Wed Sept 12 - Villadangos del Paramos to Santibanez de Valdeiglesia somewhere around 16 km
Last night I had dinner with Louise and Constance, and after walking the whole day with Rya, who spoke only minimal English, it was a challenge to speak to Louise, who is Quebecois from Quebec City. Her English was marginally better than my french, so we spoke both, and then trying to make the waitress undersand my fractured Spanish - my brain was fried! But dinner was great, and it reminded my why I came back - good food, great wine, people to meet from all over the world, and a challenge a minute.
I didn`t sleep too well, so was off by 8:45 - almost the last to leave.
It was a 5 km walk to my first cafe con leche, which I enjoyed at a picnic table with Mark and Fiona from Australia. He helped me to adjust my backpack with safety pins.
Here is one of the way I occupy myself on a long stretch ´- this one was 7 km, along a highway. There were markers every 500 m so I figured out that I was walking 1 km every 12 minutes. It helped me to pass the time.
Another passtime: a meditation on cow manure. Why does it smell so bad - or is it really bad?
Is that just brain washing? If I grew up on a farm, would I enjoy the smell? Could I train myself to find it pleasant? It is all pervasive once we enter Galicia, so it is worth working on. Not sure I can be successful.
Arrived at Santibanez around 2 pm, and stayed at a lovely albergue with a back yard crowded with apple and pear trees, tables, and cats. Dinner was prepared by the hospitalero, as there was no restaurant for dinner. There were 16 of us around the table: I was the only North American. Swedes, Belgians, Dutch, Spanish, Hungarian, South American... not much english was spoken at the table. Then a short mass, all in Spanish, then bed, but not sleep. I am having some trouble - it should be better at Rabanal, where I will have my own room!