One thing I forgot to mention about the municipal albergue in Azofra - the heat comes through the floor. I discovered this when I sat down outside my room five minutes ago. The heated floor is a lovely feature and something I wish I could install in my own house.
It's 6am and I've given up on sleep. You'll have to forgive me if today's entry is somewhat incoherent; This albergue is full of serious snorers. I wish I could record everything right now and put the audio on this blog so you could hear what I'm writing about. I think I got a grand total of two or three hours shut-eye.
I do have earplugs, but I did not want to completely deafen myself last night since the girls are in their own room next door. I kept one ear open in case one of them had a nightmare and forgot where she was, or in case some weirdo tried to get into their room. I worry about kidnappers and axe murderers and random creeps when it comes to the girls. Not among the peregrinos, of course. All the peregrinos I've met have been a wonderful bunch of people (even the snorers). I worry about random bad guys sneaking in from the countryside or following us from the cities, that kind of thing. Quite improbable, I know, but I'm a mom so I worry just the same. Before the girls went to sleep last night, I made sure their window was locked and I showed them how to booby-trap their front door. If anyone were to try to sneak into their room right now, they'd find it near-impossible to do so and the entire albergue would hear the attempt, earplugs or no earplugs.
Just discovered I'm sharing this dark hallway with someone else. There's a person stretched out on the bench way over there...perhaps he or she is another escapee from Snore-ville? I do hear additional chainsaws coming from one of the rooms in that direction. No...wait...the person on the bench is snoring.
Just heard one of the girls stir...guess I'm about to discover if they remember how to unbooby-trap their door before coming out to use the restroom. Yes, I hear things being quietly moved around...and here comes both my daughters.
We began our day by carefully removing the balloons from Sage's pack. No wildlife was harmed during or after the celebration of my daughter's birthday.
Out of Azofra and toward Ciruena...
We went in and out of Ciruena (I didn't take any pictures of the modern town itself) and toward Santo Domingo de la Calzada. Santo Domingo was...interesting. First, we saw the not-so-scenic side of town, but then the streets gradually improved until we found ourselves in the tourist part of town...
We saw a taxi pull up in front of an albergue...that taxi was stuffed with backpacks and no people. I suppose we are seeing our first evidence of "taxigrenos" (groups who send their backpacks ahead and walk without their packs all day). The girls and I think that's cheating...but I guess to each his/her own.
We left Santo Domingo just as a large group of teenaged school kids began walking long the path. Alex and Sage wanted to get ahead of that crowd (we don't like large groups or a lot of noise when we hike), so we picked up the pace. We ended up far ahead of them; they never caught up, and I don't think they are staying where we're staying this evening.
Sheep taking over the Way as we try to walk to Granon...
We are staying at the wonderful parish albergue. The cost is donativo (you pay what you can afford) and it includes dinner and breakfast. It's in a monastery; there's a cozy living space, two showers and bathrooms, and you sleep upstairs in the attic on mattresses on the floor. The atmosphere is very warm, the place is beautifully decorated, and a light smell of incense wafts through the air.
Time to head to the local bar to find Internet access and get the girls a snack. Tomorrow we will probably stop in Belorado.
Misc. comments - Hugh and I are both pleasantly surprised at the good facilities and lovely conditions of the albergues. We are used to the rugged New Hampshire AMC hut system. In the White Mountain huts, one gets a bunk, three wool blankets, dinner, and breakfast. No electricity, no heat, no showers, no hot water, and, usually, extremely cramped quarters. All for the price of about $90 a bed. We expected something similarly rough in Spain. Instead, each night, we usually get electricity, heat, showers, hot water, more than enough space, and kitchen/laundry facilities - all for 6-10 Euros a bed. If you factor in the cost of buying dinner and breakfast at the local Spanish bars, one pays a total of $28-30 a night in Spain. Spanish albergues are, by far, the better deal.
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Location:Calle de Horrio,Grañón,Spain