160613 – Culture Shock

Due to the time change I missed out on the peregrino experience at the last aubergue. People started moving by 5:00 am, and by 7:30 am few people remained in the aubergue. I found myself with a quandry. I had hoped to leave my gear for the day and cycle unloaded into the surrounding countryside. However, I coudn’t find anyone associated with the aubergue to ask whether that was ok, with final checkout due at 8:00 am. I went ahead and loaded up the bicycle, and pensively waited. Cycling all day with my gear, only to return back to  my point of origin? The other aubergues would likely be closed for the morning by the time I searched about to find another permiting luggage storage.

Just before 8:00 am staff arrived to clean the hostel. Having carefully translated my request using Google Translate, I asked if I could leave my luggage here and come back for another night? No problem. Communication broke down after that for issues like, “where do I leave things?”, and “no, I’m taking my bicycle with me” but I worked things out. They locked the gate behind me, and I cycled away, gear left in the dining area. Ok, not completely gear free. I brought my two smaller panniers, packed with food, camera, tool kit, first aid kit, and rain gear (mostly because I forgot about the rain gear –  no way it’s raining).

Intending to initially follow the Camino in the wrong direction (tradition after all), I mistakenly left Fromista by yet a third direction. Realizing my error, I carefully routed myself out of sight of the people who might have wondered where I was going in the first place. In the early part of the day, as I followed the Camino, every time I stopped to check my path I would cause confusion amongst incoming peregrinos. I could at least point them in the correct direction.

I routed myself through six potential castles today, a loop of about 60 km bringing me right back where I started. Headwinds dragged me down a bit near the end. Osorno (where Sam arrives) was a point on that circle. Sam doesn’t arrive in Osorno until 6:30 pm, so I wouldn’t have the  opportunity to explore if I met him there. Hopefully his bus experience from Santander to Osorno will go well. He’ll arrive in Osorno, and make the short cycle from there to Fromista.

I experienced less success today that yesterday in my random castle searching. The first castle looked like an Irish tower castle, but I couldn’t get inside to see if the construction was similar.

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The next several didn’t exist. Of the last castle only the hill remained, with homes built into the hill like hobbits. Smoke stacks rise from the top of the hill.

This was my first full 24 hours of the peregrino experience. People go to sleep by 10:00 pm, while still full daylight. I can see how I would have a hard time adapting to that; I need some “night” time before I go to sleep, which in turn affects when I wake up. People speak in muted tones through the evening. Mobile devices appear to replace much of the interpersonal communication, with many speaking with loved ones and work. In the morning people leave in ones and twos, mostly a quiet lot. Many women travel alone.

Arriving back in Fromista by 2:00 pm, peregrenos flooded into town all around me. I checked back in, and settled in to wait for Sam. Others check in, and immediately turn around to do laundry. Then they all nap. I get it now – they’re all not hydrating well.

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