MAZARIFE to HOSPITAL del ORBIGO — 10.5 Miles
We went to sleep last night with rain falling and woke up to it again this morning. My left foot was hurting when I walked so I decided to give Dick my backpack to take in the car and I carried a day pack under my raincoat. Yesterday, in speaking to Lesley, I told her I had decided to shorten today’s walk to just 10 miles instead of the 20 miles we would do if we kept to the schedule in Brierley’s Book. She said she wanted to do the same thing. Everyone else we had come to know and love was doing the whole 20 miles today. So we probably wouldn’t see any of them again.
We met up with Lesley in the Bar of her Albrgue, had a Cafe con Leche and were ready to head out in the rain.
It was just sprinkling at first but quickly developed into a full blown rain. This was the first time I had ever walked the Camino in rain and rain was something I had always dreaded. The walk was really easy and there were only 2 uphill places the whole day. But the rain! It continued non-stop and the path got wetter and muddier with each step.
And it wasn’t only the path. WE also got wetter and muddier as we went along. My shoes were not water proof and I was finding out that my “waterproof” rain jacket wasn’t either! And Leslie was having trouble with her Gortex jacket because she was getting damp underneath it, too.
We finally reached a town we both thought was Hospital del Orbigo. But when we stopped in a little cafe we realized we were still 3 miles away from it. We had a Cafe con Leche and a banana and started out again.
The rain hadn’t let up at all and after 2 more miles we came to a spot in the road where the yellow arrow pointed straight ahead but people had written all over it with words like “No No No No,” and “False,” with other little arrows pointing off to the left. A bunch of other Trekkers stopped at this arrow and they didn’t know which way to go either. Lesley and I chose to go left. Well, that was the wrong decision because we ended up behind a big power plant, had to circle around it, then ask an old man for directions to get to the center of town. Just then I received a text from Dick telling me we were going the wrong way. So we turned right, where the man had told us to and I received a text from Dick that we were going the right way.
But we still didn’t know exactly where we were supposed to go to get to the Albergue. Just then, Dick pulled up beside us in his car and told us we were about a half a mile away and to keep going straight. A block later he pulled up and followed beside us as we walked. Then he drove away and stopped a few blocks down the road. When we got to him again he told us to turn right and then turn left half way across the bridge. What?!! Were we supposed to jump in the water???
But just like he had told us, there was a little road that went left part way across the bridge. Dick was waiting for us at that point and told us how to get to the Albergue where he had booked private rooms for us. He even told us which way to turn once we walked in the door. At that point Lesley came up with the perfect name for Dick. From now on we would refer to him as our “CAMINO CONCIERGE.”
We booked into the La Encina Albergue. We had a private room downstairs and Leslie had one going through another locked door but up on the 3rd floor. It wasn’t until we were actually in the room that I realized I was totally wet from the outside in. My rain coat, fleece coat, pants, shirt, fanny pack, under pants, bra, and shoes and socks were all saturated! The room was really cold but I quickly stripped out of everything. As I stood there naked I said to Dick, “Where are my things?” He said he left them all in the car. And did I want him to get them? Duh! So I stood there naked and shivering while he went back out in the rain to get everything. Some Concierge he was!
I hung my wet clothes all over the room plus emptied everything out of my sopping wet fanny pack and spread it out to dry. After a nice hot shower I got dressed in dry clothes and thankfully I had a rain poncho to put on over everything. Dick told me I should throw the raincoat away! We didn’t know which room Lesley was in or even how to get in touch with her but just before we each checked into our rooms I handed her my Pilgrim business card that Dick had made especially for the Camino. It had my email address on it.
We headed out to find something to eat but the rain was so miserable that we kept going around the block and back to the bar at our Albergue. The first thing we did was ask the hospitalero (manager) if we could get some heat in our room. They normally don’t turn heat on until nighttime, if at all. But all Dick had to do was put his ice cold hands on her cheeks (her face cheeks that is) and she knew our room needed heat.
It was toastie warm inside the bar and the food was fantastic. As we were sitting there I got an email from Lesley telling us about her fabulous “suite” upstairs and asking us what our plans were. I emailed her and told her we were downstairs in the bar. A few minutes later she joined us. She told us she had a great studio apartment upstairs with a living room, kitchen, bedroom, microwave and a space heater. WOW. All we had was a cold room with two twin beds, a desk and a bathroom! And we were paying more for our room than she was for hers! It was so nice of Camino Concierge Dick to book that room for her!!!
When we got back to the room it was beginning to warm up because they had actually turned the radiators on. I took a bunch of stuff like my fanny pack and socks and draped them over the radiators to dry. I couldn’t believe the efficiency of those radiators. It was great.
At six o”clock we met Leslie in the bar again and we all shared a dinner of Calamari, Patatas Bravas. French Fries and of course lots of wine. When we were finished eating, the bar tender brought over some tiny glasses of a yellow liquor. Whew, was it strong. But the kind that would make me fall into dreamland as soon as I got back to the room.