Route: Boadilla to Carrion de los Condes
Distance: 24.6 km. (15.3 mi)
Albergue: Santa Maria Convent
Truth be told, today I’m bored. For some reason everything feels heavy, especially the cloudy sky. I leave En El Camino at 6:00, while it is still dark. Is it because of yesterday’s layover in Boadilla?
For awhile, I walk just behind a young Mexican woman named Yolanda, whom I met last night, but we do not speak. From my perspective, we didn’t really hit it off when we met. There are awkward moments like these on the Camino sometimes, but of course, like everything else, they pass.
I won’t go into the details of the walk, the people I spoke with because none of it was particularly uplifting. The sky was gray all through the walk, the views boring, the conversations dull. And yesterday I missed walking so much! Just goes to show…what, I don’t know, but something, surely. I’m too tired to analyze it.
The rain begins as I enter town around 11:15. An Italian named Mossimo assists me with my rain poncho and we walk into Carrion de los Condes together with his friend, Giorgio, drops of water making puddles on the streets.
I arrive at the albergue and my mood gets worse. Somehow, suddenly, the Camino is flooded with people in their early twenties, many of them North American and most of them with loud voices and that North American “twang”. I’ve so enjoyed the accents of the Europeans and am not thrilled by this turn of events. Somehow I have ended up at an international
Fortunately, Armanda arrives and we walk all over town trying to find something to eat, ending up at a restaurant decorated in red and white. It reminds me of a Chinese restaurant. The waiter patiently explains the Pilgrim’s menu to us first in Spanish, then again in English and then another time when we can’t remember what he said. The restaurant is empty, which makes me nervous; how good can it be? A young Korean woman we’ve seen before comes in and the waiter immediately pegs her to be a pilgrim and seats her at our table. Her name is Rachel and she is traveling alone. What stands out for me about her in this moment is that she doesn’t have rain gear; she heard in Korea that June and July are dry months in Spain. So she is wearing only a short-sleeved T-shirt and leggings and is very cold because the rest of her gear is drying. Armanda loans her a jacket.
The waiter goes over all the options again and I choose lentil soup as a starter, roast chicken with potatoes for the second course, and chocolate pudding for dessert. It turns out to be the best meal I’ve had on the Camino. Everything is full of flavor and I finally feel content. I take half the chicken with me to eat for dinner.
When we return to the albergue, I hang out in the kitchen/dining area for awhile with a Spanish family I have seen on-and-off along the trail and their new friends, some Spaniards and Italians. An older Spanish man tells me that California is the place in the United States most like Spain because of all the Mexicans there. I try to figure out what exactly it is that he is trying to say but finally end up disagreeing with him. Although there are plenty of people in California who speak Spanish from all over Latin America, for me it is not remotely like Spain, at least, not culturally.
Finally I go upstairs to lie down. The dormitory is packed and for some reason, everyone seems tired. More people than usual are sprawled out on their beds, napping, using their smart phones, reading. At one point, I hear loud crunching noises above me and think to myself that the young woman above me has to be eating corn nuts; it couldn’t be anything else Finally, I get up and ask her. She’s shocked I can hear her and yep, it’s corn nuts. While I’m up, I go over to Armanda’s bed to borrow her lighter to burn the needle I will use to thread dental floss through my blister. Armanda whispers, “Was that girl doing something with her mouth in her sleep or eating something?” The corn nuts were so loud that she could hear them from across the room.
Now I am in the lobby area surrounded by twenty-somethings. All of a sudden, we hear a strange noise that sounds like rapping. But strange rapping. I follow the sound into the boot room where I find a young long-haired tattooed (why does this matter?) French kid playing music on a tablet and rapping in French. The rest of us exchange glances, then one girl walks over and closes the door between the rooms. Other kids are gossiping about this, that, and the other thing. I feel like I am at a frat party. So I ask if they are all traveling together. Turns out that they are. It’s a group of students from Pepperdine University and they are currently on the same track I am, which means that if I don’t make a change, we will be traveling together to Santiago. Now I am annoyed for having that layover night.
Everything “me pica”. Even the sound of a nun’s voice is driving me crazy. Oh boy, and now the students are off to drink wine. Hmm, is all well on the Camino?
ALERT: If you are squeamish, I recommend you don’t look any farther:. If not, you can check out my blister.