Foncebadon-Ponferadda

 So we got a relatively late start getting out of Astorga but that worked in our favor because tommy got annoyed and bailed on our slow pace. 

We decided at the last stop to do the last 6k drunk again and this time Sean joined us. What a trooper. It’s cool to have another American to back up my ideas and to know about Greek life and stuff. 

And today we finished at the top of this lovely hill. And we were all pretty drunk. 

  
And the town looked more like a collection of decrepit stone structures than actual buildings. And the word town is really being pretty generous because there were like 3 albergues and one medieval bar where we all went for dinner. 

And we got like these massive hamburgers. Sean and I ate them without cutting them up like proper Americans! 

   
And this is the way billy has to get around now because his feet are still very bad. 

In order to properly digest our hamburgers we brought Minnie out and had a singalong on top of the mountain. Sean, Camille, and I were the most involved in it. We got quite an excited audience by the end of our night. And then as we were going home we got roped in by some Spaniards who wanted to to play music and they had drums so then I got to reprise all the new songs I had just learned. And we all sang Beatles songs because music is universal! 

 And the next day was maybe the best of the trip!

In terms of scenery. And also because we were going to Ponferadda and my friend Annie had lived there for a year when she was in high school and so she had been telling me all the shit to do so I was pretty excited. 

The walk got so much better. 

   
So we started out over the mountain.  And then just as it was getting later in the morning we came around the mountain and the Fog went away and you could look out over all the mountains and it was so incredible.  

  

But I ended up getting like a kilometer ahead of billy with the rest of the group cause he strugs going downhill. I struggle going downhill. Cause all my toes get so smooshed in my shoes. 

But we made it to ponferadda! (This one is for you Annie!)

  
This city is like nestled in between a bunch of mountains and it’s very precious.

And we get to the albergue and billy had forgotten his pilgrim credentials! I swear to god that boy would lose his own head of it wasn’t attached to his body! But I couldn’t give him too much shit for it because he was already really pissed at himself. And it made him grumpy for a while. But hey gave him a new one at the albergue. He just lost his stamps which does kind of suck cause they were his proof that he walked the whole way. But he finally cheered up enough to be ready to leave. And then we adventured out into the city.  

And there is a castle!!

 
And I’m pretty sure this was my first official castle I have ever seen. I’m pretty sure. Like I’ve seen a palace but this was like a proper castle like from Monty Python or a Lego set!  

I got to walk around and climb up a freaking tower! I felt like I was on a movie set. Billy was like unimpressed because England is like overcrowded with castles and they dot really give any shits about it any more! Pity. 

And the rest of the night was spent the way it usually is with a meal made by Quentin and some ukelele and more vino tinto and just a jolly good time. Quentin told us about how he got involved in an international jewel smuggling ring. And I sent all my pictures to Annie so she could see how much fun I was having in her city. 

Cheers for this night! 

  

The Last Leg Begins

the Camino feels like 3 stages kind of with Burgos and Leon being the dividing marks. So after this we were looking forwards to being out of the Meseta. 

But it wasn’t long until disaster struck. 

So we had been walking about 12k out of the city. It was already a relatively easy day and we were only walking about 24k total. We reach this little point where this nice man is giving out snacks and billy goes to get out his pilgrim passport. 

And it’s not there. 

In fact. His real passport is missing as well. 

Well shit. 

And billy is so forgetful all the time and I was alternating between being so mad that he left it but also trying to comfort him. 

Luckily Erin our goddess jumped in like the savior she is and immediately was like “we’re gonna call the hostel. We can go back and get it”. 

And 15 minutes later Billy and Erin had gotten a taxi and left us to walk alone. And it was very worrying. I kept myself distracted for the next 8k. Until we caught back up to mark who is the only one with cell service like billy and so I was like “message Billy and see if he found anything” 

But there was no response. 

So I’m just walking and trying not to think about it but I’m still a bit worried. And we’re tackling the last 4k when from behind me I hear 

“Brenna! Billy found his passport!” 

He had made it to a town back and was taking a break before continuing on. 

That boy is so freaking lucky.

So the last bit of the walk I was much less stressed out over. We got to the city and the first albergue had a pool. Well it was a smallish above ground pool but at this point we have very low standards of luxury. 

And that’s when Lars arrived with a new addition to our group. And his name is Sean and he’s American! And he goes to freaking Harvard! Which we all can’t seem to get past and I’m not used if he will ever be anything but Sean from Harvard. 

