Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Distance: 19.6 km
8:10 – I’m the last person to leave the pension but it’s not something that I worry about. There may be stages (past Leon) where one has to rush to the next town to secure a bed but that’s not the case for the next few nights. I keep telling myself, “it’s not a race.”
11:03 – I stopped for lunch in the town of Boadilla del Camino. My horrible Spanish ended up costing me 4€ when I thought I ordered a hamburger with two patties but received two “hamburgueas caseras” and each came with two patties. Thankfully there are many pilgrims who will happily accept free food. This was the first hamburger I’ve had since visiting a McDonald’s in Bangkok.
12:00 – Today is stage 17 of the traditional 34 stage Camino, and as since its midday, I figure I’m exactly halfway to Santiago!
14:00 – I was walking along a canal on the outskirts of Fromista when I noticed a Shepard and his flock off in the distance. I hurried towards them before I realized that he didn’t have 20 sheep, as I had originally thought, but rather closer to 500 very large mature sheep. I soon found myself surrounded by sheep. Thankfully there was a concrete picnic table nearby and I was able to stand on it while the sheep passed. Some tried to crawl under the table and actually got stuck until the sheepdogs came along and chased them out. (There’s a video in my Facebook wall. The link provided below should work but no promises.)
14:20 – It seems early to be checking into an albergue but this is Fromista and I really want to stay here so I can get back on the traditional 34 stage Camino. Matt and another American couple are staying at a private albergue but I got bad vibes when I checked it out. I ended up just down the street at Pension La Via Lactea. It could easily pass for Grandma’s house, right down to the fancy doilies on the bedside table and the plastic on the lampshades.
19:50 – Theres a small TV on a shelf behind the bar and every 80-year-old man in town is glued to the small screen as Atletico Madrid takes on Bayern Munich. I try to get the bartender’s attention several times but he too is glued to the game. After waiting 30 minutes for my second drink, I ended up going next door and ordering a pizza to share with a French guy who was struggling to read the menu. Despite his lack of English and my limited French, we were getting along pretty well until the pizza arrived at our table. Apparently the previously frozen and now extremely brittle pizza was so disgusting that Jean-Paul couldn’t even look at it. (He did pay his share of the bill before walking out in silence.)
20:10 – Another familiar face has just entered the bar. It’s the guy I met over dinner a few nights back who couldn’t bring himself to say “albergue.” I can’t bring myself to sit with him so I pay my bill and head back to Pension La Via Lactea. It’ll be another early night.