The unwritten rule that eveyrbody in alberguedom knows is that in the dorm rooms lights go out at 10 pm and are turned back on again at 7 am or whenever all the pilgrims are up, whichever comes first. If someone wants to be up and at 'em prior to 7 am or before all the pilgrims in the room are up, etiquette requires that one gets one's things together as quietly as possible by the light of one's torch, which is what Tom and I have taken to calling our flashlights in the manner of our British brethren. One's torch is a critical piece of equipment on the Camino.
But anyway, yesterday morning some pilgrim with ants in his backpack flipped on the light in our dorm room at 6 am. Not cool, but it did get us moving and subsequently we got off to an early start.
Yesterday was our easiest day so far as we walked only the 10 k's - 6.6 miles - left between Lorca and Estrella and the path was fairly level for a change.
Estrella is a good-sized city with an old monastery,
...and a not-quite-as-old church.
We decided to walk through the city to the next suburb over, the small town of Ayegui, where we stayed at the most awesome municipal albergue, the San Cipriano de Ayegui.
I know I've already declared the municipal in Villava outside Pamplona to be the best municipal on the Camino, but I think this one is at least tied for first place, if not possibly inches ahead.
The San Cipriano albergue is in the basement of a big, modern indoor recreational soccer stadium. The dorm room was so homey, and cozy and - miracle of miracles - most of the beds were non-bunk beds!
Because of our unintentionally early start, Tom and I were the first ones of the day to arrive at the albergue. We arrived at about 12:20, and the albergue didn't open until 1 pm, but the friendly hospitaliero saw us poking our noses outside the glass door and let us come in and register, pay our 8€ fee .and pick out our beds. Of course we went for single-deckers.
The showers were great: clean, plentiful, and - hooray - gender segregated. And the was a bench outside the shower area to leave your clean clothes instead of having to hang them ove the shower door where they get wet from the shower spray. The only minor detail is that the shower stalls have no doors,
....and so you have to do a little walking around in the buff, I heard one of the French guys call to his friends, "Guys, the showers are college-style!"
After we'd gotten our beds and unloaded our backpacks we walked through the town a bit looking for somewhere to eat lunch. We found a nice bar where we had tuna and vegetable quiche sandwiches. My siblings, I know you will appreciate the irony of me eating a tuna and vegetable quiche sandwich in Spain. When my sibs and I were young we thought our mother's tuna-veggie quiche was an aberration of nature. Over here Mom's dreaded quiche would have been a huge hit. The Spaniards love tuna in their quiche. They love tuna in everything. I'm starting to love tuna in everything.
By the end of the day the albergue had completely filled up,
One of our dorm-mates was a young German woman who had been in Afghanistan with the International Police helping to train the Afghan police. She said it was a very interesting, satisfying experience and she hopes to do more international police work.
For dinner we ate the 10€ pilgrim meal, mixed salad (with tuna in it, of course), chicken filet and french fries, creme brulee for dessert. We ate dinner in the stadium restaurant which over-looks the soccer floor so we could watch the game going on between the local teams.
The young guys reminded me of my soccer-player son Tommy and his friends. Funny, in spite of our language and cultural differences, how much the same we all are.
A romantic comedy of errors.
Lots and lots of errors.
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