And then Erin and Billy arrived. 

And we all went swimming and tanning and it was such a nice was to end a day that freaked me out. 

  
 The next day I found this sad sign. Because I don’t think I’ve spent more than 10 minutes being silent since the beginning of this whole journey and everyone found it ironic. 

But regardless we continued with much noise. 

Because Sean the American had brought a speaker and so mark pumped club music out. 

   
And the blessing of today’s trip was when we reached the top of he last hill and this hippie Spaniard with a man bun and shorty shorts was giving away all this shirt for free. 

And he had peanut butter.

The amount of excitement we had over this peanut butter was a bit ridiculous. 

Though my peanut butter and banana sandwich could not be rivalled. 

 Edit  
And this is when the American from hell descended  upon us. 

Okay I’m being dramatic. 

But I meet this person at a bar and his name is Tommy and he’s from Palo Alto in the Bay Area. 

And then were walking and he catches up to us with his cargo shorts and little weird ascot thing. And at one point I’m like “wow we picked up 2 Americans in one day” and he goes “whoa there. You haven’t picked me up yet” 

Well okay! Sorry to be presumptuous. 

So this is when I’m like yup. Okay. Bye. It’s like not worth it to walk with someone you don’t get on with. So I let him move on ahead to bother billy. 

But he wouldn’t go away. 

And then he starts talking to Sean who (bless him) is too polite to remove himself from a conversation. And tommy starts telling him all the stuff that he doesn’t need like he’s the most knowledgeable person on the Camino. 

“Do you have shampoo? Don’t need that.” Etc. 

I couldn’t stop myself from being like “I bought shampoo and conditioner and I’m happy I have both”. 

And then he called his style “Camino chic”. So big freaking eyeroll for that. But then when we got to Astorga he ended up in the same albergue as Us. And even in the same room! It was tragic. And he started doing push-ups and we all were just like “wtf dude?”

Then I signed billy up for this thing where students came and looked at his feet. And we had like 3 of us translating and the students just had no idea what do do with him. There was like 4 students gathered around all consulting with eachother in Spanish and for a while it appeared that just no one had a clue what to do with him. And they kept just feeling around and asking what hurt. And finally I think the decision was made just to Cut off the dead skin and make it look like something had been done. Which was a Nobel effort but didn’t really help anything. 

And Camille bought billy skittles for his time at the place kind of like when you are a kid and you get candy for going to the doctor.

Then we went to get drinks. And tommy the bane of our existence made a dig at Billy’s shirt which was super rude. And he just kept trying to give everyone advice about stuff when they clearly didn’t need it. 

So finally when we are all sitting around and stewing over this dude. He decides to get up and go to a supermarket and then doesn’t return. Maybe he got the hint. Which I feel bad about…but at the same time then we could go get pizzas and eat them in peace. 

And I’ve been practicing with Minnie and it’s been amazing.

 
 

I’m Loving Leon

We made it to Leon! 

And the walk into the city was mostly through car parks and along the road which was not the greatest but it went pretty quickly. 

First steps into the city we run into some really really friendly old Spanish man who was keen on giving us advice about Leon. He seemed super excited to be talking to us. 

My primary goal after unloading all of our shit into our albergue was to buy myself a ukelele! 

I was very excited. 

So we traversed across the city to a music store where I found a small ukelele, but it was like 75 euros. And they didn’t even have any cases! But the guy did call another music store and they said they had a case. 

But the place closed at 2pm for siesta and it was already 1:45 and damn siesta–I didn’t want to wait for like 4 hours. Because I am still impatient despite 3 weeks in Spain where I’m supposed to be mellowing out and shit. 

So I sped walked like a boss across town. 

And like snagged they guy at the music shop and found the most precious ukelele ever! 

And I named her Minnie! 

Cause my guitar is named Mickey like Mickey Mouse and so she’s Minnie Mouse but also she’s mini!! Isn’t that the cutest thing ever! 

This is the single greatest purchase of the Camino! She is so great and I’m going to be a ukelele pro by the end of the walk. Best day ever!

And then we got some drinks and in Spain they do this amazing thing where for every drink you buy you also get a little bit a food to Noms on and they call it a pincho. Which I think is Spanish for “godsent bit of free food”. 

     
And then we took this totally hip photo  before we went out for the night. 

And we were pissed because our uptight hostel closed at 10:30 and nothing starts in Spain until like 12 so we were having FOMO about the party that  we world have to miss. 

