September 12, 2018
We had a shitty breakfast at a cafe this morning served by a surly man from Argentina (Enrique recognized the accent). We are hiking through the famous wine country of Rioja, so most of the landscape is dominated by vineyards, heavy with grapes almost ready to be harvested. The hike was short, only 13.5 miles, but I was tired the whole way. Seems like I wasn’t alone since a lot of people were complaining on the trail and many were hobbling along with bad knees or blisters. I’m lucky to be faring as well as I am. Enrique was tired today, too, but he doesn’t have a single blister. His feet look great!
As soon as we arrived in town we found the municipal albergue and got our beds immediately. We are in a huge dorm room with many bunk beds again, but we have many people we know in the room. Carl and Anya, from Poland are right next to us. They were in our albergue many nights ago, and we’ve seen them on the trail everyday since then. “The boys” are also in our room. They are a gay couple, one from Spain, one from the Phillipines , both living in London now. We met them many days ago, but haven’t seen them in a while. Caroline, from Sweden, is in our room, also. I just met her today, as we were leaving the albergue in the dark and we walked together for a while. And then there’s May, from South Korea, who was in our room in an albergue somewhere (I’m losing track). We see each other a lot on the trail or in towns and she always runs up and gives me a big hug. Somewhere between here and Santiago, we will probably lose track of all these people (the boys are only going as far as Burgos this year), which is unfortunate. It would be fun to celebrate finishing with some of the people who were with us from the start.
That reminds me that I never mentioned that a man died the first day out of a heart attack, like our friend Walt. We saw the ambulance near the summit that day, but didn’t find out until that night that someone had died. He was doing Camino with his son. There are many parent/child teams on the trail.