Settling into the El Nogal aubergue last night, Sam and I selected beds in a slightly more upscale room with no bunk beds (instead of top bunks in another room) for only a couple more euro. After last night’s discussions over dinner, I sat up for a while before going to bed. With the potential of bad weather tomorrow I carefully repacked for rain.
Many years ago hostels required everyone to carry their own bedsheets, but hostels now generally provide sheets and blankets. Albergues require sheets (or sleeping bags), and don’t always provide blankets. I carry a silk liner for my sleeping bag which also serves as a sleep sack. Like the mummy sleeping bag it normally resides in, the silk sheet is a tight fit. When I crawled into bed, I sat down at the end of the bed to slide into the sheet, and the entire bed flipped up, slamming me into the wall. As I hit the wall, my arm slammed into the radiator. Agony radiated out of my elbow. Certain I’d broken it, I curled up on the bed, gasping for air, unable to breath.
As I sat there rocking back and forth, the noise from the bed (and myself) hitting the wall and my gear knocked asunder woke one of the other peligrinos. After a few minutes, seeing my continued distress, he came over to check on me. By that point I’d figured out that I most likely wasn’t bleeding, and that regardless of any other damage, I’d directly slammed my ulnar nerve (the “funny bone”) against a spine on the radiator. I told him I’d be ok, and he went back to bed.
As I waited, alone in the dark, the pain slowly subsided. Limited movements of my arm caused no grinding sensation. As I lay there, still shuddering from the combination of shock and adrenaline, I fell into a fitful sleep. I woke several times in the night when I shifted my arm, but always managed to return to sleep
To add insult to actual injury, when I woke I realized that the bed flipping up had knocked the phone charger out of the wall so my phone failed to charge. To add injury to that insult, knocking the charger out of the wall shattered part of the charger and left one of the charger pins wedged into the outlet.
My arm, clearly injured, at least functioned in the morning. Sudden movement caused gasps of pain, and I still didn’t have full range of motion. Still, the elbow appeared bruised but ok. I could move things, and had confidence I could manage the handle bars, shifting, and brakes.
Sam, reviewing the bed, pointed out the bed’s design had one end extended out far beyond what one would expect. I hadn’t done something totally unusual, with the bed design factored in.
According to the forecast, the rain have moved to even earlier, and we needed to get to Leon. Most of the day we followed the path for the Camino, and moved over to the adjacent road only for single-track path, for better cycling, and to better navigate a path filled with other perigrinos. 20 km out of Leon the temperature dropped and a light scattering of rain hit us. Familiar with this European pattern, we surged forth, searching for cover. Several waves of light rain passed through us. As the rain picked up we geared up for rain. While the rain ebbed and flowed (enough to stop, take off rain gear, stop again, put it on, repeat) we never felt the full brunt of it.
Arriving in Leon, the rain stopped. We found Leon Hostel after some searching back and forth, but no one answered the door. Checking the confirmation, check-in wasn’t until noon. We went to find a grocery store while we wiated. While still early, we’d gotten up early, and already covered 40 km, so we sat outside the grocery store for lunch before returning to the hostel.
At the hostel, bicycle luggage storage was on the 4th floor, using an elevator only four feet long. To get the bicycle into the elevator, I had to stand it on end. Coming off on the 4th floor required twisting around a flight of stairs at the same time, all wth the additional complication that my arm didn’t work quite right. Sam repeated the process with more success.
Leon Hostel sits next to the large cathedral in the center of town, has a nice kitchen, common area, and Sam and I managed to score a separate private room for only a couple of euro more. We settled in for a bit, and then headed out to look at the cathedral. Arriving a little after 1:00 pm, we bought tickets only to learn it would close shortly. While a little more time would have been nice, I don’t normally spend a lot of time touring churches, and the catheral was more impressive on the outside.
Caught by the Spanish siesta (with everything closed frem 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm), Sam headed back to the room for the same, while I set forth to wander the city a bit and search for a replacement power adaptor. Finding nothing I returned to wait with Sam until 4:00 pm when the touristy things opened again.
Cold and blustery, as we headed out I reached for my warm coat, which wasn’t in my pannier. No big deal, I went back to the attic where I’d left the rest of my gear. Not there. Back downstairs. In review, I’m not sure when I used it last. I repacked everything last night for the rain. I repacked everything in Fromista when cycling unloaded.
While considering options for gear recovery we went to Tourist Information, who directed me to a shop around the corner for a power adaptor. We headed back to the hostel to call the last few hostels I’d stayed in to see if anyone had my jacket in lost items.
I called El Nogal, the hostel from last night, and someone who spoke only Spanish answered the phone. As I tried to use Google Translate dynamically, she decided I wanted a reservation. After convincing her I didn’t want a reservation she handed the phone off to the host I had met last night (Vince) who spoke English. Explaining my problem, he went upstairs and found my jacket under that same bed.
The question remained of how to recover my lost jacket, 40 km away – a full day of cycling. Vince asked where I was in Leon, and whether I’d still be here tomorrow, because his wife was coming to Leon in the morning. More Spanish with his wife and he corrected himself to say that she wasn’t coming until the evening (and didn’t sound excited about the plan). I asked if he could just ship it home to the US, and he said that the issue was there was no post office in El Bergo Ranero. I’m not sure how we lost track of shipping it when his wife went to Leon. In the background Sam was busily checking bus and train schedules. Then Vince had an idea. There were two Germans staying at the albergue who were coming to Leon tomorow by train. He said he would go talk to them and call me back.
Sam and I continued to check options for buses and trains connecting El Burgo Ranero to Leon. Schedule-wise, traffic came towards Leon in the morning, and back to El Burgo in the evening, making sense for commuters, less so for me. I could take a train back this evening, stay in the albergue of killer beds, and then catch a train back in the morning, but I wasn’t excited about that option. Sam and I found a train tomorrow at 2:45 pm, returning at 5:30 pm.
The phone rang again. Vince had arranged that I could meet the German couple tomorrow morning at the train station, and they would bring my jacket. That resolved, Sam and I headed back out on the town to search for a number of sights recommended by tourist information. Finding nothing spectacular, we returned to the hostel for dinner. The Danish girl from last night had arrived at Leon Hostel on the 5:30 pm train.
Sam and I prepared dinner. Sam and I had discussed hobbies while cycling, and the hostel offered a few board games, so I taught him one of the cooperative games available. We finished, and headed off to bed. In hindsights, board games aren’t good fodder for hosteling, as they remove you from the community moving around you.
Tomorrow we head to the train station to find my jacket. After that plans vary. We’d initially planned on staying in Leon tomorrow because of bad weather, but the forecast provides a few gaps in rain. The rain here continues to Friday, but not at locations ahead of us. A in-depth analysis by Sam of the forecasts of the weather in the areas ahead implies that we can get through the local weather and into the mountains before the worst of the rain hits here, and get to the other side of the mountain range where the forecasts are a lot more positive.
Sam and I struggle a bit with weather. I’m extremely adverse to rain. Sam, being from the UK (more specifically Wales) is unphased by the threat of rain. I tend to want to remain still, Sam to move on. Many of our other goals aren’t quite the same either. It’s a work in progress.
We’ll check the weather in the morning after we pick up my jacket at the train station. Being in a hostel instead of an aubergue means checkout isn’t until 11:00 am. If we leave by 7:30 am, we can be there by 8:00 am, in plenty of time for the 8:30 train.