room. It was the nuns! They must have used a secret passage downstairs and entered from the back of the corridor! They were doing a lights out visit and checking their charges were in bed.
Eventually the three brave men returned to the dormitory whispering in fear. “It was nunsensical! It was not our fault. Nun could eat before the Italians!”
A whole lot of nunsense really! Ni Nightxx