Not sure I´ll cover all the ground - it´s been a bit hectic I last wrote from the Casa de Cultura in Fromista. This is set up by the local council to keep kids and old folks off the streets, i think. But they have a room with 10 PCs, half in use by a shrieking, brawling but all in good fun group of hormone-high teens. It is FREE! WooHOO! (right now I am paying at the rate of 3€ per hour. Not bad, but not free!)
Anyway, I stayed in a hotel in Fromista because I got saturated but was able to dry it all including the bag, as the air is so dry here. My boots did not entirely dry. They are my reserve boots that are not waterproof. Still and all, the 30km walked that day was another JW record. Ate with Manfred Epp again. He is a most interesting guy, fluent in 5 languages and with a deep interest in culture and its physical and social manifestations on the Camino as well as elsewhere. He´s the sort of person who is the centre of attention wherever he goes and people just open up to him. He explained that Gabriella was sick (half the Italian couple I was getting on so well with despite language gulf) and they had gone back to Burgos for her to recover.) She is a great person but just hasn´t got her head around the camino. There´s so much !"·$%$·"! that happens to you it´s easy to become negative instead of just shrugging your shoulders and getting on with life. G is always complaining. Manfred said that the day we were walking through fields and mountainsides of Erica, a purplish flowering bush, he was exclaiming over it and taking lots of photos to get just the one special shot, G was complaining about the road, how dusty it was and straight; so boring, whinge whinge. He really thinks she is sick because she has not come to grips with the whole thing. Giovanni wants to continue so I hope they do. I had a great sleep in such a quiet place I didn´t wake until 7.40. A good thing for my
body, but it put me behind.
To walk to Carrion de los Condes I wore my waterproof boots and started out in fine style, averaging 6km per hour for a while. But my little toe started to hurt again nd eventually at Villalcazar (Bill-yal-CAH-thar) I was forced to put on the wet ones. Jesus talks about the rudder of a ship, how small it is yet can steer a great ship, before saying how small the tongue is, yet it can control u. Well, the little toe is smaller again yet, believe me it can control this whole walk. I barely hobbled into Carrion, so late there was only one place left. But I had already made up my mind to return to Burgos. The priest is fantastic. He speaks English, which helps a lot! When he knew I was busing to Burgos he insisted on taking me to the Bar España so he could explain what I wanted. On the way we met an Aussie couple looking for accommodation so he arranged to walk them to a convent where they would be looked after. Later I introduced him to a frantic French couple, and he walked them to the convent too. I went into the church and took a couple of photos to enhance those i took 5 yrs ago when a cleaner approached told me No Photos! several times. I will pay, I say. Phots No! she replies. Today when I spoke to him I explained how if he were to charge people 3€, and insist on no flash, most people wouldn´t bother and may buy a postcard or three. But the photo hobbyists like me would be happy to pay, and this would be helpful to the parish. He listened most intently and said he had seen the same thing in England and would pursue the matter. Altogether, a most satisfactory priest.
5 yrs ago I saw little of Carrion b/c it rained all day. Guess what. Yep, Rained from the time we arrived. Met Manfred and had a chat. we will separate as he wishes to go to Oviedo as part of his monastery crawl but as he will will spend several days over that, it is possible we will meet again. The bus came almost on time and we set off. It took just over 1.5 hrs to get there and I had to find accommodation in a hurry. The local albergue was full as well as the two pensions I tried. The single star hotel charged 40€ but I had to take it. I put the bag in the room and went as fast as possibel (aching toe, remember) to the statue of El Cid where a free bus was to take me to Hipercor, a mini Chadstone where there is a Decathlon store.
Waited half an hour for the wretched bus before taking a taxi the 3 km. Normally no problem, but out of the question then. I´d made up my mind to get some new boots. Found an assistant who spoke English and away we went. Her English went pretty quickly too, but we got on OK. They had boots that were long enough, but not as wide as the bad ones I have, so no sale. Instead, i bought some more waterproofing and sprayed the boots in the morning. Looks OK, and I´ll spray them again in an hour or so. A lomg trip and expensive night, but at least I´m happier in my mind about it all.
The toes have settled well today. The others in my expensive hotel thought they had to play TV and talk loudly until 2am, and (I presume others) get up loudly at 6, grumble. My bus left at 10.45 so I wandered through the streets (raining again) and had some breakfast. Met some Canadians who were going to Leon for a few days R&R. She has a tummy bug. Bus left 15 mins late. Nobody apart from me seemed surprised. Getting off at Carrion, there was Manfred and and American woman I´d met the day before about to get on. M gave me a warm hug! If we don´t meet again, there´s always e-mail. Anyway, the albuergue was full by 1pm. It´s a real problem. Do I join the maddening rush to beat everyone else? If I don´t, how can I afford the extra costs? thinking thinking.
I´ll eat in tonight with a young >US couple. I will make the salad, and they´ll bring meat and bread. Maybe we´ll rope in some more. You can´t buy two lettuce leaves!
Time to go. Tomorrow will walk again for about 20 km. The next stage is too long for one day.
All the best to you all