|Example of a bunkroom|
|Typically, we remove our shoes outside the rooms|
|One of several memorials to fallen pilgrims|
|We and our shadows|
That´s the greeting we give and receive dozens of times a day as peregrinos (pilgrims) walking along the Camino de Santiago de Compstella. Townfolk and countryfolk, as well as fellow pilgrims use this salutation.
I´ll give you a typical day in the life of a peregrino...starting with wakeup at about 6 AM as fellow bedmates begin to arise and move about the usually cramped quarters. The albergues require us to be gone by 8, so some can pack their belongings and be gone before daylight, while others use the communal kitchen to prepare breakfast and lunch for the road. This is day 9 for us, and we´re usually walking by 7 30, and try to find a panadera for coffee and croissant before walking. So far we´ve found that we walk through about 3 towns, hamlets or burgs a day, so we´ll walk for about 2 or three hours before finding a place where we can grab another bite. If we´re lucky, we´ll pass through a town sometime around mid day, where we can sit down and eat a meal. Otherwise it´s what we've bought in a grocery. By mid afternoon we´re quite weary and anxiously looking at our guidebook map for a place to spend the night. We´re lucky that this is not "prime"season, as the two or three alberges often are filled before dark. We usually land at one between 4 and 5, after 15 to 20 miles of walking. Some albergues are run by the locals, others are privately run. The cost has been between 6 and 9 euros (1 euro= $1.43) and some offer communal meals which have been an enjoyable way to eat cheaply and meet fellow pilgrims. We´¨ve stayed at three albergues run by religious orders, with volunteers in two week shifts doing all the work. Funny, they were all Dutch. The largest albergue housed 180 of us, many do 40or 50, and the smaller ones usually mean fewer in a sleeping room and less competition for the bathroom, which often has only one or two toilets and sinks. There always seems to be at least one loud snorer in the bunkbeds, but we came equipped with earplugs, which help a little. Modesty goes out the window here, and we´re getting accustomed to that. Of all the walkers, the statistics tell us that Spanish are most common, (not surprising) followed by French, then German, then KOREAN! Can´´t explain that one, but we´´ve seen many and can now greet them in their native tongue. The US comes in at Number 8 here, and we have yet to meet an American.
Timés up, gotta go
|One day´s destination|