When I got up in the morning Libia, who owns Albergue de la Piedra, asked me if I was able to sleep the night before. My roommate José Miguel snores loudly, and apparently she had even heard him.
There were a couple of times when I woke up in the middle of the night to what sounded like a stalled lawnmower, but I think because I had already shared a room with him twice before I was able to go back to sleep pretty quickly.
Loud snoring is really common in albergues along the Camino, so it’s just something that comes with the territory.
Breakfast was provided at the albergue, which was nice. I hadn’t been drinking nearly enough water the past few days, so I tried to make sure I really hydrated myself starting at breakfast.
As I was leaving the albergue I (literally) ran into a group from Toronto: Millie, Madelyn, and Isaac. I walked with them out of Villafranca.
The big storm the night before left some lingering moisture in the air, and it was still raining off and on. There was a mist hanging low that made everything look kind of magical.
As we kept walking I realized the storms had an even bigger effect than I realized.
The section of the Camino coming out of Villafranca runs along a national highway, but the highway was closed that day because of mudslides caused by the storm.
There were sections of the road that were covered by rocks and mud.
It was actually pretty cool walking next to the highway with no cars on it.
Soon after I left Villafranca I felt like I needed to use the bathroom. All that hydration has consequences.
I didn’t want to turn around and go all the way back to the albergue, so I decided to just hold it until the next town.
As I continued walking, however, my body really started talking to me. I told myself that I’m in charge of my body, I can control my bladder, and I could make it to Pereje. No big deal.
My body quickly let me know who really calls the shots. Nature was making a very urgent call, and I needed to answer.
As I was walking I started scouting out patches of trees and bushes to provide cover.
I saw some vegetation ahead and slowed back from the rest of the group to make my move. I didn’t want to be super obvious about heading into the trees to handle my business.
Another group of people came by, so I pretended that I was just standing around taking pictures to give them time to pass.
When the coast seemed clear I ducked off the trail to gain some relief.
I was really grateful that multiple people had suggested walking with tissues and plastic bags for situations such as this.
I was also SO HAPPY that the highway was closed so no one would get a surprise sight on their road trip. Blessings!
Feeling much, much better I emerged from the trees right as another group came by and continued on to Pereje. I stopped for a bocadillo and OJ and saw the Canadian group there.
After Pereje I walked to Trabadelo, where I stopped to readjust my socks. On the way out from Trabadelo I met another pilgrim named Vanessa from Germany. I walked with her to the next town, La Portela, but her pace was faster than mine. It took an extra push to keep up with her.
I stopped for lunch in La Portela, but Vanessa kept walking.
There at the restaurant was the Canadian group, so I ate with them for a little while. I had another spaghetti bolognese meal, which was tasty.
I got my fill of lunch and continued onward and was feeling really good as I walked through the next few towns.
I ran into a couple I had seen throughout the Camino but thought I had lost. They travel with a guitar and were providing beautiful melodies for the other pilgrims.
Although I was still feeling good I decided to stop in Las Herrerías because the next stretch started getting into the most challenging mountain section of the Camino. I would save that for the morning.
When I got into town I saw everyone! Esti and Johanna. Millie, Madelyn, and Isaac. They were sitting outside at a restaurant, and I stopped to chat with them for a bit.
As we were talking I saw some people walking into town. Given the fact that I got the last bed the night before I didn’t want to take any chances. I excused myself and power walked to the albergue to secure a bed.
It was survival of the fittest. Like the adage about being chased by a bear; you don’t have to be the fastest person, you just have to be faster than the other person who’s going to take your bed.
I made it to Casa Lixa and secured a bed. I was really happy to stay there because it was really nice. It was a modern, clean (actually very clean) albergue.
I got to my room and saw Vanessa there. Also in my room were three older Italian ladies who stayed in Albergue de la Piedra the night before. I started calling them my Italian grandmas.
It was a cold, damp afternoon/evening, so I sat by the fireplace to do my journaling before having dinner with Vanessa. It was a good day.