the del Norte/Primitivo route.
Spain: From Irun to Santiago de Compostela, 500 miles.
Post 32; July 3, 2016, Sunday.
Day nineteen: Llanes to Piñeres de Pria. Technically, STAGE 16 of the Camino del Norte, as in the Perazzoli/Whitson guide book.
The Camino brings out the best in people; but don’t tell the ones back home.
I was up early this morning because my Korean friends, Staphano and Andrea started getting ready at 6:00 a.m. and I got some good sleep (no one was snoring), so I just started getting ready because they did. And, as much as I found the Albergue La Portilla in Llanes to be just fine, it was time to move on. So I trekked out of the albergue with the Koreans at about 7:00 a.m. And, besides, the albergue kitchen was not going to open until 8:00 a.m. That was a whole hour away. And besides, last night was great. We stayed up to watch the fantastic conclusion of the German-Italy soccer Euro Cup match. Wow, what a match. It was 1-1 at the end, and then several overtimes, and then the final shootout. Which, went back and forth through two shootouts, with Germany winning, finally, in the end. There was screaming and shouting like crazy until about a half hour after it ended, give or take, and we finally went to bed in our bunk beds.
Our room had five: me, the two Koreans, and two great girls that screamed and shouted with us until the end of the soccer match, one girl from Germany, and one girl from England, and she introduced herself, so that’s the only reason I have her name, Hannah, and she has a job teaching English in Madrid. So I talked a bunch with Hannah about life in Madrid and all she is doing. And we talked about why she’s doing the Camino and again, she has good reasons, lots of good things to work through, and seems right where she belongs. But her reasons are personal to the outside world, but rarely personal to fellow pilgrims. Indeed, we hash out all the good things, but really, people don’t want their friends and family back home to know what their working on. So someone says: The Camino brings out the best in people, but don’t tell the ones back home.
So, as we headed back into Llanes to pick up the trail, the Koreans announce that it’s Sunday and they must stay for church. So, I trekked on. I find it hard on occasion to spend an hour in a mass spoken entirely in Spanish. Sometimes I love it. Sometimes, like this morning, I trek on. I think Carlos, Leo, and Willi slept in.
Again, the day starts undefined. And, within no time I’m trekking along and run into Maria and Erica, a mother-daughter team and we trek together through Playa de Poo, and Celoria, visit the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores (abandoned; pg 127 of the guide book), and then pass the Monasterio de San Antolin (abandoned), and keep going until Naves where we run into again, Erin and Andrews, two girls from the U.S. And so, now I’m trekking with four girls/women and we’re having a great day, somewhere between Celoria and Piñeros de Pria. The beaches are fantastic, so are the cafes and sites along the way . . . and, we keep going with some sort of a perfect pace.
I’m actually ahead of Carlos, Leo, and Willie. But, it’s an accident. I’m frontlining with a backliner’s state of mind.
So, I would say today has been relatively uneventful. The girls and I took the E-9 route, which I didn’t know about until today. Basically, it hugs the rugged cliffs that overlook the ocean. It goes on and on for miles, and was blazin hot today. So, I overshot Piñeres de Pría and was so far off track, I had to hitch a ride to get back to the albergue. And that’s where I am now: Casa Rural La Llosa de Cosme albergue in Piñeres de Pría, 8 beds, a few amenities, 10 Euros suggested donation, and Carlos, Leo, Willie, and a few others. The Camino is starting to get more crowded so we have to call ahead if we want space in an albergue. There was no point in going on to Ribadesella, the end of this stage—there were no rooms available in the albergues and the same in most other accommodations. We’re getting closer and closer to Oviedo, the Primitivo route. Anticipation is mounting. People are talking about it. Wondering if they can do it. Being quiet about it.
What’s the deal?
And, again, the peace of the Camino takes over. But, it doesn’t hold. I’m sitting in a café and if I look up at the television I see carnage and headlines that patrons translate: ISIS CARNAGE IN IRAQ, AT LEAST 115 KILLED IN TWIN BAGHDAD BLASTS. Quiet permeates the Café. We’re just waiting for the soccer match, and trying to talk about the day on the Camino . . . and seeing the carnage. And, yet, tomorrow we shall trek on. Some insist they will not look up at the TV. Some look away.
Carlos breaks the spell; he’s trying to get us to decide how far we can make it tomorrow because we need to reserve beds in an albergue. We all suggest different distances. But we plan anyway, and someone turns the TV off. Let’s just wait for the soccer game to start.
Nobody wants to believe the real world is out there.
Then, one of the pilgrims, sitting by herself, looks down and says: “I don’t know of one person out there who cares where I am or what I’m doing.”
We invite her to sit with us.
She looks at me: “Sorry to dump that on you.”
I say, “no, it’s okay. I understand.”
And I do.
And after that, she was with us quite often on the path. And, we missed her when she wasn’t.
There are so many doing the Camino, solo. And so often I think, the world is really missing out on a great person. But we’re not. We meet them on the Camino. And after my 2014 Camino, I learned that after the Camino,
they really shine.
. . .