Monday, August 19, 2013

Why are you closed on MONDAY of all days? To Cornellana, then.

Leaving Escamplero

We were as usual the last ones to leave the albergue at the shockingly late hour of 8am (for some reason these peregrinos were more fanatical about starting early than the ones on the Camino del Norte...). Because there was no hospitaliero (host) at the albergue, the last to leave had to go give the key back to the restaurant down the street. I returned the key and walked on. 

The difference with this Camino was that everything was more gray in the mornings - there was mist everywhere, it was more cloudy, and in general it was a bit cooler. Not to say that it wasn't gorgeous, of course. 

In our never-ending quest to find happiness with the three different walking paces of Leah, Kayla, and I, it became by job to buy lunch food in the next town (which happened to be Grado).


... is mixed up with their days. Well, not really. But Grado is famous in Asturias for it's market, but it's market is open on Sundays. And since every people need a day of rest, if you work on Sunday then your day off is on Monday. Guess what day we ended up going through Grado? Yep, Monday. 

I got to Grado around 11am and went straight for the center of town for some lunch (I was completely out of food) and wifi. The wifi didn't work so I just ended up eating a small bocadillo (sandwich) and café con leche (coffee with milk) and reading some of my book before hunting for a supermarket in the closed town. Of course I had a really hard time finding anything, so all I bought was canned peaches, real peaches, and a box of cereal bars. There was absolutely no cheap cheese or baguette or anything of that kind, so we were going to have to rely on our sardine and tuna stores today for lunch. 

After Grado the path was straight uphill - we were not stopping at San Juan de Villapeñada, which was halfway up the steep hill, but our goal was to make it to Cornellana. Part of the way up, I struggle-hiked next to a French man named Bernard who did not speak very good English. It was talking to him that I realized I don't know French - between words in English, Spanish, and French, we basically figured out that we were both computer people and that we were both walking with people who were a bit slower than we were. But beyond that, the communication was minimal. He walked on to San Juan de Villapeñada while I stopped to wait for Leah and Kayla at the top of the steep uphill.


We got to Cornellana around 6pm. The albergue was in a corner of a hard-to-find abandoned monastery, but eventually we found our way there. There was a washer and dryer, and all of our friends from the night before. While our clothes were washing, I walked into the town and bought a ton of pasta, vegetables, and pasta fixings. We were so hungry that the three of us ate all the food that I had bought - and went through a bottle of cidra. I also bought milk and chocolate cereal to test our 30km+ hypothesis...

The next morning we split from our new-found friends again (we get up around 7:30am, already later than when many of the other peregrinos start walking) and aimed for a 30km day to Tineo. 

Reflection time

At this point it is getting easier to deal with hiking at different paces - we've figured out a system where we split up earlier on in the hike and only regroup at maximum 2 points during the day, for meals. We have started carrying our own shares of food, and getting to the albergue earlier is OK. It is nice to have people with you sometimes, and it is nice to be alone sometimes. Overall, friends are worth the small annoyances that come with them. It is already 14 days into the Camino, and I don't see a change in my attitude. I was hoping the Camino would make me more forgiving, more patient, more relaxed than I was before. But two weeks in I am still hoping there will be a magic change....

I do sometimes walk and hear small snippets of poetic phrases pop into my head; it would be nice to see if anyone had written a book of Camino poems that talk about sore feet, nice views, sounds, smells, tastes, the constant yellow arrows, and the whole concept of "what is the Way". I haven't heard about any, but many peregrinos cite Ithaka as a poem that reminds of the sights and sounds and feelings of the Camino.

Tomorrow I want to go 30+km - I did buy milk and chocolate cereal for a reason. We've had two easier days of hiking (in terms of distance), and I am excited to get 10km straight uphill before our push to Tineo!

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