But not to worry. Cheap beer and tapas cure every problem. And the boys got roped in by some young Spanish girl that schmoozed them into sitting at the bar and ordering drinks. But at least we got chips. (They are god damn potato chips and I refuse to call them crips like the Brits who I’m travelling with)

And we loved Leon so much that we decided to stay another day. 

Because of Rosie. I mean if we have to I guess we can stay one more day. I guess we can make that sacrifice. 

Time to party! 

So we sleep in. (To 8am) which doesn’t sound like much but it feels like a luxurious situation. But then we get kicked out of the albergue and we realize that today is a feast day in the city. Which means that absolutely everything is booked up and we don’t wanna spend the night at the same albergue because they were totally restricting our social schedule but the situation was dire. 

We trek through the town in the early morning and this is the first day we havent walked. And it feels sort of eerie. Like I’m skipping a class and feeling guilty about it. And the guilt turned to despair when then 24 hour albergue we were told about was all full. 

Erin went off to check out the options and we all collapse in the square by the beautiful cathedral. And Csenge is looking on air b&b and the most likely course of action appears to be to seperate into pair or small groups and find people to stay with. And as we are contemplating our inevitable separation over the much necissary morning tortilla Erin our savior arrives. 

And she has swindled us a whole floor of a hostel. And gotten the lady to charge us only 15 euros each. There are 4 rooms and each has its own shower and a bathtub. And the entire thing is all ours. 

I almost cried. 

So we skipped with joy over to that hostel. (Metaphorically skipping because our bodies I don’t think would physically let us skip anymore). Regardless we are mentally skipping over to this happy new hostel. 

And then I took like a 5 hour siesta. 

So it’s officially afternoon when we venture lazily back into the city. And handle all the necissary errands like more soap and deodorant and other things to keep us from becoming utter vagrants. Though the general attitude toward hygiene is “if it doesn’t smell too bad then I really cannot be bothered” second maybe to “we all smell bad, right?”

Anyways. It is the feast day of St. James so there are markets set up. And I bought myself this little number. 

   
Which felt like pure luxury after all the grime. We got even more tapas and more wine. And then we all joined back up for the nightly plans. 

So the adventure began in the supermarket when we were all deciding what alcohol to buy. More specifically how much to buy cause there’s a fine line between celebrating our night in the city but then also being able to walk in the morning. 

We ended up with sangria punch. Oh and how could I forget mark bought these frozen lemonade things and then used limoncello to make delicious lemonade drinks. He was very proud of the whole situation. 

   
There he is with his little concoctions. Mark gets so enthusiastic about stuff that even though it’s not actually that exciting. You can’t help but get excited too. 

Anyway we were playing games and then went out to get more tapas and wine but honestly even though we would all love to party hard I think we’ve adjusted to the Camino lifestyle where 10pm is an acceptable bedtime and it’s really hard to move too fast cause obvious all your leg muscles are sore. 

Though we did end up at one bar playing mafia. That game where people put their heads down and then murder eachother and stuff. Proving for fact that the Camino has reduced us to the age of primary school children. To be honest I think we all like hanging out with eachother way more than the idea of socializing with other Spaniards. We all really do love eachother. It’s kind of adorable. 

So we passed the fuck out and then couldn’t be bothered to wake up early so we left at like 7am which is Camino sleeping in. 

  
  

Last Stop Before Leon

So we depart from Bercianos where Mark is up from the courtyard and we are bound for Mansilla

Actually all these towns have like 4 names but I can’t be bothered to remember all 4 words. 

 
We made it through the morning and our way through the Camino has shifted. Whereas in the beginning we were marching on quickly in order to secure beds and not have to walk through the heat we have all begun to get a bit lazy and more mellowed out about the whole walking process and now we kind of mosie along and make a lot of stops. 

And Camille and Rosie are both relatively slow at this point. So we’re all slow. 

And we make it to the last stop, 6k before Mansilla and Billy and I are proper exhausted so what is the plan to make the last 6k bearable? Let’s buy a 6 pack! 

And then we got nice and drunk on the walk with made the time pass much quicker. And I told another story. The was one about a tractor and one about a butterfly which had a good moral about seeing beauty. My stories have multiple layers now. 

The hostel in Mansilla was pretty snazzy and like everyone on the Camino was staying there. Including Ryan the Canadian. 

And then because they have 1.50 euro wine and they all come with tapas for free! I freaking love this country.  

