Well, I cannot seem to shake Peter (my German friend). This will be six of seven nights in the same Albergue without any planning. Every day, I pass through 4-6 villages with 2-4 places to stay. It is quite astounding. I have a few other “shadows” but none as persistent as Peter. Every day I have seen a young Asian lady. This morning, we met in the kitchen at 6:00. She wanted to walk, but needed someone with a head lamp. She is from Korea and spoke very little English. Her name is Sang Ha Lim and we did our best to communicate for a few hours before the sun rose. She gave me a sandwich of tomato and cheese. We shared a nice morning and parted ways after the sunrise.
Later in the day, I spent some time with a lady from Denmark. Her name was Nanna and she was a very kind person. I asked if she did much hiking at home. Apparently, Denmark is flat with one hill that is 180 meters. It is called “The Mountain of the Sky”. This is her third time on the Camino and she uses it to teach her how to be a “receiver” instead of a “giver” in life. I told her that is not a common problem in the US.
When it comes to equipment, there are 3 types. Trek poles, natural, and stick people. I am a stick. Using a wrist and arm, you actually plant ahead and then take about 4 steps. When I am in the groove, it feels like an oar or a feeling of cross country skiing. Works well for uphill, downhill, and helps the knees big time. There is a metal tip, so it makes lots of noise on the hard surface. A loud clack every 4 steps.
When I entered Logrono, it was very nice in a campus area. This is only the second large city with 145K people. Pamplona was larger, but it was early on a weekend. After the college, it was very strange to see people without smiles and lots of cars. At the end of the city the trail went through a very nice city park. Cruising through the park felt like taking a shower.
People show their foot injuries like trophies. I have seen some very sorry feet!! My feet, heart, head, and knees are rarely in sync. There is always pain. Unlike my friend mine is a choice to walk with pain.
Vanity disintegrated about 10 minutes into the first day. With that said, I often find myself singing when listening to music. I pity the poor soul that is near me when my inner Neil Young or Beyoncé bursts a note.
In the villages, there are always fountains for water. Along the path, there was a winery that had a fuente with water and one with wine. Most of the pilgrims have a clam shell on their bags and it is common to stop at this place for a sip of wine from their shells. One lady told me about stopping, sipping, and then seeing a tour bus stop. Apparently, a large group of folks plowed off the bus and started to fill water bottles with wine. Quite sad.
I thought there would be a few religious fanatics on the walk. So far, they have not risen to the surface. With that said, I did have dinner with a Mary and Joseph the other night. They were a very pleasant couple from Seattle.
I had a very strange experience yesterday. I have not seen a sheep since day one. In the middle of the day, there was a freshly dead sheep right in the middle of the trail. There was no scent and no carnivores had started to do what they do. Somebody had tried to help it because there was a container of water and food by its head. It was quite odd.
My current Albergue is the bomb. There are 42 beds with 7 rooms. The bathroom is granite, the courtyard is beyond belief, and the price is only 9 Euros. If you do not have a pilgrim passport with stamps, you are not allowed to stay at these places.
My guidebook has several quotes for each day. The one this morning gave me a sharp twist to my navel. “Worrying is like praying for something you do not want to happen”.