Camino Diary Entry #27
A day off in Molinaseca.
With little else on our schedule, we settled down at the cafe below our room and as you would, ordered a jug of sangria.
From where we sat we played ‘spot the pilgrim’. From midday on they straggled in over the ancient bridge of Molinaseca, dragging their broken blistered feet, strapped up knees and ankles. The first to join the cafe scene were 3 Frenchman, a quick refreshment and they continued on to Ponferrada . They had left at 6 am and found the steep descent from 1550m pretty tough. Some can scarcely walk by now. (In fact I’m not even sure that some of them are still having a good time!)
Our sangria jug emptied an hour or so later and we tucked in to some fried ‘squib’ ( a typo on their English menu I suspect!) and a most satisfactory glass of chilled vino blanc. We watched 3 Irish pilgrims peel off their boots and socks and then plunge their bandaged feet into the apparently icy cold water bubbling beside us.
I’m not sure if it was all the exercise today or just what, but by 3 pm we felt it appropriate to adjourn up the stairs for a little siesta with the multilingual conversations of fellow pilgrims drifting up from the tables, we have managed to lose a couple of hours and give the sun time to come out.
Someone, somewhere in our accommodation has finally run out of doors to slam.
We’ve invested a further 6 euros in having our laundry dealt with in house and are very pleased to report a full complement of matching pairs of everything and they all seem to be about the same size as they were when we handed them over!
Gwyneth has already set aside her walking gear for tomorrow’s early start – breakfast at 7.30 then ‘on the road’. Her shorts are pre-loaded with the required tissue and some coins for food along the way. Now she is surpassing all her forward planning and has headed for her evening shower- and it’s not 6 pm yet!
We were a little later than usual last evening having shared a drink with an English group on a walking tour. They have paid handsomely to the father/son duo who organized it and who drive their bags between the towns. They only walk ‘as far as they want’ in a day and by some magic, will be walking into Santiago next Friday! A great group of retirees if a little disappointed that for all the pounds they paid, no one guides them on the way! Mostly it is reasonably clear which way to go, but their issue being one of their party had fallen over in the first few kilometres and his spectacles had eaten into his face rather badly and some other poor soul had also taken a topple.They had to rely on fellow pilgrims to help them out. I suspect a couple of them will have more to say about that once they are safely back in England!
Peering down from our windows we can check the menu by seeing what everyone else is ordering! What you select is not always what you are expecting when it arrives!
Yesterday Gwneth got a mountain of fresh greens by choosing ‘house salad’. I went with salad of ‘tuna belly, anchovies and peppers’ and that funnily enough was exactly what I got! A full plate of those 3 ingredients and not a stitch of greenery in sight!
Donald and Herbert are holding up well but after virtually 3 non-walking days they a keen to be on the road again. They are also perhaps a little peeved that another bear rode through town this morning on the carrier of a French pilgrim, and ‘she’ is clearly travelling faster than they are.
The cyclists while pleasant enough are proving to be a fairly arrogant bunch on the whole. They push past we walkers on the trail, in shops, at reception and are very demanding in the cafes and restaurants. We have puzzled over why the locals drop everything mid sentence and attend to them. Gwyneth, however is probably ‘onto it’. From the observation windows of our room, she did notice that when a group of 5 cyclists departed yesterday after several hours, trying out 3 outdoor tables, eating and drinking, they each left a tip of €5 ! No wonder they get the attention!
Apart from those working in hospitality, we are hard pushed to see any of the very few locals about, actually doing anything! They are clearly very very good at standing around, chatting, staring at their lettuce and tomato plants and sitting for hours on end staring into space. There is just very little sign of anything else going on and that has been the case through all the small towns we have visited. ( God knows it’s been quite a few by now!)
We really would love to know if there is any greater activity behind the closed doors of these odd looking houses!
We wandered up to one of the town’s churches this morning and it is hard to see how the bell tower remains attached to the church at all! The cracks where they join run full height and gape a couple of centimeters! At one deserted church, an extension cord was running from somewhere under the rafters, right across the road to the tile cutter working on a shed in the opposite orchard. Quite bizarre!
Back to the grindstone tomorrow!