Day 14: Snorkeling and bobbing.

Just the facts
Day 14: Calzadilla de la Cueza to Calzada de Coto
Distance: 18 miles / 29km
Time: 6.5 hours
Total to date: 252 miles / 407 km (Crossed the 50% mark today!)
Aches and pains: Feeling good. No blisters.


Today’s walk was easy compared to yesterday’s long haul. I stopped in Sahagun for a tortilla before strolling the last few kilometers to a small albergue. By the way, a tortilla is not always a tortilla. In Spain a tortilla resembles a quiche with potatoes in it, and it’s sliced like a pizza.

Until a young Dutch woman arrived an hour ago there were just three guys and me staying here. This modest albergue is a Donativo, and as the name implies pilgrims pay as much, or as little, as they choose. There is nobody here to run the place, just a locked metal box with a slot for donations. This albergue is in a sleepy little village that is often bypassed. It isn’t the Ritz but It feels quite peaceful and heavenly to me.

I chatted with a guy from Switzerland. He told me how someone had stolen his boots and he had to walk two days along muddy tracks wearing just his flip flops until he could buy new boots. He said walking in flip flops is easy compared to snorkeling. “How so?”, I ask. “You know how hard snorkeling is!”, he groans. Now I’m just staring at this guy trying to figure him out. He’s about 35, looks reasonable (at least as reasonable as a pilgrim can look), hasn’t had any wine, and he neatly slices his bread before filling it with Serrano ham. So why on earth is he complaining about how hard snorkeling is. Then he tells me that the previous day the snorkeling was so hard that he actually started walking at 3:30 a.m. FYI, I have been religious about wearing my snore guard at night.

Early on I met Mary, a woman who wanted her shoulder length hair cut because it wasn’t drying fast enough. She went to a salon only to find it closed for siesta. Back at the albergue, Mary asked if anyone would cut her hair for her but got no offers, partly because she asked in English and our room was loaded with french women. Mary was becoming a pest so I got out my scissors and said that even though I had no experience I would cut her hair. Two women all but gasped and a couple others gave me a sly smile.

I approached Mary asking her how serious she was. “Just cut it”, she snapped. I unfolded the miniature scissors from my two inch long Leatherman and this crazy woman never even flinched. When I said it was just a joke she asked me to be serious and cut her hair. No bob, no way. I saw her a couple days later and she still had her lengthy locks. The camino is populated with all sorts of pilgrims.