Oh let me top off your cheap wine with a delicious snack of some sort of chorizo dish or possibly calamari or a bit of tortilla. Thank you. 

And so we just kept drinking all night. And Erin made this delicious meal of steak and potatoes. 

 
And I seriously died of joy. Erin is a goddess sent to earth and we really don’t deserve her as part of our Camino family. 

Then we all started singing

Well actually. I stepped outside and returned to a whole courtyard full of people who go “there she is! Sing! Sing!” Because apparently in my absence mark had been telling everyone how I like to sing. And so then I was thrust into impromptu karaoke!

But Ryan saved me.

Because he played the Aladdin to my Jasmine and we sang “A whole new world” and then I did a little bit of “part Of Your World” and everyone applauded so I guess that was my little dose of ego for the week. Lovely. 

And also earlier billy and Quentin had put on these ridiculous outfits. 

 And I also got to FaceTime Marah and Ashley. So overall it was kind of a bomb day.  

Teradillos-Bercianos

im pretty much constantly behind on writing this so I keep forgetting the names of the places we’ve been. Besides everywhere in the Meseta really feels the same. 

So the morning out of Carrion we were prepared for the worst because this was the morning with a 17k stretch of nothing. 

No towns. No bars. No water. Nothing for miles. Only the warriest of travelers dare to embark on this treacherous morning. But like the merry little crew we are–we are up at 5am and heading out at 6ish. (Actually were not very small anymore cause we are currently travelling with a group of 11 people).

And the camino is getting more crowded. 

We always start out as a group and then end up spreading out based on pace with Rosie the riveter leading the charge and Billy and I usually falling at the middle of the pack because whatever we are slow and usually get caught up singing disney songs. I think I’ve almost exhausted Billy’s patience with all of my disney. Poor boy has heard more of the little mermaid in the last week than his whole life before that most likely. 

But then tragedy struck. 

Because in the midst of the disney haze we came up Rosie on the ground and apparently she had like a massive pain in her foot. And so she was resuming the walk with a bit of a limp.

If the Camino can break Rosie than no one is safe!! 

And just as our hope was failing on the 17k stretch we came across a mobile cafe! Where you can buy a can of soda that smells like shit and the little Spanish man can charge you 4 euros for it because he has monopoly on this little patch of desert! 

And I asked for an espresso but I’m 98% sure he just took his normal brewed coffee and put it in a smaller glass and I paid him 2 euros for that shit. Bastard. 

And finally we make it to a town and stop at a bar and meet this Norwegian guy who tells Rosie that her foot may be tendinitis. But he says it way more freaky like “that’s the Camino killer, little girl”. And he has this huge beard and basically in my head I can hear that music like “dun dun duuuuh”. 

Poor Rosie. 

But then beardy tapes up Rosie’s foot nice and good and she marche on because she’s one tough motherfucker. 

Billy’s not the most crippled one of the group anymore. 

Oh happy day. 

Actually Camille might be second cause she has her newbie blisters now and so it’s getting tougher for her but she’s such a trooper and my lord I love this girl she’s always in a good mood. And she’s always like “alright! Let’s go!”  So we’re keeping a good morale folks. 

Then billy puts on his music and goes into like super billy mode and with his crazy long legs it’s not far until he’s way the fuck over the horizon. 

And I start listening to the score from Peter Pan and it’s not long until we’ve all reached this albergue a bit outside of Teredillos de Los templarios. And we’re all so tired that we agree to pay 9 euro for beds which is a bit more than our meager pilgrim budget allows but whatever. 

The night was relatively lame. We found this extremely disappointing “supermarket” with like 2 loaves of bread and like a tin of sardines for sale. And we played more cards. (Solace for the bored and lonely) and then went to bed in nice little rooms. 

    
Billy post our…3rd ice cream of the day?

So the next day was (surprise) more of the same mother fucking thing and I’m sorry to swear but there’s little less to write about when all you’ve seen for almost a week has been hot ass fields and the butts and backpacks of the pilgrims in front of you. 

 But we did see some sunflowers.

   

And this was the day that I started telling stories. 

The first one was just brought up randomly when I started telling this story about a princess named Marzipan who could turn things to waffles and the next thing I know I’ve finished like a 30 minutes long tale with a conflict, a happy ending, and a moral (Billy says the moral is: find a fit bloke who loves waffles). 

