Day 26: O Pedrouza, 34km

Last night. Was an albergue experience, which I haven’t, apparently had, which is odd (and fortunate). We shared the room with a few Spanish 100km hikers, who shipped their suitcases between alburgues. Which is fine, except, they are having a very different sort of hike than us. Around 11, an hour past the generally agreed upon lights out, they saunter in intoxicated (I feel it is worth mentioning they’re all in their 50’s, so not teenagers on holiday) and make no attempt to be quiet. Then at 6am, it’s the same, they’re talking at full volume, no attempt to let us sleep. And…this is typical Spanish behavior that baffles me. It must just be a cultural disconnect, but we all felt rage-filled and tired this morning.

Despite this, the morning was great: cool air, forest, and earth trails. It was a long day, 34km, but 41km adjusted for elevation variation. We hiked with a fair amount of people, but because we left late, we didn’t see many others and spent the day mostly by ourselves.

After lunch the heat picked up and the shade decreased. We spent more time near the road. At one point, a tree branch fell on Liz and I. It didn’t injur us, but it did cause a commotion.  From then on, we pushed to finish, stopping and talking rarely. Around 5pm, one of my latest arrivals yet, we came into town. The person running my albergue tells me they’re currently processing 1,000 pilgrims daily in Santiago. Where they are I don’t know, half the accommodations here are half-empty. But we have only 19.7km to the cathedral, and were warned about the masses that descend the last 10km. We will see I suppose! I can’t even begin to imagine the Camino in July or August. It sounds terrible. Crowded and sweltering. But we’ve been OK, and while it’s busy it’s far from overwhelming. We shared dinner and tinto de verano, which is basically a red wine spritzer, but appropriate for adults to order.

Because I haven’t posted a picture of any albergue, this is the one I’m staying in tonight. It’s pretty typical, €10 bunk beds, clean showers, laundry machines, food. It’s really quite pleasant, provided your bunk-mates are considerate.  Because it isn’t full, I have the first quad of beds to myself, which, is less typical. Overall, the albergue situation is not nearly as terrible as I imagined. But, I will not be upset checking into my private hotel room tomorrow.

I really haven’t processed ending tomorrow. There’s still about 20km between me and that cathedral. As evident by the tree branch situation today, anything can happen in that distance. But! I’m so close! Only a few more hours until this adventure is finished!
19.7km to go!


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