Wow! I got that over quickly – a cold shower. There have been several times when my travelling companions have reported only cold water, but I have always found someone to sort it out before I commit myself, but today there is no-one to sort it and so it just had to be done. At least I did it without making too much noise – the dutch woman who followed me was screaming like a baby.
I took a short stage today which involved lots of very straight tracks through cereal crops without many photo stops.
It is decision time for me. My favourite German guys walked on a stage further today. Olivier the French guy wants me to walk with him tomorrow, taking a short cut and cutting out a stage which means we will catch up with Tobi and Michael tomorrow (in Tábara). But that will probably mean losing Paul. I’m not sure about missing a stage, and I am not sure how important it should be who I walk with. Paul is very easy company but he has a preference for shorter stages so I will probably part from him somewhere along the line anyway. Olivier can be very annoying and loves to spend his time winding me up, but we do have a bit of a laugh when we can understand what we are saying to eachother (having to speak in Spanish, and his is no better than mine). Decisions, decisions! I shall have to make my mind up in the next few hours.
The Albergue here is quite pleasant (other than the cold shower) with 20 places. For the first time I think there are an even number of women to men. There is a dutch couple, a French-Canadian woman, two younger women (possibly another FC and I think a Dane). Paul, Olivier and spanish Pepe who is going home tomorrow because he has blister problems (haven’t we all?), and possibly a couple more who I haven’t yet seen (but who turn out to be the Italians I have seen over the last couple of days).
I had an interesting email from the lovely hospitalera at Salamanca this morning telling me that she had been looking at statistics for 2015 and thus far at her Albergue men outnumbered women 3 to 1. I also had a message from Ingrid, who follows the blog, saying that she will be working as hospitalera for two weeks at Zamora where I stayed last night. Voluntary hospitaleros receive a weekend of training and then are sent to an Albergue that suits their preferences for two weeks. Many pilgrims consider this a way to give back to the camino.
We have been told by the hospitalero here that there is a lot of water on the track tomorrow and we need to keep on the road to avoid wading thigh deep.
I have just arrived at the bar so that I can use the wifi to send this post (not so that I can have a drink – that is just something I have to do in order to keep my blog up to date!) There are thirteen men in here, mostly playing cards, and when I entered 26 eyes turned in my direction to appraise the stranger. I ordered a ‘tinto de verano’ – an easy drink of red wine topped up with lemonade. However the barman began with the lemonade which filled the half pint glass to one third, and then proceeded to top it up to the brim with red wine, ignoring my protestations to stop (maybe I didn’t protest loud enough). I hope you can appreciate the effort I go to each day to get this blog to you.
Oh, and by the way, today my viewing number tripped over 200,000. Thanks so much for sharing my journey and for all the very lovely comments I receive. I don’t get the time to answer them all but I certainly read every one with great pleasure.