Friday, May 6, 2016

Camino de Santiago: Day of a Pilgrim

previous post: Camino de Santiago: Preparation

Today is my 8th day of walking in a row. I have already walked 194.2 km and I have 555.2 km to go to Santiago de Compostela. I am going to take you with me today so you can get some insides of a pilgrim's day walking Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago in Spanish)

I woke up at 6:30 AM. I slept in a room with four other people. There were three Scottish guys 50ish years old. They were speaking with a strong accent. They have a flight on the 24th of May from Santiago de Compostela so they have to walk 30 km each day in order to make it on time. They have so far the tightest schedule from people I've encountered.

The other person sleeping in the room was my Canadian friend Sofia. Today it will have been the forth day we have been walking together. When I met her she was in a group with two other people but one of them already ended their pilgrimage and the other stayed behind.
Sofia can draw here is her drawing of a Roncesvalles church.
Today it is going to be a shorter day. We have planned to walk just 20 km. Because yesterday we walked 35 km which was more than was planned because in the previous city called Nájera all the hostels were full so we had to walk another 6 km to Azofra, thankfully we got last few empty beds. The day before yesterday it was also more than 30 km so today we are going to take it easy.

Today morning is the first time I feel some pain. Both of my feet hurt one in an ankle and top of an instep of the other which is probably caused by running down the stairs two days ago. Also my shoulders hurt from carrying a backpack.

I walk in Vibram Five Fingers shoes and I am absolutely satisfied with them. I have no blisters or any other problems. I generally think that the lighter shoes you have the better. I don't really see the point of big boots unless there is a snow or something like that.
I get a lot of questions about my shoes. Most of the people ask "Do you feel stones?" or "Does it hurt?" I do feel stones and it doesn't hurt. In boots with hard sole your feet touch the boot always at the same spot so it hurts your feet at that spot and you can blister. But in a shoe with thin sole every step is different because depending on what you step your foot is always stressed at a different place so the overall wear spreads out all over your feet and they stay healthy. 

Sofia cooked oatmeal for breakfast, my favorite breakfast which I eat every day at home but this the first time I eat oatmeal on Camino. Thank you Sofia, it was delicious :-)

We hit the road at 7:37 AM. We met Franco Italian/Welsh retired man who walked with us yesterday last 6 km because he also couldn't find a place to stay at the previous city. He doesn't like Camel bag (water bag you put in your backpack with a tube going directly to your mouth so you can drink without taking off your backpack.) He doesn't like it because when it breaks it makes wet all your stuff in your backpack. Instead of it he has something similar bottle with a tubing.

Today we walked mostly on dusty road with a small rocks.
There were wineyards around. They look different than in Czechia. There are just small trunks with a few leaves and usually there is no fence around it, just open field.
First town we passed through was Cirueña. It is a ghost town. There are new houses which all look alike. Houses have shutters closed. There is nobody there in the streets.

Next city Salto Domingo de la Calzada was a little bit bigger. We bought a bread to share in a green grocery. And I bought one red pepper and ten strawberries. Altogether for 1.5 €.

I already spent a lot of time with Sofia so I got sick of her and I walked the rest of the day alone.

It started raining so I put my raincoat on. It stopped raining immediately but I kept my raincoat on because I could already see the destination village.

 I walked under interesting highway bridge
Today's destination village's name is Grañón. I met Sofia again. We decided to stay in an usual hostel in a back of church. They don't have any fixed price. You can donate any amount of money you want. There is going to be a dinner together.

After checking in I went on a walk around a village. Dutch girl called Maike joined me. The village is on top of a hill so there is a nice view to a colorful countryside in all directions.
Spanish towns has very narrow streets so there is not enough space for a sidewalk.
The thing I like most about Spanish grocery stores is that they always have tinned chickpeas even in the smallest stores in little villages. But I had chickpeas for past few days so I wanted some change so I bought tinned mushrooms.

I participated in the dinner together at my hostel.
I am a vegan and the dinner was supposed to be with meat. So I asked and they put aside some salad without meat for me. I planned to add mushrooms into it instead of a meat. But left my tin of mushrooms unguarded and they put my mushrooms into the food with meat. So no mushrooms for me today :-(

From the room where we sleep there are doors which go directly into a church. But I missed the visit because writing a blog post on phone takes forever.