Two New Hampshire girls hike the 500-mile Camino de Santiago to raise money for women around the world.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Day Thirteen: Azofro to Granon. March 25, 2013

Distance: 22.4 kilometers with about 200 meters elevation gain (13.91 miles with around 700 feet elevation gain).

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.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Unknown said...

I feel your pain about the snorers! That is a long dark night for sure. Pillow over the head? Enjoying the Camino photos and commentary. Are you getting a stamp in your "passport" at each stop?
Karen Maineri

Anonymous said...

Hi Ladies on the Camino,
Just a quick note to let you know that the photo near Azofra you called an (ancient fountain) is a...
Rollo, gibbet; a large column to which malefactors were tied and punished. You will see a few more on your way...thought you would like to know what they were for.
Good walking
Albright Lavender Farm, Mary

Rachael said...

I slept on this comment - so please know that I have given it thought and decided to proceed. The reason to NOT say anything was to not "ruin" your Camino with negativity. The reason I've decided to share is that I get the feeling you would be open to hearing a different view.
I would like to respectfully suggest that your girls would be open to absorbing your opinions about things you encounter both on your Spanish journey and in your journey of life. So if you encourage them to think that using a transport service is cheating, they are likely to agree. If, however, you explain to them that you are walking in a position of privilege - you are all young and healthy - but some people are not, and without having their bags carried for them, they may not even be able to make their pilgrimage, then your girls would (I am sure) have a greater empathy for fellow pilgrims who might be less able than you. Having said that, my 80-year-old father-in-law who walked with us last year insisted on carrying his pack or he would have felt like he was cheating! But not everyone is able. It is also important to remember that what is possible for me, might be impossible for the next person and it is really important NOT to compare circumstances. I hope you meet some bag-transport-users, and get to hear their stories - we were humbled by those we met. And we remember fondly Emilio and Mercedes who we met repeatedly over a few days....they did not finish as Emilio pushed himself too much (even though he had walked three times before) and ended up with blood in his urine and quite unwell.
I hope you hear the spirit in which I share this and I wish you special encounters on your walk.
Kindest regards

Anonymous said...

No entry today...I suspect you are in Tostantos :)...hope for your case that you are....
Buen Camino girls!

MadRiver said...

Rachael, initially I probably would have had the same reaction as Trish and the girls if I saw a taxis full of bags and no pilgrims insight. However, after your lovely and thoughtful response I would have immediately changed my opinion and embraced them as fellow pilgrims undertaking this journey as best they could given their physical limitation or other obstacles. We have a saying in the Whites, “hike your own hike” and they are clearly following that philosophy. Buen Camino

Patricia Ellis Herr, Alexandra Herr, and Sage Herr said...

Rachael, thank you for your thoughtful post. I hear what you are saying, and I appreciate the sentiment. I agree with the Hike Your Own Hike philosophy. I suppose my only real reservation about those able-bodied (and here I emphasize able-bodied) pilgrims who taxi their bags ahead is that they should allow those of us who have walked 12-18 miles with everything on our backs to have the bed at the albergue if the albergue is almost full. Your points about the not-able-bodied, etc. are well-taken, though. Thanks again for commenting. Please continue to share your thoughts, as we can learn from them.

Jake said...

Same thing happens on the Appalachian trail. they call it Slack Packing. (though it is usually friends or locals who help, not taxis) And as in here there are conflicting thoughts.. some people don't believe in it and others think it is fine.

i saw the other day people complained that you said the hiking was easy compared to the Whites too so you can't win either way i guess. Everyone comes from a different background and you guys are prepared and conditioned so I think you're doing it right :)