Day 8 A feast to remember

The latecomers 🥴 were looking contright this morning I thought – well not all of them actually. One or two were a little frantic. Starting to get hungover frantic that their washing was missing. Of course they didnt think to politely ask the nice hospitaleras where it was!

Don’t worry we didnt throw it out! We dried it folded it and, in true camino spirit, we put it under the reception counter and let them sweat again for a few minutes when they got up and ran around looking for it so they might be more considerate next time. Por supuesto! We told them we were volunteers and they should think of others because next time they may not be so lucky .

Amidst this chaos the chica de las chinchas departed with a smile on her face having slept the best she had for days. She was so grateful and we were glad to have helped.

I was a little annoyed with the elderly Majorcans who Mavis put in a top bunk under the aircon vent. I moved them onto the lower level as I thought Mavis was trying to get them to complain about being cold even though she would turn it off anyway. They seriously looked too old to climb up top and I was concerned we would have an accident! .The lady wore heels and carried a leather handbag – a little odd for the camino. This morning they didnt strip their sheets they just walked off towards the car park no doubt looking for their biciletas or maybe they stored all their stuff on their ass!

Nor did half the latecomers strip their sheets! More work for us desafortunatemente!

The young French men were grateful for their accommodation and amused at our making the hangover people wait! They bid farewell and headed off to chicken town.

One of the ringleaders of the latecomers was so thrilled to receive a biscuit that in return he gave me a flattened croissant!

Not sure who got the short end of the straw there!

I was impressed with an older man who had already reached santiago from Santanda and was now on his way to Saint Jean.

I am also surprised to say there were some Irish involved in the vino fiasco last night! No I’m not! Do you think I’m mad? Of course the Irish were involved in the drinking fiasco! Along with the Spanish the English the South African the Germans and the Koreans! Oops – and the Italians as well – just about every country had a representation – other pilgrims were annoyed by them making noise when they returned to their bunk beds. They should save these activities for when they are not disturbing so many others in a share dormitory! We have learned our lesson- not to let others be disturbed if possible!

Anyway everyone seemed very happy when departing this morning – of course they were! They had biscuits in their gobs! Biscottis definitely the key to success gav has informed me since yesterday!

Here’s a photo of some of them leaving (Don’t worry the old man walking backwards just jumped in the photo – he was not involved! Zebra assures me he was playing chess in the dining area!)

So just when we thought everyone was gone and we could have a quick break, an Italian girl came out of the bathroom asking if she could stay as she had a stomach problem. No hay problema! Of course she could. Who would evict a pilgrim in need? Well frankly that darn Hospitalera at Saint Antons last year did! Wouldn’t let me use the loo when I was desperate! the hospitalero on duty in 2015 invited us in made us feel welcome and even gave us a tour!

Anyway the Italian girl decided to leave a little while later as she wanted to rest in the next town. The weather was warming up again so Zebra and I decided to head back to the pool – it was again magnificent! A green and blue reprieve amidst red cliffs and stone.

Just hated walking through a cold shower to get in!

Quite frankly it also feels a little odd having the life guard watching you intently as you swim up and down with less than perfect strokes! In Oz I am considered competent to be left alone in the pool!!!

It was also a bit of a manoeuvre getting to the piscina today because the weekly town market was on. The market had been on the day I arrived last week so its definitely day 8 in Najera now!

We are now getting so confused about dates and people – when the pilgrims arrive some look just like the ones that left yesterday! Ground hog day indeed. Yet at the same time each day is so different with new challenges and new friends to meet.

For dinner we resolved to avoid the “best restaurant in town” ie the one they sent us to every night or lunchtime. We googled a bit and came up with a different option with an interesting menu. We would have to pay for our own food!

But first we dropped into the pilgrims mass where we were invited to ring the bell though we will have to return later to obtain a special stamp in our credencial.

By this time we were running a little late and risked missing lockup time ourselves if we didn’t eat so we bid Padre Adios and told him hasta próxima semana! See you next week.

The restaurant we had read about was opened at 8.30pm so we crossed the square and took a table.

Well it was magnificent! Best meal on any camino Id say. And the wine just perfect! We are in the Rioja region where vineyards and winery’s are everywhere. Finally something they would be proud of! Not just pilgrim menu. We rushed back to closing time.

On another positive note, a young spanish man kindly translated with Mavis re keeping some airflow through the place and leaving the small windows open and the fans on to circulate after the air con is switched off. We know that many Spanish and Italians are brought up to believe that a draft will give you an illness. (Contrary to our upbringing suggesting having fresh air is important with so many people in one room.)

It is definitely difficult to put forward more than a simple case when negotiating in two languages so we appreciated the young mans assistance.

Would you believe that we had another group miss curfew? Although only by 10 mins this time and we were still packing up- and the synchronising of watches was a bit off.

So not as late and certainly not as disrespectful once inside, but we resolved to try a new strategy tomorrow. We had clearly not been specific enough. We must tell them that if they are even 5 minutes late, the jefe (boss) was insisting they be locked out and they would be unable to access their belongings before the morning. Yep that’s definitely going to work!

Hasta manana xx

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