Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Was most unhappy with albergue yesterday. First, it wasn´t the offical albergue but a recent private addition. Then, they charged 7€ instead of the 3€ or so of the official one. There was no sitting room, no kitchen, and no hot water. I complained about this and the hospitalliera disappeared and pressed a button to start the HW going. For some reason the 7 or so people before said nothing. Still, I would think it was the H´s job to ensure that all was well. The floors and sheets were dirty. There were two bathrooms for up to 21 people. It was cold and getting colder so I asked for the calefaccion, and she said NO. Apparently she was not subsidised and we should be grateful for a roof over our heads. Indeed, she was doing it only for the good ogf humanity. I will convey this information to the Confraternity of S James, and they will put a negative against the place in the next book.
It was fiesta, I think I said and when I arrived and for a few hours thereafter it was silent in the streets. Then around 6 there was a street theatre/entertainment, mainly for kids. By the time we came from the evening meal, people were on the move. It really is a charming thing to see Spanish families out in the evening. You hardly ever hear a cross word, the kids are happy and smiling. It being around 9.15 I headed for bed so as not to disturb to badly the young French woman sharing my room. (She chose a top bunk!) She is an editor whatever for the Spanish edition of Elle, and we had a couple of good chats. She was walking 30 - 40 km daily.
The fiesta got under way with a disco and assorted noise making activites. They really got loud around 2am and by 4 we had the hoons screaming up and down the street revving their engines and shining lights in windows. by 4.15 it was pretty quiet. Memo - if at all possible, avoid staying in fiestaville. This morning I was the third last from our albergue. Two others were upstairs sleeping after the time of evacuation! Tut Tut.
8.15 I left and walked without a sitting break, making the 17/18 km in just under 4 hours. It drizzled then rained then drizzled again for the entire walk, and has been the same ever since. People have wet clothes everywhere, are standing by heaters willing them dry. My wet weather gear worked very well, and no water entered my shoes. Despite all the gear being impermeable and transpirable and youbeaut, I got super hot, and this on a cold day. A layer of moisture was trapped inside the poncho, but really I was very pleased to have got through.
I had a shower with really hot water! No washing of clothes, thopugh. Tomorrow is Leon, and I will stay in a hotel, get my washing done and my toes looked at. Maybe I´ll stay two days.
The Leon Govt about 7 years ago made a fine track from Sahagun to Leon, and lined it with plane (plantana) trees. Of the thousands, most are dead or hairy spindles. Where the road dips from the meseta into arroyos (wide river valleys, often with no visible river - one is called Rio Seco, and seco means dry) the trees and crops are incredible. The wheat I passed on the meseta was barely shin high. In the arroyos two crops were higher than my waste, and this is only mid-spring. Trees have been planted along the water courses as well so it is a wonderful change from the barrenness and wind (and dust and heat) to be looking at and benefiting from the shade of these magnificent trees.
I have a q behind me waiting for the internet so I´ll have to go. Am now well past the halfway mark.

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