And then we caught up to Quentin and I continued with the best story of the trip so far which was Benjamin, Johnny, and the Banjo Boys. Which I’m considering making into a children’s book so I can’t give the plot away on this blog but let’s just say it’s about a banjo-playing frog. 

We stopping in Sanghun and let the slow pokes catch up to us and then we set off on the last 8k to Bercianos. 

And Billy and I went bat-shit crazy in the desert. 

We didn’t see anyone for hours and it was hella hot and we were run mg out of water and I one point I’m almost crying cause my toes hurt so bad and we are passed by some woman walking the other way who is giving out free hugs. It couldn’t have come at a better time

But the last few lonely kilometers we went a bit mental. I was convinced we had gone the wrong way. And I kept being like “shouldn’t we be there by now?”

But we made it. 

And we found Quentin chilling with some other French friends and it didn’t take long for everyone to catch up to us and then Billy and Quentin decided they actually wanted to go further! To which I responded like “what the fuck is wrong with you

But I convinced them to stay. 

And then we had a huge dinner with everyone in the hostel and the hospiteleros sang us a weird version of “La Bamba” that involved the word peregrinos instead of “la bamba” but I was down with the song because I love singing. 

And we made friends with this huge gay Canadian man named Ryan and his 4 girl friends. They are also fans of singing which is great because I need new dining partners. I think billy and I have sang every song we know by this point…

We went to sleep early but not before there was a bed bug scare that left Mark paranoid enough to go sleep outside in the courtyard. A bit of an overreaction but mark can turn anything into a good time and he insisted he loved sleeping out there. 

And there was a beautiful sunset. 

  

More Of Literally Nothing

I am dying. My dear lord this Meseta is soul-crushing! I am so dead. There is nothing to look at but corn fields and there is nothing to do but put one foot in front of the other but I have been telling a lot of stories. 

I can’t remember the walk to Fromista because every walk has been all the same!! But I remember we got there and first thing we ran into Mark. Who had gone ahead and had apparently woken up that day and just decided “fuck it I’m not gonna walk

But I’m convinced he just missed us. 

And Paul the Australian had hurt his knee doing a 40k day and was out for a few days. 

Why do people keep pushing themselves and hurting themselves?? Come on people….

The town was very sleep and it was Sunday so everything was closed. So we took a nice long (hot) siesta and then ate a nice dinner of chorizo and cheese bocadillos for the thousandth meal in a row. 

And then Connor kicked all of our asses in Texas holdem. I taught Camille how to play go fish and we all drank a bottle of wine. 

I feel like we are starting to get into a routine  

The next morning we woke up to the news that Connor and Claudia had looked at one of the other beds in our room and had seen bed bugs straight up crawling under the mattress. And then he went to tell the hospitelero which was not a good idea because then the owner started accusing Connor of bringing them in! And so we ran away really fast before we got in trouble. 

Some people at these places. 

 
It was a long day. 

Typical Meseta bull shit. But soon enough we arrived in Carrion de Los Condes. Where they had a cool albergue run by nuns. 

And after a throuough search for bed bugs. 

We went a legitimately nice supermarket and i bought Oreos! And then proceeded to eat the entire sleeve in like .4 seconds. And we got more cheese and chorizo and then all had a picnic down by the river. 

  

And then Erin caught up to us. 

We had left her in Burgos because her old Hungarian roommate Csenge was coming to meet us. And then the two of them plus Csenge’s sister had bused to catch up to us. 

And guess how long the bus ride was?

1.5 hours. 

It took us 4 days to get this far!!!

That’s really depressing. 

So then we got some tinto de verano which is the cheaper version of sangria and that means it’s just lemonade and red wine. But it’s hella refreshing. 

And then the nuns played music for us 

 And they also made us a huge communal dinner. I mean…it was pasta with tuna but I tried to be a good sport and just stomach the tuna which I really am not a huge fan of. 

I met another Californian guy named John, but he was one of those Camino types that seems to think his way is the best way to do the Camino. Like “oh I bet you just walked past this church…but don’t worry most people do. But I went in and the was amazing” 

Pay close attention to the following over the top eyeroll. 

Anyway, I slept very well. Though the nights get kind of hot. But I’ve gotten into the habit of eating like 3 ice cream items a day…so that keeps my tummy cold.  

And the Meseta Begins

 
Here is the Meseta. 

Which I believe is Spanish for “barren, hot, wasteland that goes on forever”. 

And this is where the “physical” part of the Camino becomes “mental”.

