A relatively tranquil stage to get nearer to the mountain range which separes the province of Castilla y Leon with Galicia, the province of Santiago. The target is still to reach Santiago on October 12, and then to continue up to Land’s End (Finisterre) for additional 3 or 4 days.
As I crossed the farmlands in the Bierzo region at the feet of the Cordillera, the grapes harvest was in full activity and there are tractors everywhere pulling trolleys filled with all grape varieties.
Not always I am able to keep a positive mind, and today is one of those days. I do not feel good, and I am a bit depressed and demoralized. I do not want to mingle and feel less and less social, ducking the drinking or dinner invitations.
I am a bit disappointed on my overall physical conditions. The legs are still hurting in the usual places, and some of the original blisters have yet to heal. New soreness is now affecting the other muscles involved in the steep climb and likewise descent from the Montes de Leon yesterday. The recovery is slow and I am facing tomorrow the other challenging stage with the passing of O’ Cebreiro. I think I am going to stop for the night at a midpoint, and then go over the mountain pass the day after.
I think also to put a stop in checking-in at the cheapest Albergues. It do not understand why in days like this, instead of pampering me a little with some good food, or perhaps a pastry, I insist in this self-inflicting punishment because my body, mind or spirit are not in a top form.
Need to say though, that as I entered the Albergue in Villafranca, the attendant offered me immediately a welcome glass of fresh water, and helped me to carry the backpack to the room. Maybe this little gesture of respect for the pilgrim, or else, convinced me to stay in that messy place. After the good feeling of the kind gesture faded away, I felt immediately miserable but at the same time happy to endure once more a great deal of discomfort.
Despite of other people I knew before invited me to dinner in the main square restaurant, I opted for communal dinner at the Albergue, which consisted in a vegetable soup, a fried egg with chorizo and watermelon.
Most people, including a newly married Japanese couple, seemed quite happy about it and politely were exchanging questions about the country of provenance and the other usual Camino topics: when did you start, where are you going, how are your feet/legs, and so on. Next time I would end up doing the Camino or similar other walks, I will prepare a set of photocopies, with all my answers, to cut short all these casual and superficial conversations around dinner tables.
As soon as you try more specific questions such as for instance the spiritual motivations, or what people look for in the Camino, then the conversation comes to an immediate stop.
I do need someone though to talk to go much deeper but this frightens people and hence I will not join possibly the communal dinners from now on.
The room I stayed with 10 other people, was truly a refrigerator: 11 degrees indoors. I pulled in two extra blankets over my liner sheet, and nonetheless I shivered all night long. I wore all my clothes to protect me from the cold and I sweared to myself to never do this again.