This morning, several pilgrims in our room began rustling about and shining flashlights around 6:20am (a full two hours before sunrise…) We couldn’t beat them, so we joined them and were up around 7. One fellow had a bright Maglite flashlight turned on and lying on his bed, illuminating the whole room, and he just left it on when he left the room for breakfast! I took the liberty of switching it off for him.
We found a café open early and had café con leche and wrote some emails before heading out into the cold, misty morning. The path was mostly on paved roads today and, together with the dreary and rainy weather, we didn’t especially relish this last day on the Camino del Norte! When the rain began to come down harder we luckily found a little restaurant serving food (mostly what we come across are bars that only serves drinks, not food). We plopped down and ordered two greasy platos combinados and enjoyed every hot bite of meat, eggs and fries!
We arrived in Arzua around 3pm, certain that the cheaper municipal albergue would be full, but we found it still had about 20 beds left. We have two top bunks in a room of 32 beds. Since it is wet outside, many people are hanging their wet clothes in the room and the smell of stinky pilgrims was quite strong (of course, we ourselves add to this scent…) We have been trying to prop open windows and doors to get some air flowing, but people keep closing them. We have found that there are firmly two camps of pilgrims when it comes to fresh air. Those that always want the window open and fresh air to flow, even when that air is cold (we are among this camp), and those that constantly CLOSE every window and seem to think that a few breaths of cool, fresh air will make them sick. Many nights there is a bit of a passive aggressive scuffle at the windows as they are closed and opened by various parties. We normally try to claim a bed near a window in order to guard its open status, but here the beds are assigned.
This day wraps up our Camino del Norte research, though we will check all of our previous research on the last two days to Santiago. Tomorrow I plan to take the bus back to Palas del Rei on the Frances route to meet up with my mom. Dave will stay in Arzua and get some more work done. We are on schedule to arrive in Santiago October 7.