Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Calzada de Valdunciel - Day 18 - May 2, 2012

We have been a couple days without wifi (in Spain pronounced "wefee"), so I am posting now the offline blogs I have been writing with the posting date set to the date when written.

Today was a short day at only 15 km. The day was great, cool but mostly sunny and no rain. The road was straight and flat and passed through cultivated fields.

There was an interesting gate, topped with dice, but other than that not much else but fields during our whole walk today!

 We settled into a municipal Albergue that sleeps 8 priced at just 5 € and after a quick run to the local supermarcado (grocery store), we passed a quiet afternoon with food, wine, chat and siesta. It is a cute little stone cottage with a bedroom with 4 bunk beds and a living room with a couple of couches and table. It was very cozy.
 Room for just 8 of us - 4 bunks shoehorned into the bedroom.
 It would have been really great if we could have lit a fire in the fireplace but sadly it was only to look at.

 There is a small kitchen and 2 bathrooms with showers and a place to hang laundry. Everything a Peregrino needs - except Internet. LOL

The town was tiny but really cute. There was a nice plaza. FYI: a "plaza" in Spain is not someplace you shop but rather a spot to gather and hang out, usually beside a church.  Every villiage and town has at least one plaza.

We decided to buy some food and cook, or more precisely, warm stuff in the microwave as there was no fridge. It was an early night.

There was no sign of the hospitalero but he did pop in while we were out at the shop getting something to nuke and collected our 5€ and stamped our "credential". There are different types of Albergues and this one, being a municipal one in a very small village, was manned part time, no doubt, by a local volunteer from the community. The person who greets the peregrinos at the Albergues and stamps the credential as proof that you have come through the town is called a hospitalero/hospitalera (masculine/feminine). We were told that on the VDLP Camino route they seldom had full Albergues and there are usually no Peregrinos except in the spring months. So some of the smaller Albergues are left pretty much without an attendant. The larger Albergues are manned by volunteers, people who have walked the Camino and who offer their services to the organizing body for the Way of Saint John.
Here is a picture of my "credential".

We took the last 3 spots at the Albergue and it was only 12:30! Other Peregrinos arriving after us would be forced to go to the hostal (local inn) which this town happened to have or to go to the next Albergue 15 km down the road, as happened to us a few days ago.

It seems this year is the exception in both volume of Peregrinos and in the weather. We were expecting beautiful weather with sunny days and highs of 20. Sadly, that is not what we have. It is unseasonably cold and wet. Not only have we had rain and cloud almost every day since "Day 3", the temperatures in the morning when we set out has been 7 - 10 degrees and every day we've needed our coats, hats and gloves as well as rainwear as the high has been only about 15.
It started to rain after dinner, so I tucked into my bunk to blog and read until bedtime. I think ER were all snoring by about 9 p.m.!
Adios amigos!

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