A hostel named desaster (to Rabé de las Calzadas)

Trip Start Aug 25, 2008
Trip End Oct 02, 2008

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Where I stayed
Santa María y Santiago

Flag of Spain  ,
Monday, September 8, 2008

Burgos is a nice city. You might remember that I am talking about taking a day off for almost a week now. I actually consider doing so, but cannot convince myself to not walking.
In the morning, both Christian and I leave our backpacks in the refuge which will not re-open before 11 am. That is fine by me, so we have plenty of time to enjoy the quietude of the almost deserted streets and a lengthy breakfast. As there is only one café nearby that is actually open in the morning, we enter it only to find it cramped with fellow pilgrims. A very nice surprise indeed; it somehow reminds me of sitting together with my study colleagues in the morning, enjoying a nice hot coffee before lecture. There is Flo, the guy I never meet on the road but who always ends up in a bed near me, Sven, who I haven't seen for quite some time now, Nicolette who's name is actually Nicole, Shannon, an American musician and teacher of English and quite some more. Wow, that's more like the thing, really relaxing and all, good atmosphere and stuff.
Afterwards, I go on a sightseeing tour and try to get some things for lunch, which is rather difficult on Sunday. I do a tour of the Cathedral contemporary art exhibition and meet up with Christian later on. Flo speeds past us, telling us that he would walk very fast today. We go up to the castle and have lunch there in the shades of the fortress. It's 1:30 pm before we pick up our backpacks and are ready to leave.
Walking together, I come to realise that Christian is a former WOW player, and having been a WOW player myself for a considerable amount of time, there is plenty to talk about. Three hours pass flying. However, walking in the afternoon sun is a very tiresome thing to do and the hours missed in the morning can't be caught up in the afternoon. So when we arrive in Tardajos, the first village outside Burgos, Christian decides to stay there. To our surprise, we meet Speedy Flo there, who has problems with his knees and doesn't want to go further either. I should stay too, but my ambition doesn't allow me to stop after ten kilometres, and so I say goodbye and move on. Three kilometres later, I realise that the journey is over, at least for today. My left foot hurts badly at the instep, and I gladly stumble into the first refuge I encounter.

Bad idea. There's this one refuge my guide warns about, and I manage to pick it with ease. Supper, breakfast and accommodation are 25 Euros, which is at least 6 Euros too much. Maybe doesn't sound too bad to you, but I'm on a budget and in comparison to the usual fees, this one is very brazen. It is run by a Frenchwoman who doesn't get tired explaining to us that this is a private guesthouse and we as pilgrims have no rights whatsoever, should be grateful to what is given to us, pay the overpriced fee and shut up for the rest. This woman literally got hair on her teeth. She actually wants to see my documents (nobody up until now had bothered!) and dares to ask me why I did only 13 kilometres today. There's no point in arguing, it's just another experience which hopefully teaches me to consult my guide prior to stumbling into the first refuge available. We don't get even the usual three-course-meal for supper; it's an eat-or-die-stew (I know that the correct wording would be sink-or-swim, but in this case the literal translation from German just does the trick for me). You are entitled to a second helping however. We are required to put our backpacks into garbage bags and hang them up beside or beds because of some alleged bedbugs. I just want to run, but I can't, so I stay and smile and let things happen. Tomorrow I will walk on, and neither rain nor snow nor glom of nit and certainly no Frenchwoman with hairy teeth can stay these mesengers abot their duty! Harrugh!
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