10 July 2015

There are some things they don't tell you!

Los Arcos at Dawn 30 Apr 2015

We have decided that we are not going to give you a blow by blow account of our journey, but rather some thoughts and impression we have gathered along the way.
Firstly you need to know that our BBF, Alan, is doing quite well. The first couple of days are the hardest and he did not drink enough going up the mountain. He realized this when he got to Roncevalles, as his urin was quite dark, but by then the damage was done. It took his muscles a couple of days to recover from this, but now all is well. The only problem he has are his knees and his big toes, which his GP said are showing the onset of arthritis! So it is that after a long day walking up and down steep hills, the knees ache and the toes hurt. The other interesting fact about the Camino, is that the mountain paths go straight up and down, they do not zigzag up the way they do in America or Britain. Part of Alan's problem we think, is that he walks too fast! He says that in his head is a young man who remembers how to set the pace and the old man is doing his best to keep up. Then he adds that he has an image as a roughy toughy to maintain. What would the lads in his Regiment and Corps think of him if he were to slacken? We felt like telling him that a real roughy toughy does not travel with two tiny bears, but he might not take us if we did!
Then again he knows that we are the introduction to all the Chicas he meets along the way, and many have those dark eyes that make him go weak at the knees!
Our routine is to get up when all the others do, generally around dawn and set off, without coffee or breakfast, we should add, and walk till we get to our next destination, which is generally around 13:00-14:00hrs. We stop more or less for ten minutes every two hours or if there is a cafe where we can have coffee a bit longer. There are not always cafés at just the right time and place to cope with calls of nature? They don't tell you this in the guide books, so what do you do then? On some stretches of the road there are no bushes to hide behind. It is a problem which occasionally really occupies Alan's mind.
There are many pilgrims on the road and some we know by name. Today's walk was a good one where we chatted to new friends we had met and made along the way. We even shared victuals for our lunch break. A pretty Chica from Wurzburg had bread and we had the cheese for example.
When we get to our destination and we have been allocated a bed, Alan makes the bed, then showers and goes and washes his sweaty clothes. After that we are free to wander around town. Our BBF goes into the Church and says his prayers as a good pilgrim should, then does the touristy bit.
We tend to eat early and so end up in bed around 21:00-22:00hrs. The nights in the hostels can be noisey depending on how big the dormitory is. The snorers are not just the men, but also the women over 40 we judge. The bunk beds are low too and Alan has already almost knocked himself out because he forgot.
So life for us is simple, if tiring, yet we are rewarded by the camaraderie of the pilgrims and the fantastic views of the countryside along the way.
A human donkey


Us on the Camino

A typical bed space 

Our BBF at the Puente la Reina