Day 7 – Ground hog day ? Or not?

Gotta say it’s starting to feel a bit like ground hog day in the morning! Except today we bid farewell to Hans and the Blue Mountaineer so it was nice to speak “strayan” for a minute or two! There was a lovely Taiwanese girl also who impressed me with her morning ritual.

We had not been too busy last night and we were becoming more organised so we finished cleaning early and were able to have a couple of hours free time.

Would you believe I ran around looking for a physiotherapist ? I’m not even walking the camino at the moment! Not sure why but I had a pinching pain in my lower back just like last year after the descent down to Molinaseca from Cruz de Ferro. Maybe it was the hard mattress on the floor. Maybe it was the cleaning chores after all the pilgrims left. Maybe it was the lack of walking in boots!

I couldn’t find a physio so went back to the albergue and used voltaren gel and my mini tens for a few minutes before la comida (lunch) and then by opening time I was feeling much better.

Before going to look for a physio I had a message from John and Yoko and Namane – you remember the Beatles don’t you? We met just out of Saint Jean Pied de Port and we said goodbye when they left the bus at Zubiri. Anyway they were heading off to somewhere after Azofra but before chicken town, so I walked with them to the edge of the pueblo. Just an absolutely lovely family and I was glad they stopped long enough for me to pop round and say hello.

Although today was relatively low numbers it was high problemas!

First was a young South African girl with seriously bad sunburn. Then there was a girl with some numerous insect bites! Aaaaaargh you may say. OMG I may say!!!!

Well our Hospitalero training kicked into action thanks to Julie Anne in Australia! We nabbed her bag and shoes and a few other things (the chica con las chinchas bag and things not Julie Anne’s) and threw them into a black plastic garbage bag into which we sprayed the insecticide Mavis had acquired from the feriteria. We sat it outside in the sun for some hours and told her (the girl not Mavis) she could have it back tomorrow morning.

We pulled out our trusty bag of clean clothes that we had washed after we pilfered them from the lost property department (think plastic bucket) and handed the chica the clean clothes in one bag and asked for the dirty clothes over the shower door in the other while she had a loooong shower!. We put all of her clothes into the washing machine and dryer and made sure that, if there were any bed bugs lurking, nothing would survive the process! She was extremely happy and grateful and went to sleep for the first time in four nights apparently! Let’s just call her the chica con las chinchas!

On a positive note I also received a message through a perigrina from the young Danes who I met back in Orisson! You know, the ones celebrating 30 years of marriage. I only wished they had been able to stop and have a wine but unfortunately they were on a schedule and they headed to Azofra and I was clearly busy with other matters!!! I am hopeful they will message me through this blog and let me know what they are up to next!

Before going to dinner I had one of my daily misunderstandings with Mavis. Two older Spaniards, without even sleeping sheets, were cold under the air vents! Course they bloody were – Mavis put them under the air vents! Anyway all windows were closed and she yet again turned off the air at 5 in the afternoon. I turned the fan on and tried to explain it was to circulate. To my amazement (and delight) she ran around climbing up on beds opening the windows! Perfecto.

We then had a bunch of late arrivals who were not to be seen soon after arrival. Zebra and I went to the restaurant we went to every night and enjoyed a laugh with our neighbouring pilgrims. It was interesting tonight because there was a table of Frenchmen next to us who spoke English (not your average bucket of fish). And another Frenchman sat next to us on the other side who also spoke English. Bueno! As he said if you are in business it is necessary. Although retired he now collects cars and art as i recall.

We discussed the concept of vegetables on the camino and marvelled at the Spaniards ability to hide vegetables inside the meat! Like literally. The cow eats the grass so therefore the steak is part vegetable! Voila! No need to go to too much trouble really now is there?

Magnificent plate of vegetables!

Chicken and vegetables

The retired interior designer from paris was walking in sections and had some interesting things to say about the paradores he had consulted on. Old castles and the like were converted into hotels but owned by the government. Seemed very similar to our set up at the Municipal albergue – not! In case you were wondering the Municipal albergue is owned by the government too – its just on a different level! The interior designing certainly leaves a lot to be desired!

Albergue Interior Designed Entry Foyer

On our way back from dinner we saw the pilgrims who had arrived late and disappeared. They were drinking some serious vino tinto and cerveza on a long table down by the river. It was that bunch of arrivals who showed up late! They were also with some ring ins they had literally dragged out of the hostel and forced wine upon them and proceeded to make them laugh!

But pilgrims staying out late means we have to sit in the dark and wait for them to come back so the others can go to sleep. Zebra and I felt we could not lock them out – I had been once traumatised by the nuns at Carrion if you recall our camino last year! When the Italians commandeered the kitchen and we were late eating!

Little did these latecomers tonight know that if Mavis had had her way, there would have been 10 or 12 very distressed pilgrims out on the street! Not sure they realised just how lucky they were that Zebra and I were also here!

Two of our French dining friends were also staying at the albergue and were chuckling at our plot to make the latecomers learn a lesson. When there was knocking at near 11 o’clock we sat in the dark and let them sweat for a little while – unfortunately no lesson learned because as soon as we let them in the bathplugs wanted to do washing and drying along with drinking wine – the place was already dark and silent! Whilst they felt a sense of alcohol induced entitlement through their clearly enhanced intelligence – they were not going to be feeling like that in the morning when they went looking for their washing!

Lesson learned for us tonight – be very clear to everyone that the albergue will close at 10 because we are up at 5.30 to help them. Besides we dont want to risk drunks taking wine bottles into the room again when kids and old people are also around!

Everyone’s camino is different that’s for sure!

Buen fantastic Camino!

It would be interesting to know if the next volunteers would be so helpful if they stay out drinking vino tinto! I recall on our first camino when a couple were running late because they were scared to walk through a thunderstorm. They were absolutely locked out and they had to pay for an extra room and come back next morning for their gear!

Hasta manana!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Julie-Ann says:

    Obviously I’m not as understanding as you are. At registration time, I tell pilgrims that the door closes at 10pm. If they’re not in, they have to be prepared to spend the night outside. I give those outside a 5 minute warning before closing the door. So far I haven’t locked anyone out!


    1. We were too concerned about leaving young girls outside at night – been quite successful with our stern warnings since.


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