Eva didn’t feel well enough in the morning to walk, but could put weight on her foot. She decided to take another cab, this time to Carrion de los Condes, get accommodation for the three of us, and spend the day with her leg elevated and her spirits recovering.
We packed, handed a number of lesser needed things to Eva who would take them to Carrion for us, and set out. Our next stop would be Frómista, site of the days’ first coffee. More and more we began to prefer leaving early, getting an hour or 5 kilometers in, and then having breakfast, a practice that got us ahead of the pack and away from swamped bars and albergues.
Hu and the Swiss, together with two girls from Denmark (much to Inga’s delight), a guy from France (much to the Danish girls’), and an apparently famous soccer player from Spain.
Famous soccer player walked fast and quickly left us behind as we walked along a canal which, an hour later, we crossed. The Danes and Inga found a lost frog on the street and rescued it into the thick of the canal’s brush, just in time before a group of Camino Bikers rushed by. Hu, having taken the role of leader, pointed at different coffee places, “No” “No” “Noooo” and finally found one to his liking “Siiiiii.” So we stopped, purchased food and drink, led by Hu who, pointing at every sweet and savory dish in the display, “Si” and “No”-ed them until we had more to eat and drink than we could possibly manage.
Behind Fromistá the Way followed the road, then through a number of smaller towns full of cats, leading to considerable delay, as each and every one of them had to be petted and spoken to in Danish, Swedish, and Swiss German.
By noon we’d reached Villarmentero de Campos, where a curious albergue seemed just like the place to grab a drink and some food. Animals, including two donkeys and a herd of geese, some nipping angrily at pilgrim and donkey heels, ran free. Inside the only structure on a large plot of land, a few older hippies smoked and listened to Reggae, a woman, introducing herself as Helen from Washington, explained proudly that she’d walked the Camino late last year and, arriving here, had decided to finish, then come back to stay.
Pilgrims slept in tents and other haphazard structures in the yard, often more than just a night, as some explained. The coffee was good, we shared a smoke, and after a while of sitting, between donkeys, geese, chicken, rabbits and sheep, listening to a bongo-drummer slapping along to the Reggae inside, I could understand what kept them. But they all didn’t have something we had: Hu. “Noooo” he proclaimed, pointing at his chair. “Siiiii,” pointing at the road. The Camino called.
In Villacazár de Sirga we split from the others to eat lunch at an amazing place serving fresh and beautifully made local food. The owner plied us with home made spirits until we agreed to walk across the street and touch the feet of a local pilgrim (his statue, at least) for success and always enough food on the Camino.
It was barely three when we arrived in Carrion de los Condes, Inga requesting and receiving directions to Eva’s location. We stopped for food and drink purchases at a supermarket and walked, almost leaving Carrion before we spotted the address to the right. Eva sat in the shade outside, slurping a drink with an umbrella in it, grinning. “Didn’t find a good albergue, this will have to do,” she pointed behind her.
Our room was massive, spacious, and luxurious. Two beds, a massive California Queen and a smaller Twin dominated the center and the bathroom contained a bubble bath whirlpool contraption. “Thanks for carrying me,” Eva explained, “your back must be killing you, I thought you might want a bubble bath tonight.”
We walked, Eva leaning on both of us, to fetch an early dinner, then curled onto the Queen and found a US channel running coral reef and “the world’s hottest volcanoes” documentaries, snacking on our supermarket purchases.
Spending the evening curled up next to each other and into the sheets of a massively spacious and comfortable bed, it was just natural to undress and continue that arrangement for the night. Eva lay, lightly snoring on her side, Inga rolled herself into me, whispering “I wish this would never end.” In my best low voice imitation, I kissed her on the forehead, going “Siiiiiiiii.”
I dreamed of Inga, Eva, donkeys and hippies chasing geese around a big yard full of Japanese pilgrims screeching “Nooooo.”