And I really think we are all going a little bit mental. 

We are getting so paranoid about bed bugs. Mark had written back to us on Facebook about some places having bed bugs and so we were very worried. Pretty sure we’re going to come out of the Meseta all twitchy like “there are bed bugs everywhere!” 

 
So this day in the desert was very hot but it was only about a 20k day and after the 30k we had been doing going into Burgos, it wasn’t too bad. But I ended up like a kilometer ahead of billy and then realized that I had all the water. 

So I was convinced he was gonna pass out. Rosie and I got a spot in line for the hostel quick and then I ran back to bring Billy some water. And he was doing not so great but what else is new. 

After a joyous siesta we spent the night in the sleepiest town so far, playing cards and listening to our hospitelero play songs on his guitar. 

Then we woke up to more desert!!

And then after a monotonous amount of walking we ended up in Castrojeriz. 

Where they were having a GARLIC FESTIVAL! 

And we stayed at the hostel where my mom had written “not too nice” and it was like very nice. So I have confirmed again the belief that my mom had a very posh Camino experience. I bet she never had to nap in a pool of her own sweat. Hardy har har. 

Anyway I bought myself a new dress and we all got drunk off beers while playing drinking games and then the girls got free soup!

 
Which made us all smell like garlic! And the boys bailed on the long line cause they hadn’t got there fast enough. 

Slow pokes. 

And then we slept to the sound of party music playing until we woke up at 5am. 

Joys. 

And Camille is also convinced a dog ran in in the middle of the night. But she can only get other French people to confirm so I’m convinced she’s hallucinating. Some sort of French conspiracy. 

Oh Burgos, Let Me Count The Ways I Love Thee

The title of this post in inspired by Marks undying love for this city. 

Erin had hyped us up about Burgos because she had actually lived there for a year about a decade ago. 

On a totally random and pointless side note: I totally miss normal bras. I wish I had brought at least one. My life is spent in the same 2 sports bras and I’m dying. 

The walk into the city was rough. Especially for Billy. But I mean, what’s new?? 

The last 10k or so was just walking all the way into the city which actually turned out to be beautiful. And we got there very early and got prime spots in the very lovely municipal hostel and then I got some ice cream!

   
I look so cute in my hat. And after a bit more surgery on Billy’s feet we met up with Erin to check out the city. 

  
We went around the beautiful huge cathedral.   Which cost money to get in to and at this point Mark finds us and apparently after less than 24 hours he has become an expert of Burgos.

Joy. 

And he’s raving and has clearly used his free day to completely rejuvenate himself. And he’s in great spirits unlike the rest of us who are desperately searching for food. And billy is actually getting quite angry at this point so eventually he stomps into a bar and orders 2 of everything. And after that he was in a much better mood. 

I bought another knife too. So I was also really happy.

Then we got an SOS from Quentin because his friend Camille from France was coming to Burgos to walk the rest of the Camino with him and our albergue had filled up so we had to sneak her in. Camille won me over immediately because she brought French pastries. 

Then—in typical fashion–all the girls went shopping! 

And Erin splurged for a pair of 100euro shoes and I got some (cheaper) pair as well.  


Which have actually turned out to be the best purchas of the trip. And besides–my backpack was too light anyway.   

Then I found my boys back along the river and billy was proud cause he had found a supermarket and got wine and and stuff for sandwiches. He also got me an avocado to replace the one we had devoured a few days earlier. 

However I still needed other essentials like kiwis and shampoo so then Rosie and I got lost searching for the other supermarket and must have walked the the whole length of Burgos by the end. And then it started raining. 

Well sprinkling pretty much. 

But it was still lovely. 

And we snuck Camille into the hostel no problem and we all went to sleep in a nice fog of lemon scented bed bug spray. 

Oh I had forgotten to mention Claudia woke up with what we were sure we’re bed bugs so in a grand act of fear and paranoia we washed everything and then sprayed the shit out of our beds. 

Buen Camino indeed. 

  

Last Stop Before Burgos

 
Quentin is such a stereotypical French man with the baguettes in his bag.  

So we were excited to get to Burgos because we had been living in these tiny cities and we decided to go even farther this day so the day before Burgos would be small. 

Which Billy wasn’t so happy about. 

This was also the day the Mark (who had gone ahead) had gotten to Burgos. And go ahead and ask me if Mark liked Burgos. 

He fucking loved Burgos. 

