Only myself and Gus in this Refugio last night so a good sleep. This really was a ” one horse ” village and we woke to the sound of several cocks crowing. Gus asked me to have a look at some red , itchy skin lesions on his arm. They looked very much like a group of insect bites and alarm bells rang immediately. It is well known on The Camino that one or two of the Refugios have had a problem with bed bugs and news of these travels fast , so that they can be avoided. Gus told me he’d first noticed them the previous day so it doesn’t look like he got them in Itera. I hope for his sake they are just insect bites he got whilst walking , otherwise it means half a day hot washing every bit of kit , including your rucksack. Not surprisingly I spent the rest of the day noticing every little itch and fearing the worst. I’ve moaned about snorers and lack of sleep but getting bed bugs in my kit would take things to a different level altogether.
Gus and I walked together for the morning until we reached Fromista. It turned out Gus was in the Irish Army and had spent quite a bit of time acting as a UN peacekeeper in both Lebanon and Kosovo. As you can imagine he had some interesting stories to tell. Just before reaching Fromista we came across one of the trio of Austrian lads. He had hooked up with a young German couple who were camping and had offered him their hammock for the night. It sounded like they’d had a bit of a ” moment” last night , which had involved long periods looking at the stars and Milky Way and other things. The German couple had a dog named ” Ginger ” with them. Ginger had a deformed front leg so they were pulling her all the way to Santiago in a little buggy ( see photo ).Gus and I parted at Fromista as I had a leisurely lunch and took advantage of the Wi-Fi in the bar to update the blog.
After lunch I walked alone through mile after mile of fields of wheat stubble. Several people have said to me that the first third of The Camino is about the body , the second third about the mind and the last third about the spirit. If my trance-like state whilst walking today is anything to go by then I guess I’m certainly in the ” mind ” phase now.
Whilst I was ” in the zone ” I pushed on , reaching Carrion de Los Condos at 7.00pm , my longest day of walking so far at nearly 35k. I got one of the last available bunks at the Albergue Santa Maria , which is run by Benedictine Nuns. There was a very welcoming atmosphere on arrival. The Nuns had just been singing and now a couple of the Pilgrims were playing guitar in the reception area. For the first time on my Camino the sexes were separated into different dorms , even the married couples. A feature of the Refugio experience on the Camino so far has been the fact that there is no room for prudishness as everyone , young and old of both sexes , has been thrown together in very close proximity for sleeping , washing , showering and toileting. Self consciousness quickly evaporates after a few days.
I shared my room with a Korean lad and two Germans. There are quite a few Koreans on the Camino and I was curious to find out why this should be the case. He said that less than 20% of Koreans were Christian and that whilst some did the Camino for spiritual reasons others became interested because The Camino had featured in films and a “very famous cartoon”. This Korean made cartoon was named ” Viva Santiago ” and was the reason he himself was walking The Camino. Figure that one out .