May 15, 2007

5/15/07 Calzadilla de la Cueza

"There's safety in wondering. There's adventure in finding out."

Mostly walking on farm roads today

A field of yellow wildflowers

A very good day to walk. It was still a bit cool as we left the refugio but with no wind at all.

Henriette was my teacher today. Every day, I leave the albergues with hardly a glance back and steadily walk all morning till I reach the next albergue. I don't go fast, my feet would protest, but I don't stop either.

But with Henriette, we stopped for a little breakfast of hot cocoa and a danish filled with cream cheese. Then, a few hours later we stopped by the side of the road to have some cheese, tomatoes and chocolate. Life in the slow lane. I enjoyed it very much. And I still was one of the first to get a bed at the albergue, even with our relaxed day.

Henrietta says "Take a break"

The Camino today was a long, flat, very straight dirt farm road through hay fields. The best part was almost the whole way was lined with wild flowers; red, lavender, yellow, white and a few little orange flowers.

Trees but no shade

But lots of flowers

Are you getting tired of the Green?

Barbara says that this town has 68 inhabitants. I think that might be an exaggeration. Besides the bar and the albergue, the town seems abandoned. The small park has tall grass choking the swing set and you can barely see the benches or sidewalk. It seems sad that with so many pilgrims coming through here, that the town is still fading away.

Where are the children?

I thought I'd tell you a bit about the pilgrim refugios, sometimes called albergues. These buildings are either set up by the community, but quite a few enterprising folks have started private albergues that are similar, like the one we are staying at tonight.

Mural outside the albergue

Size varies but the average seems about 40 to 50 beds, usually bunk beds. But some of the bigger cities along the way have over 100 beds. The limiting factor seems to be available toilets. Most of the time there are usually 1 toilet and 1 shower for every 20 beds. All bathrooms and showers are coed. Some have kitchens, but since there isn't a store here to buy any food there isn't any use for one. I guess we're al expected to eat at the bar. Lights out is at 10PM and we have to be out by 8AM. Most are clean but it's usually tight quarters. And every once in a while you find a special one like the albergues in Azofra and Belorado. And here we have a pool, too bad the water is freezing.

Typical dorm-style refugio

And they even had a pool