He has us all in this group message where he just kept going on and on about “Burgos, let me count the ways I love thee” and “my god staying a hotel was so amazing”. And here we all are suffering in the heat and these ring ass town and just like….alright mark. 

The first part of the day was okay. The second part wasn’t super great and then Billy got super grumpy. 

And he got to the second to last stop last and just stomped into the bar, threw down his fanny pack, and grumpily ordered 2 cervesas (beer). Then he just sat there silently sulking while we all ate our tortillas or ice cream and didn’t say anything to anyone. 

I was worried about getting beds so we eventually decided to leave billy to walk his own pace and I took his pilgrim passport and real passport and I left my iPod and headphones with billy to modivated him (this is an amazing amount of trust for someone I have know probably like 10 days at this point). 

So we leave and about 15 minutes in Quentin realizes that he forgot his scarf and we’re all kind of like…”leave it man”. Cause it’s just so tragic to have to turn around on the walk. But in his French accent, Quentin insists that he “loves that scarf” and then turns around to go get it. 

I swear to god even if I left my phone behind I would be like…I’m sorry. It’s done. It’s gone forever. 

So we finally get to Atapuerca which is like some place where some old human was found but literally i couldn’t give a shit at this point because the last 10k were straight on the road in the blazing hot sun and it’s like 2pm at this point. But not to worry we got the last 7 beds at the albergue. 

I want to refresh you readers on the group at this point. It’s me, my boys Billy from Oxford and Quentin from France. Rosie from north England, Connor and Claudia the couple from Melbourne, and Erin from New York. 

And after a shower Billy and Quentin hadn’t reached us yet and so I went out and rescued them because they had reached the little sleepy town and then had nowhere to go. 

Siesta felt so good that day. 

And after an over-charged dinner of patatas bravas (aka potatoes with weird spicy sauce) and a really sad game of chess with Quentin. Who is the chess master! We call his moves the “sneaky Quentin”. We went the fuck to sleep. 

And woke up with bed bugs! 

Okay not really…but Claudia has a big bed bug scare the next day on the way to Burgos. 

 

Walking And Walking

So we are leaving Najara

And this morning with a tearful goodbye to Vincent–Billy, Me, Quentin and Lukas set off together. And Lukas walks like a proper soldier. 

    
We ran back into Mark and Paige from Canada on the way. She had told us she walked the 30k the day before but she never passed us, and she got there before us looking very refreshed so we were suspicious that she actually took the bus and then lied about it. 

But I’m not calling anyone out. 

We made it to Santa Domingo which is a big city and we stayed in this big posh municipal albergue with big rooms. 

I bought myself a knife and we all parked ourselves at a bar where Quentin and Lukas started making sandwiches and as I’m taking a bite of a twix bar I found I look over and the bar lady is making a nasty face at them and so (mouthful of chocolate) I go “I don’t think you guys should be making sandwiches”. 

Which was ironic. 

And then Emily and David showed up and David was grumpy about walking at this point. 

Mark bought a squirt gun. Quentin made dinner. And I cried that night fixing Billy’s feet (maybe a bit because I had drank a lot of wine, but also because his feet are just so bad and I just feel awful for him) 

I actually attracted a crowd with Billy while I was taking my newly purchased syringe and sucking puss out of his blisters. And then as we’re going upstairs some Spanish man thrusts a syringe into my hand and then I had to do the same for a random Spanish lady. 

I have become the blister master of the Camino. 

Nothing disgusts me anymore. I’ve had blood and puss all over me. At one point I went too deep with one of Billy’s threads and his blister got all bloody and nasty. He also has like this bloody raw sores between his toes. It’s actually tragic. 

My lord why do I make myself do this?? 

The next day we were going to El Dorado. 

Well technically it’s called Beldorado but it was a long day so it felt like the journey to El Dorado. 

Billy and I had a bomb convo about education and I remember it because afterwards we were like “cheers mate” “good conversation”

And I bought an avocado and planned to make it last the whole day but ate like the whole thing in one sitting and then left my new knife at the bar! 

We got to the hotel which had a pool! Which was a luxury from God! And we almost couldn’t even handle the amazing. Though the pool was fricking frigid. 

  

Emily and David came and David was having a really rough day. It was getting hotter and hotter. 

We went into the city and I got a bomb ass hat that makes me look so amazing. And we got a bottle of wine and made avocado sandwiches. 

  

The next day we set off and little did we know that was the last time we would see Emily and David.