Thursday, February 23, 2012

Camino Entry 6

Day 6, November 30th, 2011
69.6km completed

Expenses, Day 6
Lunch: 2.30
Pastries: 0.88
Pesíon Casa Ramón: 15.00
Resupply: 2.62
Hot Dinner: 6.75
Total: 27.45
Trip Total: 176.26

I traveled through some really sleepy towns today. St. Pau de La Guardia was what we like to call a one-dog town, in that it only could afford one dog. My guidebook says it has a population of <50, and I think that’s generous. It consists of a church and between one to five other buildings, depending on how you divide them. Most of them comprised an upscale restaurant, oddly enough – I was hungry, but it was out of my price range.

It was good to get on the road, but I spent the second half of the day raging against being here. This is only natural and I half expected it. Why am I wasting my time, I could be doing other things, I’m tired of Spain, my feet hurt . . . etc. It’s the fear again, trying a new angle. This pilgrimage business is slow, tedious, awkward, and with potential for intense discomfort. For instance, I still don’t know if I have a place to stay tonight. Gonna go check back at the Pensión in Igualada again at 5pm to see if they still exist (I tried once already, no answer) – if not, I’ll be looking for something else.

I take strength from knowing that I got to Montserrat on my own. Also I take strength from not thinking about things and letting myself be a little bit batshit insane. I sang “Jingle Bells” at the top of my lungs today coming down from Montserrat, replacing every syllable with the "C---" word just because I could. Little things like that. A strange pilgrim I would seem if anyone saw me.


It’s funny how someone’s whole attitude can change in a half an hour.

I looked up pension in my dictionary; it means “boarding house,” sort of. I went back to where “Pensíon Casa Ramón” is supposed to be . . . still a shuttered storefront and a locked door with only one buzzer. I rang the buzzer and asked if this was La Pensíon Casa Ramón; someone answered and unlocked the door. On the second floor landing was an old man who knew immediately that I was a pilgrim. He’s quite friendly and has clearly dealt with many people who speak little Spanish. I think he runs a restaurant downstairs behind the shutter.

I got the pilgrim special – a 5’x12’ room at the back of the third floor with a cot, a nightstand, and a chair. The shower and toilet are down the hall. The window (I have a window!) looks out over the central air shaft, and laundry is hung on the clotheslines (I have a clothesline!) drying below me. There is no heat; it will be chilly tonight. I am ecstatic (I even have a pillow!) – I’m actually doing it!

A word about showers. The shower is “la ducha” here in Spain, rendering the American insult “douchebag” far less effective (not that it made any sense to begin with). They’ve all had their quirks so far. The showers in the monastery operated via the push knobs typical of public sinks; meaning, of course, that they would shut off every 15 seconds or so and you’d have to hit the button again with your hand to was the soap out of your hair. Whether this is done in the interest of energy efficiency or for some other reason I am as of yet unsure.

The shower here, however, is the first example of a temperature sin curve that I have seen in a bathing situation. Within two minutes, it alternates from blazing hot to freezing cold and back again, maintaining a regularity that mystifies me. Fortunately the cubicle is large enough to let me leap from the water at the appropriate times, which I’m sure is quite a sight, hobbling on sore feet as I am. 24.6km today.

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